U.S. Department of Defense - Missile Defense Agency

U.S. Department of Defense - Missile Defense Agency

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2007 Pioneer Award Winners

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Dr. David L. Briggs

Dr. David L. Briggs, Director Emeritus of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT's) Lincoln Laboratory, a Federally Funded Research and Development Center, is recognized for his contribution to missile defense in the course of a distinguished, 37-year tenure with Lincoln Laboratory. His personal contributions to the development and maturation of ballistic and cruise missile defense technologies, stealth and counter-stealth capabilities, secure satellite communications, and space surveillance sensors have significantly enhanced the nation's security posture and have provided a decisive advantage to U.S. military forces. His significant contributions include pioneering the application of radar systems for ballistic missile defense (BMD), to include designing and prototyping upgrades to adapt air defense sensors for the BMD mission. He also was a key contributor to the development of system approaches and architectures for space surveillance and the use of wideband radars for imaging objects in space. Many of these developments have laid the foundation for integrating the ballistic missile defense elements now being tested, fielded and operated today.

Dr. Briggs has been a contributor to missile defense across the entire spectrum of development activities: project engineer, test site manager and Director of MIT's Lincoln Laboratory. Joining MIT Lincoln Laboratory in 1969, as a radar systems engineer in the Radar Measurements Division, he analyzed optical and radar systems, both U.S. and foreign, for the U.S. Army Advanced Ballistic Missile Defense Agency (ABMDA). He designed, conducted and managed numerous upgrades and experiments to wideband ballistic missile defense radars during his tenure from 1973 to 1976 at the U.S. Army Kiernan Re-Entry Measurements Site (KREMS) located on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Dr. Briggs was one of the early leaders of the Lincoln Air Vehicle Survivability Evaluation Project which brought together the nation's top talent from the Department of Defense (DOD), academia and industry to explore the Red (adversary) and Blue (United States and/or Allied) aspects of air and missile defense technologies and systems. Dr. Briggs joined the Laboratory Director's Office with responsibility for Air Defense and Ballistic Missile Defense. He was able to focus these programs to take advantage of their synergy, resulting in the combined Missile Defense Division at the Laboratory. He also focused the discrimination research at the Laboratory into hardening discrimination algorithms, a precursor to the Missile Defense Agency's (MDA's) Hercules Program.

As a result of his leadership skills, vast expertise and record of achievement, Dr. Briggs was appointed Director of MIT Lincoln Laboratory in July 1998. Under his leadership, the Laboratory and the Laboratory's technical staff of 1400 engineers and scientists proposed, developed, and field tested advance technologies for the DOD. The radar open system architecture he championed was first deployed with ballistic missile radars and then expanded to space surveillance and air defense assets. This innovation provided the capability for legacy operational radars to be networked into an integrated sensor network. Dr. Briggs' strategic vision and foresight, his technical and administrative skills, and his focus on the development of future leaders have helped enable Lincoln Laboratory to maintain its long and distinguished record of pioneering countless scientific discoveries, resulting in an impressive record of technical innovation in critical defense areas. He also brought this strategic vision to the nation's missile defense program as an advisor to the MDA leadership.

Dr. Julian Davidson

Dr. Julian Davidson was an early pioneer in U.S. space, missiles and missile defense programs. His career in the field began in 1957 and has spanned over 47 years of active involvement in missile defense planning, design and development. Dr. Davidson spent over 16 years in the U.S. Army's ballistic missile defense (BMD) program (1960-1976), and held positions of increasing levels of responsibility that defined the Army's BMD programs. In 1967 he served as the first Director of the U.S. Army Advanced Ballistic Missile Defense Agency. His career with the U.S. Government culminated in 1976 with his position as the U.S. Army's Deputy Program Manager for BMD. After leaving government service, Dr. Davidson continued to maintain an active role in the design and implementation of BMD programs in various industry and consulting positions.

Dr. Davidson's pioneering work included developing and applying systems engineering principles for the Nike-X antiballistic missile (ABM) system, which later became the Sentinel and Safeguard ABM systems, respectively. Using systems engineering, he defined the requirements for the Nike-X system's Perimeter Acquisition Radar, Missile Site Radar, Sprint missile, Spartan missile, and command and control system. These systems, in turn, led to the initial deployment of the nation's first operational national missile defense system, Safeguard, from October 1975 to February 1976.

Dr. Davidson's other missile defense accomplishments include developing the shoot-fail-shoot doctrine which is still being applied today. He led in developing the concept of preferential defense of Minutemen intercontinental ballistic missiles that made defense cost effective and competitive with other means of survival such as hardening, deception and mobility. He also participated in the first intercontinental ballistic missile intercept flight test in 1962, which employed a Nike Zeus ABM interceptor; and the first satellite intercept flight test in 1963, which employed a modified Nike Zeus ABM interceptor.

