Graduate School Announces Faculty Academic Promotions

Posted Thursday, July 29, 2021



The Air Force Institute of Technology’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management completed the academic year 2020-21 promotion and tenure cycle. Five faculty members underwent a rigorous evaluation of their teaching, scholarship and service resulting in promotion of academic rank. Cumulatively, the five faculty members have over 75 publications, advised more than 80 students, received more than $16M in sponsored research funding, and earned one patent.

“Being granted tenure and an academic rank promotion represents the pinnacle of faculty accomplishments,” said Dr. Adedeji Badiru, dean, Graduate School of Engineering and Management. “I am delighted that the slate of this year’s faculty, as in the past, conveys the fact that AFIT is moving toward being recognized internationally as the ‘MIT of the Midwest.’ Our faculty members are not relenting in the like-minded pursuit of this vision. I congratulate this year’s selectees and encourage the other faculty in the pipeline to meet us in this congratulatory platform next year.”

Major James Bevins earned promotion to Associate Professor of Nuclear Engineering with military tenure within the department of Engineering Physics. Maj Bevins joined the AFIT faculty in 2017. His research interests cover nuclear and radiation effects, nuclear forensics and detection, and fundamental nuclear science with a primary focus on the interaction of radiation with matter and nuclear weapons environments, effects, and signatures. The goal of his research is to improve radiation detection, nuclear weapon system survivability testing and certification, post-detonation forensics, and proliferation detection to meet operational Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and the Department of Homeland Security requirements.

Bevins has 19 refereed publications, 16 in open source archival journals and three in limited distribution publications. In the past three years he has received sponsor funding totaling approximately $3.4M ($2.5M as PI). This does not include two awarded NIF shot grants, an Oak Ridge National Laboratory Lab-Directed Research and Development grant, or $550,000 obtained through the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Threat Reduction and Arms Control.

Bevins was an academic advisor for three nuclear engineering student classes, committee chair for seven completed master’s degrees, committee chair for one completed PhD degree, and currently chairs two master’s and three PhD committees.

Bevins graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering in 2009 and received his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Tennessee. He was selected to attend AFIT and earned a M.S. in Nuclear Engineering in 2011. In 2014, he was selected to attend the University of California, Berkeley for doctoral studies in nuclear engineering as a National Science Foundation Fellow. Bevins graduated in 2017 with dissertation research focused on methods to develop customizable neutron spectra for the production of realistic synthetic post-detonation debris.

In 2020, Bevins was selected as the Air Education and Training Command Educator of the Year and received the AFIT Early Career Achievement award. In 2018, he was selected as the Air Force Technical Applications Endowed Term Chair for Nuclear Treaty Monitoring.


Dr. Carl Hartsfield earned promotion to Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering with tenure within the department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He joined the AFIT faculty in 2015. His research focuses on experimental evaluation and diagnostics for space propulsion, analytic evaluation of spacecraft design, and applications of additive manufacturing for optimal spacecraft structures.

Hartsfield has 12 refereed publications and 20 reviewed conference proceedings. He has served as a reviewer for the Journal of Propulsion and Power, the Journal of Propulsion and Energetics, and Transactions in Plasma Science.

As an educator, Hartsfield has taught 25 sections of five different courses in the areas of propulsion and system design, both in residence and distance learning to more than 180 students. He has served as an advisor for 27 master’s students across multiple departments and served on an additional seven master’s research committees.

Hartsfield has received more than $5M ($1.9M as PI) in sponsored research funds. He has 21 approved research project proposals with DoD and national security space sponsors covering chemical and electric rocket propulsion, thermal control of spacecraft, and spacecraft structures. In addition, he has consulted on propulsion/launch and spacecraft design topics and implications of rocket exhaust plume conductivity.

Hartsfield earned a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1991, a M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 2001 and a PhD in Astronautical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 2006. He is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is a professional society and served as a member for the AIAA Small Satellite Technical Committee. He has also served on the executive planning committee for the Dayton-Cincinnati Aerospace Sciences Symposium.

Dr. Brent Langhals earned promotion to Associate Professor of Information Resource Management with tenure within the department of Systems Engineering and Management. He joined the AFIT faculty as a military member in 2011 and became a civilian faculty member in 2016 upon retirement from active duty in the Air Force. His research interests include modern data management, with emphasis on database technologies, data analytics, machine learning, and human-technology interaction.

Langhals has successfully advised four PhD students (two as research chair), 18 master’s students as thesis chair, and another 25 as a thesis committee member. He founded the first AFIT database and analytics lab and was appointed Director of AFIT’s Data Analytics Program in 2021.

As a researcher, Langhals has received seven grants totaling over $950K which include partnerships with Air Force Material Command, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Air University, 711th Human Performance Wing, and 689th Combat Communications Wing. His research has culminated in eight peer-reviewed journal articles, two book chapters, 10 peer-reviewed conference papers, and a patent for a novel 3D Air Traffic Control system.

