News | Feb. 11, 2022

Black History Month Spotlight: Barry Humphrey

By Lauren Faal, DLA Information Operations Research and Development

Editor’s note: The Defense Logistics Agency recognizes February as Black History Month. To honor the contributions of Black employees, DLA is highlighting those who work daily to support the agency’s global mission.

There’s an African proverb that Barry Humphrey has tried to embody through his life: Each one, teach one. As a member of the Air Force National Guard, an Army officer and a Defense Logistics Agency employee, he takes pride in being a mentor who shares the lessons he’s learned along his education and career paths.

Humphrey leads DLA Research and Development’s Logistics Technology Research program, part of DLA Information Operations. LTR supports DLA’s technological transformation through applied research and development of advanced capabilities, ultimately improving business and operational processes. LTR’s focus areas include artificial intelligence or machine learning, blockchain, quantum and edge computing. 

Humphrey is passionate about his program’s leading-edge work and is currently laying the foundation for two potential collaboration efforts with Morgan State University, a historically black university in Baltimore, Maryland. The collaboration will focus on quantum literacy and blockchain in logistics, areas the university has pioneered as the first historically black university with a Center for the Study of Blockchain and Financial Technology. 

“This is part of a larger, national upskilling effort for the American workforce,” Humphrey said. “I want to do my part to ensure no group is left behind during this global tech advancement.”

While attending Auburn University at Montgomery in his native Alabama, Humphrey joined the Air Force National Guard. After earning a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology, he joined the Army as an officer. The now retired major is a veteran of three Operation Iraqi Freedom tours. 

“The highlight of my military career was watching my former soldiers take my advice and advance their education and military careers,” he said. “It gives me a sense of pride knowing they view me as a role model.” 

In May 2021, Humphrey earned a doctorate's degree in information systems and communications from Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where his research focused on artificial intelligence in healthcare. He endeavors to expose young people to STEM, showing them that technology can be a fun, plausible, secure career path. 

For Humphrey, Black History Month means honoring a legacy of people who never compromised or waivered in their convictions. He admires those who stood up for what was right and for all people to have a seat at the table. 

“My favorite aspects of African-American culture are our swag, resilience and perseverance. We have an exciting, rich and diverse culture that knows no bounds,” he said. “The food, music, dance and folk traditions all intertwine to make us who we are as a people.”