by Maj. Gen. Tom Masiello
Commander, Air Force Research Laboratory
10/28/2015 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- We
recognized Air Force Research Laboratory's top scientists and engineers
on Oct. 22 during the AFRL Fellows and Early Career Awards banquet. It
was a spectacular event.
We inducted seven senior researchers as AFRL Fellows, our most
prestigious honor, representing the top 0.2 percent of our professional
technical workforce. Another five S&Es were presented awards for
truly exceptional leadership potential and research contributions early
in their careers.
They were spotlighted from among a small, diverse and highly talented
workforce of 3,511 engineers and scientists, who are charged with
providing our nation's Air Force with revolutionary, relevant and
responsive capabilities. It's an awesome responsibility and our efforts
focus on all three domains of air, space and cyber.
The fact that both Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, Air Force Materiel Command
commander, and Dr. Greg Zacharias, Chief Scientist of the Air Force,
joined in honoring these men and women underscores senior Air Force
leaders appreciate what AFRL brings to the table. AFRL is the global
technology integrator that brings agile, innovative and trusted value to
the U.S. Air Force.
In September, I attended the Air Force Association Air and Space
Conference, where the theme was "Reinvent the Aerospace Nation." Leaders
clearly emphasized we cannot do that without great people. Our senior
leaders understand that the people are the platform for which innovative
ideas, strategies, and technologies are delivered to the fight. The
people, along with innovation and technology will remain the pillars of
the American strength and its determination.
AFRL people are at the foundation of every Air Force weapon system
currently fielded and on the horizon. They absolutely are a national
asset. Collectively, AFRL people are the lens that focuses the national
technical base on Air Force needs, to provide tomorrow's warfighters
with an unfair advantage.
Working closely with our industry, academic, international and other
government agency partners, AFRL people fulfill the critical leadership
role of turning science into warfighting capabilities.
I frequently get asked what's the next big thing ... What's on the
horizon? My answer is always the revolutionary game-changers which AFRL
and others are focusing on: hypersonics; directed energy; autonomy;
nanotechnology; and unmanned Systems. But, we are also charged with
thinking about the next game-changers, technologies like: quantum
technologies, additive manufacturing and synthetic biology. This mix of
game-changing research will continue to evolve and revolutionize how we
fight in the future.
However our contributions to leverage science and technology to enhance
the capabilities of today's warfighters and to rapidly respond with
solutions to the urgent "We need this now" problems are equally
important. Our research supports all service core functions and major
commands by addressing prioritized capability gaps.
It's true that focused science and technology investment has given the
U.S. a qualitative military advantage. Our peers and adversaries had
decades to study the American way of war. So it should come as no
surprise they're investing heavily in their own technology, and they are
catching up fast. Our technical dominance is no longer assured. The
work by AFRL people to prevent technological surprise and to deliver
agile capabilities is more important now than ever.
From advanced turbine engines, to human performance augmentation, to
advanced space situational awareness, AFRL people are at the cutting
edge, focused on providing America's Airmen the best technology at the
right time. We owe them a debt of gratitude. I could not be more proud
to serve as their commander.