Around The Institute: Local Public Policy Activities
AIAA’s Public Policy Committee recently reestablished the August is for Aerospace program where we encourage local sections to more actively speak with their elected officials about the Institute’s key issues during district work periods, while also engaging those lawmakers in their outreach activities. While Congressional Visits Day (CVD) and August is for Aerospace are two examples of concentrated and coordinated outreach activities, we call on our members and sections to be advocates for aerospace at every opportunity throughout the year. Several sections have taken part in this year’s August is for Aerospace program, having held meetings and events that have helped raise awareness about important issues impacting the aerospace community and have helped reinforce AIAA as a reliable resource on these matters. Following are some examples of these efforts.
Twin Cities Section
The AIAA Twin Cities Section hosted a public policy happy hour in July to discuss various policy issues that impact the A&D industry. Participants were encouraged to become more active in public outreach, serving as ambassadors of AIAA and the aerospace and defense community as a whole, while also doing more to engage lawmakers at the federal, state, and local levels in the future. The section intends to make the happy hour a recurring activity.
In late August, the AIAA Utah Section hosted a joint event with the International Council on Systems Engineering’s Wasatch Chapter where local civic, academic, industry, and government leaders discussed the importance of recruiting and retaining a skilled aerospace workforce. Guests of honor included Utah State Senator Ann Millner, Weber State University President Charles A. Wight, and Hill Air Force Base Director of Engineering and Technical Management Jay Fiebig. A group of 25 engaged in topics such as how universities could structure their programs to best prepare graduates, how to attract out-of-state talent at the mid-career level, and which specialties were most in demand for the local area. Students and young professionals in attendance mingled with senior leadership to relay their perspectives on how to support future STEM workforce needs.
Also in August, the AIAA Savannah Section launched an ongoing policy-themed activity titled “Talking Policies.” This activity engages the aerospace public policy arena by educating the local aerospace community and other stakeholders on AIAA’s annual key issues. Several accomplishments of “Talking Policies” have included:
- A meeting with Congressman Buddy Carter (R-GA).
- Two lunch and learns to a local audience. The first was an overview of the AIAA key issues and the second was an overview of the Next Generation Air Transportation System.
- Conversations with local subject-matter experts involved with aircraft noise and emission control and those that have witnessed certification requirement rewrites, such as Part 23.
- Studying current legislative and policy events published in the AIAA Daily Launch. The intent at some point is to start a local small group that can discuss the events.
Greater Huntsville Section
Congressman Mo Brooks (R-AL) spoke with approximately 40 members of the AIAA Greater Huntsville Section during a luncheon on 30 October. The congressman opened with comments on Alabama’s leading role in aerospace, specifically highlighting the higher education and job opportunities provided across the state.
Rep. Brooks continued his remarks with great emphasis on the nation’s debt. During a moderated Q&A session led by Greater Huntsville Public Policy Director Chris Crumbly, the congressman provided additional commentary on a range of topics, including education, Earth science, the National Space Council, and nuclear propulsion. When asked about the National Space Council and its renewed efforts under the Trump administration, Rep. Brooks said we need a “better marketing effort by everyone involved to sell to the public why space exploration and national advancement is so important.” He suggested that this same effort should be applied directly to legislators to convince them to support NASA’s budget.
Referring back to the need for a more integrated marketing effort when asked about nuclear propulsion, Rep. Brooks specifically citing the need to educate the public on the role of NASA’s Space Launch System once it is operational. He added that our nation needs to branch out and engage other countries, citing a recent visit to India as an example, so the U.S. can share the cost of exploration with like-minded nations.
On 16 November, the AIAA Tucson Section hosted an event to discuss the most important policy issues facing Southern Arizona’s aerospace industry. Though most look toward agriculture and mining as the primary contributors to the Arizona economy, the aerospace and defense sector is responsible for over 52,000 jobs and $3.5 billion in total exports. Over the past several years, the Tucson and Phoenix sections have successfully carried this message to Congress during CVD, but until recently, little effort has been made to engage state representatives. This event was the first of what will be an annual effort to engage with local lawmakers.
Attending the event were members of the Tucson Section and the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), engineering and public policy students, as well as representatives from Paragon Space Development Corporation, Rincon Research, Physics Materials and Applied Mathematics, Raytheon, and the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory and Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. During the presentation and following discussion, speakers addressed the Institute’s key issues and how they pertain to the Southern Arizona aerospace industry. Participants also discussed why AIAA should take the lead in aerospace advocacy, and how critical it is that passionate members join the conversation.
Through this process, it was made clear that there is still significant work to be done delivering this message to state and county officials. Even though the discussion topics and key issue papers were shared with many members of the Arizona House of Representatives, few were prepared to engage in a discussion regarding how they filter down to the local level. For this reason, there will be continued engagement with the local lawmakers to help grow their understanding of the aerospace industry’s influence and importance to the state.
