Dr. Etter joined the Electrical Engineering faculty at the United States Naval Academy in 2001 as the first recipient of the ONR Distinguished Chair in Science and Technology. Her academic interests are in digital signal processing and communications. Her research interests include biometric signal processing, with an emphasis on identification using iris recognition, face recognition, and voice recognition. She is also the author of a number of textbooks on computer languages and software engineering.
From June 1998 through July 2001, Dr. Etter served as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology. In that position, she was responsible for Defense Science and Technology strategic planning, budget allocation, and program execution and evaluation for the $9 billion per year DoD Science and Technology Program. Dr. Etter was the Principal U.S. representative to the NATO Research and Technology Board. She was also responsible for the Defense Modeling and Simulation Organization, the High Performance Computing Modernization Office, and for technical oversight of the Software Engineering Institute. Dr. Etter was also the senior civilian in charge of the DoD high-energy laser research program. From 1990-98, Dr. Etter was a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder. During 1979-89, Dr. Etter was a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of New Mexico. She served as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs in 1989. During the 1983-84 academic year she was a National Science Foundation Visiting Professor in the Information Systems Laboratory in the Electrical Engineering Department at Stanford University.
Dr. Etter is a member of the National Science Board, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Defense Science Board. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). She served as President of the IEEE Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing Society from 1988-89. Dr. Etter is a member of the Board of Visitors for the National Defense University. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the North American Electric Reliability Council, and a member of the Board of Directors for The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc. 1