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Recipients of Harold Brown Award 2021, 2022 honored at Pentagon ceremony

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  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall hosted an award ceremony at the Pentagon for recipients of the 2021 and 2022 Harold Brown Award, Aug. 8.


Kendall presented the 2021 award to U.S. Space Force Maj. Ronald Kemker in recognition of significant achievements in aviation electronics development for dozens of Automatic Target Recognition models, a novel data fusion scheme and five processing algorithms.

“Major Kemker’s award recognizes exceptional contributions to the operational effectiveness of the Air Force,” Kendall said. “Major Kemker’s work is also strategically important because the technology he generated is sharable with our partners from other nations and the success of our partners is crucial to integrated deterrence.”

The 2022 award was presented to a team, the Air Force Research Laboratory Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, which led problem identification and solution development for a critical product issue in the B-21 Raider program. The team characterized the materials compatibility root cause, identified a material solution and rapidly conducted testing. These efforts provided a cost avoidance of $120 million and reduced part build-time by six weeks per aircraft.

“What this group has done is source and create critical materials that have enabled us to build the B-21 Raider,” Kendall said. “It’s an incredible aircraft that will enable the continued success or our global strike mission for decades. The technology contributed by this team is keeping the B-21 on the path to fielding.”

The Harold Brown Award recognizes significant achievement in research and development that led to or demonstrated promise of a substantial improvement in operational effectiveness for the Air Force. The award's namesake, Harold Brown, served as Secretary of the Air Force from 1965 to 1969 and as Secretary of Defense from 1977 to 1981.