Dr. Davidson has served as member and chairman of numerous committees and panels dealing with missiles, including BMD and military and space systems. He is a former chairman of the Air Force Studies Board of the National Research Council and a former Vice Chairman of the Technology Assessment Committee of the U.S. Space Command for the National Research Council. He served as Chairman of the Conventional Weapons Panel of the Defensive Technologies Study Team, known as the Fletcher Commission, which recommended establishment of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization. He also participated in several missile defense studies as a member of the Defense Science Board and Army Science Board, respectively.

Dr. Davidson twice received the Army Exceptional Civilian Service Award, he received the Air Force Meritorious Civilian Service Award, and the Tennessee Valley Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association Medaris Award. He is a member of the U.S. Army Strategic Defense Employee Hall of Fame and the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame.

Dr. William G. D. Frederick

Dr. William G. D. Frederick was key developer and advocate for HgCdTe (mercury cadmium telluride) and doped-silicon infrared (IR) focal plane arrays for the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO) / Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and U.S. Air Force space-based applications. He defined and managed several space-based experiments to develop target signature and background databases for ballistic missile defense (BMD) system option exploration and overall system evaluation. He led the development of engineering models and simulations to extrapolate BMD sensor and interceptor performance in regions beyond which experimental data is available. Dr. Frederick also worked with the intelligence community to justify and develop ground-, sea-, air-, and space-based radar and IR signature collection platforms.

Dr. Frederick accepted a position in Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Research & Engineering) shortly before President Ronald W. Reagan's strategic defense initiative speech of March 23, 1983, which outlined a revolutionary proposal for space-based ballistic missile defense based on modern technology. As it turned out, this Office of the Secretary of Defense organization was chosen to be the executive secretary for the Fletcher Study, which defined the 5-year research and development plan for the SDIO organization. As one of the founding "Star Warriors," he defined the space-based Surveillance, Acquisition, Tracking, and Kill Assessment portion of the SDI program; which comprised the Boost Surveillance and Tracking System (BSTS), the Space Surveillance and Tracking System (SSTS), the Ground-Based Radar (GBR), and the Airborne Optical Adjunct (AOA) elements, as well as the sensor technology and phenomenology supporting these systems.

Dr. Frederick's major areas of responsibility included the development of visible and infrared focal plane arrays, cryocoolers, microwave radar components, radiation-hardened digital and memory circuits and signal/data processors, laser radar components and field experiments, and phenomenology and discrimination technology for space-based surveillance systems. He managed integrated space experiments including the Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX) designed to measure earthlimb, celestial, and terrestrial backgrounds and to demonstrate space-based space surveillance and tracking and passive discrimination of reentry vehicles from penetration aids; and measurements of the laser, infrared, and visible signatures of surrogate reentry vehicles and penetration aids (the Firefly and Firebird experiments). In addition, he led and participated in numerous BMD analyses and studies including the Midcourse Sensor Study, the Radar Study, the LADAR (Laser Radar) Study, the Discrimination Roadmap, and the Theater Missile Defense Roadmap.

As examples of international achievements, Dr. Frederick defined and managed several missile-launched penetration aid experiments (Petworth and Red Tigress) with the United Kingdom in which the radar, visible and infrared signatures were measured by numerous ground-, air-, sea-, and space-based sensor platforms; major interchanges with the French and Israelis on plumes, backgrounds, and reentry signatures; a joint satellite experiment with the Russians, Russian American Observation Satellite (RAMOS), to use stereo viewing from space to characterize missile targets and to monitor environmental issues such as global warming and disaster monitoring. Dr. Frederick also has conducted several joint programs with the intelligence community.

Dr. John O'Sullivan

From the early days of the Strategic Defense Initiative until his sudden death in 2006, Dr. John O'Sullivan was committed to the development of U.S. missile defenses. As one of the first members of the Phase One Engineering Team, or POET, his technical expertise was recognized and respected throughout the missile defense community. He applied his considerable talents to POET's work on behalf of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization to identify and assess obstacles to achieving the goals of the proposed Phase One Architecture. He later served as the director of POET, exhibiting superior leadership in his oversight of numerous activities focused on the resolution of high priority missile defense issues.

Dr. O'Sullivan's signature contribution to the development of missile defense technology, however, was his remarkable work on the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, program. He led the study that first identified the need for an upper tier missile defense capability to support the PATRIOT system in defending U.S. deployed forces. He later established the framework for the development of the THAAD program and directed POET support for the THAAD program office. He led the effort to identify and assess existing technologies that would provide THAAD with the capability to intercept missiles both inside and outside the earth's atmosphere. He also served as the chief technical advisor in the process of selecting the prime contractor for the program and was instrumental in THAAD's transition from research and development to testing.

