James A. Baker, Ph.D.

Retired Associate Director
James A. Baker, Ph.D.

Dr. Baker served as the associate director for the U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command Chemical & Biological Center from 2000 until his retirement in 2015. In this role, he led a staff of 1,500 scientists, engineers, technicians and support personnel, and was responsible for oversight of the technology base program and professional staff development. Prior to holding that position, he was deputy director of the Research and Technology Directorate, where he was responsible for the management of a staff of about 275 scientists.

Dr. Baker first came to Edgewood Arsenal in 1967 after receiving his doctorate from Cornell University and entering the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant. He was assigned to work as a researcher where he performed experiments demonstrating that sarin nerve agent could be safely disposed of via incineration.

Baker’s work sought to find more effective adsorbents for protective masks and collective protection shelters. His work was also integral to the improvement of the Army’s personal decontamination kits. Advancing to the position of chief of the Decontamination and Individual Protection Branch, he directed a group of scientists and engineers in the execution of an applied research program to develop new decontaminants and improved personal protective gear. Later, he was promoted to chief of Decontamination Systems Division where he supervised 40 individuals doing applied research and development of decontamination capabilities. During this period, the division fielded a new decontaminating kit, an interim decontamination formulation, entered advanced development on two new decontamination devices and proposed two revolutionary water-based decontamination formulations.