AIAA’s Directed Energy Systems Integration Committee
By Mark Neice & Daniel Miller, AIAA Directed Energy Systems Integration Committee
The Directed Energy Systems Integration Committee provides a cross-organizational U.S. national forum to discuss, exchange, and generate technical issues to promote integration of a High Energy Laser (HEL) on air platforms. The committee, chaired by Daniel Miller (Lockheed Martin) and DJ Wittich (Air Force Research Laboratory), in collaboration with the Directed Energy Professional Society (DEPS), held a series of technical interchange meetings in 2017 focused on HEL capability and transition. Focus area teams have been established in the areas of systems engineering; components; modeling and simulation; and test and evaluation. The teams will coordinate their individual studies around a generic UAV platform in order to identify the top technical challenges associated with HEL/aircraft integration. The committee drafted the HEL platform system requirements, began forming design concepts, and identified baseline components to meet the design requirements. Additional tasks are to determine what modeling tools are already available, any capability gaps in said models, and how those models can be used to establish test parameters for the as-designed system. The three-year objective of the committee is to establish the necessary steps to define the system parameters, go through the project design process, and document those efforts for a team to demonstrate a laser capability from an airborne platform.
The committee highlights two major developments in 2017 relevant to maturing directed energy for airborne platforms.
1. The U.S. Air Force awarded a $26 million contract to develop a high-powered laser source as part of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s podded electric laser concept for fifth- and sixth-generation fighter jets under the Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) program. This represents a milestone in developing a fiber high energy laser source tailored to a rugged fighter environment.
2. The U.S. Air Force Strategic Development, Planning, and Experimentation office launched a demonstration using directed energy technology to counter unmanned aircraft systems following the signing of the Air Force Directed Energy Weapon Flight Plan in May 2017. This testing event demonstrates the utility of DE technology to address relevant threats to the warfighter.
For more information on this committee, contact Daniel Miller, Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reuben H. Fleet Scholarships Awarded by the San Diego Section
AIAA San Diego Section awarded the Reuben H. Fleet Scholarships at the AIAA San Diego Honors and Awards Banquet on 4 May 2017. Since 1983, 190 students have received the scholarship, which is made possible by the Reuben H. Fleet Foundation at The San Diego Foundation.
AIAA Region VII—Australia Student Conference
The AIAA Region VII-Australia Student Conference took place 23–24 November 2017, at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. The winners were:
1st place: Rhiannon Kirby – Monash University (Tomographic Background-Oriented Schlieren for Three-dimensional Density Field Reconstruction in Asymmetric Shock-containing Jets)
2nd place: Joshua Grant – University of South Wales (An Acoustic Travelling Wave System for High-Cycle Fatigue Analysis)
3rd place: Jake Dell-O’Sullivan – University of New South Wales (UAV Emergency Forced Landing, Utilising Stored Geographic Data Towards a 3-Phase Approach)
The first-place winner is invited to compete in the AIAA International Student Conference, which will take place at the AIAA SciTech Forum in January.
AIAA Senior Member Lee Died in September
Albert (Al) Chong Lee, 92, died on 7 September.
Lee’s early academic success led to his acceptance to a dual-degree program at Reed College in Portland, OR, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1953, he graduated with degrees in physics and electrical engineering and began a long career as an electrical engineer.
After starting with GE in Pittsfield, MA, his interests led him across the country to Los Angeles in 1961, where he began working for the U.S. space program. After becoming an expert in solar cell arrays, he moved to Houston, TX, to support the Apollo program.
After his time with the space program, he began designing electrical transformers with GE, first in Louisana and then in North Carolina in 1973.
Lee worked for GE until retiring in 1992. He was especially proud of the patents he developed at GE related to transformers and amorphous metals.
AIAA Senior Member Isbell Died in October
William M. Isbell, Ph.D., died on 8 October 2017.
Dr. Isbell, a 45-year member of AIAA, received his B.S. in Engineering/Physics from University of California, Berkeley in 1958, and his Ph.D. from Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan. His career encompassed over 60 years experience in weapon systems and weapon lethality. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force. He was internationally recognized as a specialist in applications of shock wave technologies and a participant in the development of missiles and space exploration during the 1960s and the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars) during the 1980s. He was considered an expert in the weapon system lethality field, NMD damage and kill assessment, supporting numerous special studies.
He joined Stanford Research Institute’s Poulter Laboratories, as a Research Physicist in 1960. Later he was head, Applied Physics Division of Material and Structures Laboratory, General Motors Corporation Technical Center, Santa Barbara. In 1971 he became a senior scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, followed in 1976 by joining General Research Corporation as principal scientist, Kinetic Weapon Operations. In 1998, Dr. Isbell joined Xontech Inc. and provided input to NMD Lethality Plans, and consulting services for numerous organizations supporting the developing National Missile Defense System programs. He directed hypervelocity impact testing, developed shock wave instrumentation, and performed underground nuclear phenomenology tests.
Dr. Isbell was owner/president of ATA Associates, designing and building optical instruments. He was a member of the Army Science Board, Washington, DC, and a Senior Research Fellow, Advanced Technologies Center, University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Isbell contributed to a number of Oversight Panels for SDIO/BMDO, DOD, NASA, and DOE National Laboratories. He authored over 150 publications in fields of system assessment, damage assessment, weapons effectiveness, impact lethality, underground nuclear testing, and shock wave physics, non-lethal weapons, anti-terrorism and high tech solutions, just to name a few. He authored a book entitled Shock Waves and a book entitled Measurements of the Dynamic Response of Materials to Impact Loading.
Dr. Isbell was a member of the AIAA Weapon System Effectiveness Technical Committee, a regular contributor to AIAA classified conferences, and member of the AIAA Vandenberg Section. He was founding President and Inaugural Fellow, Electric Launcher Association; Founding Board of Directors, Hypervelocity Impact Society; and Fellow, Aeroballistics Range Association. He also held membership with ARA Association, HVIS, National Defense Institute, American Physical Society, and SPIE.
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