Langhals has served as a reviewer and/or editorial board member for multiple journals including Journal of Management Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Systems Journal, International Journal of E-Politics, Psychophysiology Journal, and International Journal of Database Management Systems. He has also served as session chair for the 21st International Conference on Artificial Intelligence: Learning Methodologies, Machine Learning, Cognitive Computing, Reasoning, and Applications.

In prior military assignments, Langhals served in various capacities associated with Air Force Cyber Operations, culminating his Air Force career as Deputy Department Head for AFIT’s Department of Systems Engineering and Management.

Langhals is a graduate from the University of Arizona with a PhD in Management specializing in Management Information Systems. He also earned an M.S. from the Air Force Institute of Technology and a B.S. in History from the United States Air Force Academy.


Dr. Jonathan Ritschel earned promotion to Associate Professor of Cost Analysis with tenure within the department of Systems Engineering and Management. He joined the AFIT faculty in 2011 as the military director and sole faculty member of the cost analysis program serving as program chair, curriculum chair, mentor to students, teacher, and research advisor or thesis committee member for every single cost analysis student. Following retirement from active duty, he became a civilian faculty member in 2017.

Ritschel has received over $760K in research grants. His research interests focus on public choice, the effects of acquisition reforms on cost growth in DoD weapon systems, research and development cost estimation, and economic institutional analysis.

Ritschel has 35 peer reviewed journal articles published with three others accepted for publication. Additionally, to disseminate findings to the broader DOD and scientific communities, he has been a part of 17 conference presentations, 15 non-peer reviewed publications, and 10 invited presentations. He is an Associate Editor for the Military Operations Research Society Journal and was an Associate Editor for the Journal of Cost Analysis and Parametrics.

In total, Ritschel has taught 33 classes to more than 325 students and currently serves as the program and curriculum chair of the cost analysis program where he has twice successfully led the program through its six-year external academic review. He has served as the chair for 18 M.S. theses, a committee member for 51 M.S. thesis, and a committee member on one systems engineering dissertation.

An AFIT graduate, Ritschel earned a M.S. in Cost Analysis in 2003. He was a distinguished graduate (top 10%) and his research was recognized as the best cost thesis by the Society of Cost Estimating and Analysis. He went on to earn a PhD in Economics from George Mason University in 2011.


Dr. Sanjeev Gunawardena earned promotion to Research Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering within the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Prior to joining the AFIT faculty in 2014, Gunawardena served for 15 years as a Research Engineer/Senior Research Engineer and Adjunct Faculty with the Ohio University Avionics Engineering Center within the Russ College of Engineering and Technology. He earned a master’s in 2000 and PhD in2007 from Ohio University both in electrical engineering.

As an educator, Gunawardena has taught the satellite navigation receiver design course annually since 2015 and developed and taught 11 additional special study courses in the areas of satellite navigation, digital systems and high performance computing. He has graduated eight M.S. students and is currently advising another eight M.S. and one PhD student.

Gunawardena leads the robust satellite navigation research thrust within AFIT’s Autonomy and Navigation Technology Center. Since 2014, the research projects he has led have brought in $5.9M of sponsor funds and supported numerous ANT students, research, and support staff. His research accomplishments include the implementation of a super resolution technique known as ‘chip shape’ that can be used to authenticate satellite navigation signals for use in critical applications. Some of his contributions have been adopted and deployed in operational systems.

In 2016, Gunawardena successfully implemented and demonstrated an antenna array signal processing technique known as correlator beamforming which significantly reduces multipath at a fraction of the complexity and cost of traditional array-based approaches. This accomplishment was showcased as the cover story of the January 2017 issue of GPS World Magazine. He also led the development of advanced satellite navigation signal prototyping systems that are currently used in support of architecting and specifying requirements for the next-generation GPS.

Gunawardena has published one book chapter, five peer reviewed journal articles, 16 referred full paper publications, and 18 conference papers. He also serves as a satellite navigation subject matter expert and review committee member for several Air Force Research Laboratory programs and one DoD-based standards committee.

Since joining AFIT, Gunawardena has served as a program track chair, a panel organizer/moderator, and seven times as session co-chair for U.S. Institute of Navigation conferences. He was elected and served as treasurer of the Satellite Division of ION, and twice as an ION Council Member. In 2013, Gunawardena proposed the development of a standard for describing metadata for satellite navigation software-defined radios. Then, with ION Council approval, he formed and co-led a working group of 60+ members comprising of the world’s most renowned experts in satellite navigation software-defined radios to develop this standard as well as open-source normative reference software over a period of 6 years. The standard was ratified in January 2020 as a formal ION standard and has since been adopted by commercial satellite navigation software-defined radios equipment manufacturers.


More news...

Return to the top of the page

Air Force Institute of Technology
2950 Hobson Way
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH 45433-7765
Commercial: 937-255-6565 | DSN: 785-6565