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AFTAC team earns Air Force Science and Engineering Award

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Air Force Technical Applications Center's Nuclear Debris Collection and Analysis Research and Development team was awarded the 2007 Air Force Science and Engineering Award (Exploratory or Advanced Technology Devel-opment).

In a ceremony at the U.S. Air Force Academy Oct. 4, AFTAC Commander Col. Mark Westergren was on hand to watch as 1st Lt. Joe Dratz accepted the award on behalf of the team.

"This was a groundbreaking effort by a top-tier team of professionals," Colonel Westergren said. "The team should be proud of this award, and this accomplishment is even more significant with the success of their efforts displayed during real-world events. AFTAC has great people doing great work every day."

Presented annually, the science and engineering award recognizes significant accomplishments in science and technology in support of the Air Force mission. The Exploratory or Advanced Technology Development category emphasizes research quality, originality, importance to the Air Force, degree of transition, importance in the field and degree of completion.

"These awards recognize your high standards of excellence and hard work," said Dr. Mark Lewis, Air Force chief scientist.

The Nuclear Debris Collection and Analysis Research and Development team, part of AFTAC's Materials Technology Directorate, was recognized for its brilliant adaptation of the latest scientific research and technology to the complex problem of worldwide nuclear explosion detection.

Taking maximum advantage of the latest meteorological, nuclear, spectroscopic and computing developments, the team reengineered, modernized and vastly improved the nation's capability for verification of nuclear treaties. The team's ensemble meteorological modeling, collection systems, analysis apparatus and evaluation techniques operated flawlessly to provide confirmation of North Korea's nuclear test in October 2006. This confirmation enabled strong diplomatic action by the United States and led to sanctions imposed by the United Nations.