Marine Corps Warfighting Lab Leaders
Brigadier General Simon M. Doran

On April 18, 2024, Brigadier General Simon M. Doran assumed duties as Commanding General, Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory / Futures Directorate and Vice Chief of Naval Research.

Brigadier General Doran was born in Liverpool, England. He graduated from Purdue University in 1993 and was commissioned a 2nd Lt in the U.S. Marine Corps. Upon completion of The Basic School, he attended flight training and was designated an FA18 Hornet pilot. From May 1998 to May 2002, he was a pilot in VMFA-251 He attended TOPGUN in May of 2000 and the USMC Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course in Oct of 2000. He deployed with Carrier Air Wing ONE (CVW-1) for two combat deployments aboard the USS John F. Kennedy in 1999 for Operation Southern Watch and in September 2001 aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt for Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

From June 2002 to June 2005 BGen Doran was an instructor at the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) where he flew both the F/A-18 Hornet and the F-16 Fighting Falcon. At TOPGUN he was the subject matter expert in Close Air Support and Air-to-Ground Employment.

From August 2005 to June 2006, he attended the Naval War College and graduated with distinction, earning a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. He then returned to the cockpit of the F/A-18 in July 2006 for a tour with the “Red Devils” of VMFA-232. While with the “Red Devils” BGen Doran filled the billets of Operations Officer, Aviation Maintenance Officer, and Executive Officer while doing two cruises with Carrier Air Wing ELEVEN (CVW-11) aboard the USS Nimitz in 2007 and 2008 in support of OIF, OEF and a WESTPAC.

Brigadier General Doran then served aboard the Staff of the Commanding General, 3d Marine Aircraft Wing (3d MAW) from 2008 to 2009 as the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing Joint Strike Fighter Subject Matter Expert (SME) and Marine Aviation Training Support Site Officer in Charge. From July 2009 to July 2010, he served as the Tactical Aircraft Integration and Plans Officer for the Deputy Commandant of Aviation.

In September 2010, Brigadier General Doran returned to the Beaufort, SC for duty as the Executive Officer with the “Thunderbolts” of VMFA-251 for a combat deployment aboard the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) in support of Operations NEW DAWN and ENDURING FREEDOM.

On 29 July 2011, he was privileged to take command of the “Thunderbolts” and lead them on the final deployment of the USS ENTERPRISE supporting combat operations in support of OEF. During his command, VMFA-251 won the Hanson award as the best Marine Fighter Attack Squadron in the Marine Corps.

After relinquishing command of the Thunderbolts in May 2013, Brigadier General Doran attended the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama in 2013-2014 where he graduated with distinction and earned a Master of Strategic Studies degree. From 2014-2015, Brigadier General Doran served as the Executive Officer at The Basic School. He then served on the Joint Staff J-8 Programming, Budget and Analysis Division as the USMC service representative, Readiness and TACAIR Subject Matter Expert.

Brigadier General Doran commanded Marine Aircraft Group ELEVEN (MAG-11) from July 2017 to July 2019. From August 2019 to August 2020, he served as the Assistant Wing Commander of 3d Marine Aircraft Wing.

From August 2020 to July 2022, Brigadier General Doran served as the U.S. Senior National Representative to the Commander U.K Carrier Strike Group on the inaugural operational deployment of HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH (R-08).

From July 2022 to April 2024, Brigadier General Doran served at the Director of Strategy and Plans, HQMC Plans, Policies and Operations.

Brigadier General Doran’s decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Joint Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with one gold star, three individual Air Medals; two with combat distinguishing device, seven strike flight Air Medal awards, Navy Commendation Medal with two gold stars, and various unit awards. BGen Doran has flown over 600 combat hours in the F/A-18 and F-35B, was the 2012 recipient of the USMC Tailhooker of the Year award and has over 800 landings on nine different aircraft carriers.

Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory