Paul F. McManamon (born July 1, 1946) is an American scientist who is best known for his work in optics and photonics, as well as sensors, countermeasures, and directed energy.
McManamon was born in East Cleveland, Ohio. He attended St Ignatius high school, where he has been recognized as a distinguished graduate. He received his BS in physics from John Carroll University. He received his MS and PhD in physics from the Ohio State University.
Dr McManamon spent his government career at Wright Patterson AFB. He started in electronic warfare and then moved into optical systems while he worked on his PhD. He moved from the Aeronautical Systems Division to the Air Force labs in 1979. Initially he was in charge of the thermal imaging group of about 14 people in the Avionics lab. In 1995 he became the acting chief scientist for avionics, a position he held for 32 months. In 2001 he became Senior Scientist for Electro-Optical Sensors, and in 2005 he became chief scientist for Sensors, as part of the Air Force Research Laboratory.
Dr. McManamon is widely recognized as the Father of the Optical Phased Array technology. Starting from 1987, he developed the technologies required to steer laser beams with no moving parts. He has both guided this effort and made significant individual technical contributions. He led in-house work at the Air Force research Laboratory, AFRL, authoring the IEEE WRG Baker award-winning paper in on this subject.
He initiated the Phased Arrays approach to active electro-optical systems for laser sensing and laser weapons, and published the first papers in this area in the late 90’s. The Phased Array approach to active EO systems for laser sensing and laser weapons now dominates the beam control sessions at Directed Energy Professional society (DEPs) meetings. Dr. McManamon emphasized performance based sensing for combined sensor and processing development as chief scientist, AFRL Sensors to define an information goal, and develop the required sensors and processing to achieve that goal.
In the early 90's Paul initiated and guided 2D LADAR Lidar for long range ID. He had the vision to use the designator laser along with a near IR camera to identify objects at longer range at night than can be done with a thermal imager. The 2D LADAR for long range ID that Dr. McManamon initiated, is now being deployed in the US Air Force and Army. It significantly increases the object recognition range for US aircraft. From the late 80's until 2008 Dr. McManamon led the team at AFRL developing numerous LADAR technologies, including laser vibrometers, and synthetic aperture LADAR.
Dr. McManamon was an early advocate of pro-active Infrared countermeasures recommending a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program called medusa. The concept of pro-active IRCM has become prominent in the Air Force countermeasures community.
Dr. McManamon recently chaired a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Study on Active EO Sensing. The published study was called “Laser Radar Progress and Opportunities in Active Electro-Optical Sensing". Laser radar is becoming a significant sensor, with multiple sensing modalities. Shortly before that Dr. McManamon was co-chair of the harnessing Light 2 National Academy of Sciences committee, which published the study, “Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation.” 
This study recommended a National Photonics Initiative, NPI, because optics and photonics is such a key enabler in the US economy. The White House commissioned a fast track committee to respond to the recommendations of the Optics and Photonics study. The recommended NPI is proceeding with significant vigor, encompassing both congress and the executive branches.
As a result of the study recommendations and subsequent photonics community activity, the U.S. Department of Defense has selected photonics as the focus of a new Institute for Manufacturing Innovation (IMI). This institute will be the largest to date of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation Institutes and will comprise a total of $200 million public and private funding.
Dr McManamon was vice chair of the NAS study called “Seeing photons”, having to do with passive electro-optical sensors.
Dr. McManamon is president and CTO of Exciting Technology LLC, and works part-time with the University of Dayton as Technical Director of the Ladar and Optical Communications Institute, LOCI, in the EO department
Dr McManamon was president of SPIE, the International society for Optics and photonics, in 2006.
He is shown on the right at Photonics Asia in 2007, when he was immediate past president of SPIE.
In 1998 he was awarded the IEEE W.R.G. Baker Award for best paper in any IEEE Journal or Publication. This includes over 100 separate refereed journals, containing over 20,000 separate articles.
In 2006 he was awarded the US Government Meritorious Presidential Rank Award, presented by Air Force Secretary Wynn in a ceremony in Washington. The citation reads, “The Meritorious Senior Professional Rank Award is presented to Dr. Paul F. McManamon for his dynamic and visionary leadership in the development of sensor and countermeasure technology for the United States Air Force, and for his international leadership of the optical engineering community.”
He has been made a fellow in many different technical organizations.
In 2003 the Dayton, OH section of the IEEE awarded him the Harrell V. Noble award for electronic devices for work having significant impact. In 2008, at the SPIE Defense Security and Sensing, DSS, symposium, he was awarded the best paper award in the Automatic Target Recognition conference.