AFRL Space Vehicles, Directed Energy Directorate personnel honored

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFRL) – The Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles and Directed Energy Directorates honored the outstanding achievements of 70 Air Force and Space Force individuals and teams during their 2020 Phillips Research Site Annual Awards.

The virtual ceremony was held February 24. It illustrated how personnel from both directorates enabled the discovery, development and delivery of warfighting technologies for United States air, space and cyberspace forces.

Dr. Kelly D. Hammett, Director of the AFRL Directed Energy Directorate (AFRL/RD), and Col. Eric Felt, Director of the AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV), honored the achievements of the winners and commended the work taking place in the laboratories.

250 members of the AFRL workforce tuned in to the ceremony that featured 40 award categories that ranged from mentorship to technology transfer, highlighting the outstanding efforts in both the Directed Energy and Space Vehicles directorates. Winners went on to compete at the AFRL headquarters level, and brought back 11 victories for the New Mexico-based labs.

“We’ve found a way today, to collectively celebrate the tremendous accomplishments of the Phillips Research Site’s workforce over the last year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hammett said. “I’m extremely proud of both the nominees and the winners. In the five years in the Directed Energy Director position, and in my nine years in the front office, I don’t think the teaming between Directed Energy and Space Vehicles has ever been better. It’s great to see the crossflow between the directorates.”

“I am blown away by the quality of work being done across the whole organization,” Felt said. “We are in a great place in making contributions to the nation, and that’s due to the hard work and dedication of these teams who are able to produce incredible technologies, and it paid off with the impressive number of wins at the headquarters level!”

Capt. James Schrock was the winner of the Director’s Cup Junior Force Award, and also prevailed at the competition at the headquarters level. He was honored for his efforts in Counter electronic Non-kinetic Microwave Attack (CKMA) technology, and for leadership as Chief of the Computational Physics Section.

“Our team invested many long and intense hours of work into CKMA, and it feels great to have that work recognized,” Schrock said. “I am separating from active duty this June, and I hope to stay on as a civilian here within the High Power Electromagnetics Division where I can continue working on fun and impactful projects. I have a strong desire to see high power electromagnetic weapons transition into the hands of the warfighter, and I want to be involved in that process.”

Both Hammett and Felt expressed that it was an exciting time to be working in Directed Energy and Space Vehicles considering all of the new and innovative opportunities arising, with the workforce prevailing during a worldwide pandemic.

“We were able to work and accomplish and do things this year, and not just hunker down and survive,” Hammett said. “We wouldn’t be sitting here celebrating these major accomplishments if we weren’t at work getting tremendous things done.”

The Directed Energy Directorate leads the discovery, development, and integration of directed energy warfighting technologies in high energy lasers, electromagnetics and electro-optics for the nation’s air, space, and cyberspace forces.

Work at the Space Vehicles Directorate includes developing the latest space component technology, flying state-of-the-art satellite space experiments and ensuring that the United States Space Force maintains superiority in space.

“We have unprecedented power to direct energy in a way that serves, protects and champions freedom. From powerful electromagnetics to electro-optics, we’re always exploring new ways to give our warfighters the upper-hand,” Hammett said.

image of presenters

Col. Eric Felt, Director of AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate, delivers remarks to a live Zoom audience during the Phillips Research site’s Annual Awards Ceremony Feb. 24. Also pictured is Dr. Kelly Hammett, Director of AFRL Directed Energy Directorate (left). (Courtesy photo)