WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Department of the Navy recognized 17 of its top contributors to basic and applied science and engineering from around the country June 22.
In a Pentagon ceremony, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (ASN RDA) Sean J. Stackley joined the former Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition Dr. Delores M. Etter in recognizing naval teams, individual scientists and engineers for their achievement, professionalism and technical excellence for the year 2015. The award recipients are part of the 36,000 professionals in the Department of the Navy's science and engineering community.
"They are critical links in the long unbroken chain of technical giants who have dedicated their talents to ensure that our Navy and Marine Corps is the most capable fighting force in the world," said Stackley.
One winner this year is Dr. Christopher J. Weiland from the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren. Weiland was recognized in the Emergent Investigator category for augmenting naval gunfire capabilities by using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles as additional shipboard sensors. His project eliminates risks in training scenarios and allows U.S. warships to quantitatively train and score gun crews anywhere in the world.
"These are game changing technologies and developments," Stackley added, "which today's award winners have brought forward to ensure that the next generation of Sailors and Marines will have that same technology advantage on the battlefield that today's generation commands."
The annual science and engineering awards program, named for Etter, was established in 2006 to recognize the excellence of the Department of the Navy's highest performing scientists and engineers who have made significant contributions in their fields, to the Department and to Sailors, Marines and the future Fleet. Recipients are nominated by their respective commands and evaluated based upon the technical or scientific merit and the operational impact of the individual or team's accomplishment.
Below is the complete list of the 2015 Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers award recipients:
Emergent Investigator Category
Dr. Michael Daly, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific
Recognized for his outstanding contributions in the area of advanced antenna development for Navy and Marine Corps systems. Dr. Daly continues to lead promising technical work that will improve communication throughput for Marine Corps radios while also enhancing high frequency signal geolocation.
Dr. Jon Essel, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division
Developed revolutionary methods for harvesting explosive nanoparticles for improving performance and safety of explosives and propellants. Among Dr. Essel's accomplishments are the creation of energetic inks and precursor materials to be used for additive manufacturing of energetics and energetic devices.
Dr. Christopher Weiland, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division
Developed system that provides fire control with real-time, over the horizon target identification and tracking, automatic gunfire scoring and instantaneous shot correction orders, all without risk to a human forward observer. His highly adaptive algorithms demonstrate increased accuracy, reliability and efficiency in scoring gunfire.
Individual Excellence Category
Mr. Jeremy Abshire, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division
Led a multi-disciplinary team composed of government and industry members in the development and maturation of revolutionary propulsion technology. He integrated four advancements that included a highly loaded grain wired end burning rocket motor to significantly improve the kinematics of the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile system.
Dr. Kimberly Cipolla, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Newport Division
Led a team of researchers to develop a first ever thin-line vector sensor towed array. Her contributions across towed array basic and applied research are a strategic key to programs that form the basis for a physics-based understanding of the signal response and self-noise characteristics of vector sensors and conventional hydrophones.
Mr. Dion Garner, Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems
Led the Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) program to incorporated technologies that will enable the surface Navy to detect, track, and evaluate advanced air and missile threats under challenging natural and man-made electromagnetic environmental conditions at twice the range of the existing radar.
Mr. Stephen Greineder, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Newport Division
Instrumental in establishing a new capability and mission area supporting Information Dominance, Cybersecurity, and Maritime Domain Awareness related to the protection of critical infrastructure. These capabilities affect numerous national security and Department of Defense mission systems to including the Navy's Integrated Undersea Surveillance System, Undersea Warfare sonar and combat systems, and distributed undersea systems.
Mr. Mark Owen, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific
Developed state of the art technology to automate the Signals Intelligence manual processes on board maritime, land, and air platforms to rapidly characterize previously unknown radars. The developed software significantly reduces the time, number of complex tools, and manual operations that analysts currently perform to complete their daily tasks.
Dr. Igor Vurgaftman, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
Introduced innovative design modifications to the interband cascade laser that produced breakthroughs in the performance of semiconductor lasers for Department of Defense infrared countermeasure and chemical sensing applications. This work resulted in interband cascade lasers becoming one of the world's leading semiconductor lasers for the important mid-infrared spectral range.
Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division
The team headed by Ms. Samantha Church and comprised of Dr. Heather Hayden, Ms. Lori Nock, Dr. Harold Sandusky and Ms. Mary Sherlock developed the plastic bonded explosive, PBXIH-141 which has demonstrated a fourfold improvement in sensitivity over the currently fielded PBXN-109 with the same explosive performance. This dramatic improvement in sensitivity will result in safer ordnance systems for our warfighters and reduced logistical cost for the Navy.
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)
The NRL team of Dr. Jeffrey W. Long, Dr. Joseph F. Parker, and Dr. Debra R. Rolison cracked a centuries-old problem and transformed the future capabilities and performance of the entire family of Zinc-based alkaline batteries. Their batteries reached Lithium ion-equivalent performance, in a nonflammable aqueous-based battery thereby meeting the goal of a robust, energy dense, and safe battery that relies on nonstrategic, earth-abundant elements.