David S. Potter (born January 16, 1925) was United States Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research and Development) from 1973 to 1974 and Under Secretary of the Navy from 1974 to 1976. After he left public service, Potter was a long-time executive at General Motors.
David S. Potter was educated at Yale University, receiving a B.S. in Physics in 1945, and at the University of Washington, from which he received a Ph.D. in Physics in 1951. Potter spent the next two decades as an engineer at General Motors. This academic phase of his career climaxed in his election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1973 in recognition of his work in underwater acoustic instrumentation, ocean engineering and manned exploration of the moon.
President of the United States Richard Nixon nominated Potter as Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research and Development) in 1973, and Potter held this office from September 14, 1973 to August 16, 1974. President Gerald Ford subsequently nominated Potter as Under Secretary of the Navy and Potter held that office from August 28, 1974 to April 1, 1976.
Upon retiring from government in 1976, Potter returned to General Motors as vice president for environmental matters. He later became GM's Vice President, Power Products and Defense Operations Group, the title he held upon his retirement from GM in 1985.