Dr. O'Sullivan's tireless commitment to the THAAD program in particular, and his selfless dedication to the Phase One Engineering Team in general, have been essential to the development of a missile defense capability for the United States. His death came as a tragic blow to his friends and colleagues in the missile defense community. His legacy lives on in the technologies that are now ensuring the safety and security of our nation.

Major General Garry A. Schnelzer (USAF Ret)

Major General Garry A. Schnelzer (USAF Ret), as a colonel, served as the Director of Sensors in the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO) from June 1985 to May 1988. He later served in a variety of SDIO positions, e.g., the Deputy for Technology, the Deputy for Systems, and finally as the organization's Deputy Director, before returning to the Air Force in 1989.

As the Director of Sensors, he initiated and actively managed major space sensor development projects such as the Boost Surveillance and Tracking System (BSTS) and the Space Tracking and Surveillance System (SSTS), the forerunners of today's boost and midcourse space surveillance and tracking programs. He set up substantial measurement programs to get critical data needed to define and develop midcourse tracking and discrimination techniques, e.g., the Midcourse Space Experiment, Airborne Surveillance Testbed and Cobra Eye aircraft. He established programs to develop solid-state X-band transit-receive radar modules. Today these modules are critical elements in the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and Sea-Based Radars. He also started new programs to mature the infrared technology used in both space sensors as well as missile seekers. Without Major General Schnelzer's foresight and pioneering efforts in the development of sensor technology, today's deployment of a missile defense system would not be possible.

Since his retirement from the Air Force in May 1995, Major General Schnelzer has remained active in supporting SDIO's successors, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), through his involvement in special studies and advisory groups commissioned by BMDO/MDA Directors. He is currently the chairman of the Independent Science and Engineering Group (ISEG). At the request of the MDA Director or his deputies, this group of eminent scientists and engineering professionals analyzes and critiques system and complex technology proposed for inclusion in the various phases of an evolving missile defense system.

Midcourse Space Experiment Team

Mr. Bruce D. Guilmain, Lt Col, USAF (Ret), Dr. John D. Mill, Col, USAF (Ret), Mr. Max R. Peterson, Mr. Harry O. Ames, Dr. Joseph C. Chow, and Mr. Daniel M. Talbert

Mr. Bruce D. Guilmain, Lt Col, USAF (Ret), Dr. John D. Mill, Col, USAF (Ret), Mr. Max R. Peterson, Mr. Harry O. Ames, Dr. Joseph C. Chow, and Mr. Daniel M. Talbert were the principal managers of the Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX) team. They are recognized for their outstanding leadership and technical skills that resulted in the first time demonstration of a space-based sensor for ballistic missile defense mid-course surveillance, tracking and discrimination.

The Strategic Defense Initiative Organization determined in its early days that an infrared (IR)/visible satellite system would be necessary for global coverage. However, the detection of "cold" targets at long ranges required a cryogenically-cooled, long-wave infrared sensor; a technical capability difficult to attain on the ground, much less in space. The MSX program led the way in developing and demonstrating this space-based capability. The satellite comprised a state-of-the-art optical/IR sensor suite that covered the spectrum from the far ultraviolet (110nm) through the very long-wave infrared (26 ?m).

The satellite's bus and visible-ultraviolet spectral sensors were developed by the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL). The long-wave length infrared sensor, the Spirit III, was developed by Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory. The Space-Based Visible (SBV) sensor was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory and the targets by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Center and Sandia National Laboratory. JHU/APL provided control of the satellite's on-orbit operation.

Launched in 1996, the MSX satellite collected terabytes of high-quality data to address critical uncertainties in the midcourse phase of ballistic missile defense. Using its multi-wavelength sensors on midcourse targets against real backgrounds at realistic ranges, MSX demonstrated for the first time key space-based sensor functions such as mid-course acquisition, tracking and discrimination. Its phenomenology data for assessing optical mid-course algorithms have proved to be invaluable for assessing future space-based sensor performance. The data are being used today for the development of the Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS).

After a year, the MSX cryogen was depleted and the long-wave IR sensor ceased operation. However, the spacecraft and the SBV sensor continue to operate and support the U.S. Air Force's space-surveillance mission.

MSX validated for the first time the potential of a space-based mid-course sensor system for ballistic missile defense. It uniquely addressed critical issues in space-based surveillance, acquisition, tracking and discrimination while demonstrating state-of-the-art technologies and collecting valuable background clutter data. It was only through the talent and dedication of the MSX team that we now have the corporate understanding and relevant data to develop a space-based midcourse sensor for the Missile Defense Agency's ballistic missile defense system.