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AFIT Graduates Class of March 2006
Posted Friday, March 24, 2006


More than 270 scientists, engineers, and management specialists are the recipients of graduate and doctoral degrees from the Air Force Institute of Technology. AFIT’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management held its March 2006 graduation ceremony Tuesday on the School’s campus. The graduating class was awarded 268 master’s degrees and five doctorates.

Lt. Gen. Dennis R. Larsen delivered the commencement address to the 273 graduates. Gen. Larsen is Vice Commander, Air Education and Training Command, at Randolph Air Force Base, Tex. Gen. Larsen is a command pilot with more than 4,100 flying hours, primarily in fighter aircraft, including the F-117A Nighthawk, F-16CJ Wild Weasel, F-4 Phantom and A-7 Corsair. He has had combat experience in Vietnam as well as Southwest Asia. In his current position, Gen. Larsen’s command recruits, trains, and educates more than 370,000 men and women for the aerospace force and the nation.

“The commencement ceremony marks the culmination of a process that AFIT engages in on a daily basis,” said Brig. Gen. Mark T. Matthews, AFIT Commandant. “That is, providing our nation with the future officer, enlisted, and civilian leaders it needs to remain the most technologically advanced and dominant military force in the world today.”

The ceremony highlighted the dissertations of the five doctoral students:

Adaptive Illumination Patterns for Radar Applications, By Capt. Phillip M. Corbell, Advisor: Dr. Michael A. Temple. Capt. Corbell’s research, sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory, focused on increasing the performance of advanced radar systems to detect targets by reducing the amount of clutter. He extended existing radar models to incorporate, for the first time, time-varying illumination of terrain and demonstrated dramatic potential for improving target detection in densely populated, urban warfare environments. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency praised the results of Capt. Corbell’s work and his contribution is destined for possible inclusion in the next generation of airborne and space borne radar surveillance programs.

Assessing the Potential for Improved Scramjet Performance Through Application of Electromagnetic Flow Control, By Maj. Martin F. Lindsey, Advisor: Maj. Richard J. McMullan. Maj. Lindsey tackled a fundamental problem associated with the recent resurgence in hypersonic engine research. In work sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, he modeled the conditions anticipated for a hypersonic engine on a full, flight-sized vehicle, and he developed a critical understanding of energy flow in a plasma generated during operation. The results of his work demonstrate the potential to extract sufficient amount of energy from this plasma to supply the aircraft’s entire electrical power requirements. Maj. Lindsey’s work represents a significant advance in engine technology development for future combat aircraft and the achievement of sustained hypersonic flight.

Uncertainty Estimation for Target Detection System Discrimination and Confidence Performance Metrics, By Maj. David R. Parker, Advisor: Dr. Steven C. Gustafson. Predicting the presence of enemy targets using target recognition systems is vital, but making these predictions can be uncertain. Maj. Parker, in research supported by the Sensors Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory, developed methods that estimate the accuracy of target prediction. His results might be used, for example, to determine how well a target recognition system can identify whether or not one is targeting a friend or a foe in a battlefield environment. This research improves existing methods for estimating target detection system performance and will have impact on future system designs.

Spatially-Resolved Temperature Diagnostic for Supersonic Flow Using Cross-Beam Doppler-Limited Laser Saturation Spectroscopy, By Maj. Grady T. Phillips, Advisor: Dr. Glen P. Perram. Developing a non-intrusive, temperature diagnostic technique is crucial for determining the optimum operating conditions for high-power chemical laser systems. In research sponsored by the Directed Energy Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory, Maj. Phillips developed and successfully tested a novel optical technique for measuring the temperature of a gas flowing out of a supersonic nozzle similar to the design used for the Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser, the weapon of choice onboard the Airborne Laser platform. His technique is now being implemented to determine accurate temperature measurements critical for weapon designers to achieve maximum performance from the Airborne Laser.

The Application of Category Theory and Analysis of Receiver Operating Characteristics to Information Fusion, By Maj. Steven N. Thorsen, Advisor: Mark E. Oxley. Automatic target recognition and classification is a critical element of advanced warfighting and is a top DoD priority. Maj. Thorsen developed the mathematical foundations for fusing disparate information for automatic target recognition and classification systems, and he developed a method for selecting the best target classification system from a collection of such systems. Maj. Thorsen’s research, supported by Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Air Combat Command, represents a significant advance in the science of information fusion for future combat identification systems, and the results of his work will help the Air Force to more efficiently design, test, and acquire automatic target recognition systems.

Air Force officers composed the majority of the Class of March 2006; however, the Institute also graduated eight Air Force enlisted, six Army officers, three Marine Corps officers, and five civilians, along with five international students from the countries of Australia, Morocco, and the Republic of Korea. Upon graduation, most AFIT students will fill technical positions requiring advanced academic degrees in their respective fields of study from across the Department of Defense.

Four students were recognized for their exemplary performance during their graduate studies. The Commandant’s Award was presented to Capt. Steven M. Ross, who demonstrated the most exceptional individual master’s thesis research. In recognition of his exceptional scholarship and high qualities of character, initiative, and leadership, Flt. Lt. Piotr Baizert, of Australia, was the recipient of the Mervin E. Gross Award, named in honor of Brig. Gen. Mervin E. Gross, first commandant of the institute. The Edwin E. Aldrin, Sr. Award, named in honor of Lt. Edwin E. Aldrin, Sr., member of the institute’s first graduating class and father of astronaut Buzz Aldrin, was presented to Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth M. Ivey for demonstrating strong personal leadership and accomplishing AFIT’s education objectives in an outstanding manner. Finally, Senior Master Sgt. Steven Cross received the inaugural Secretary James G. Roche Award for demonstrating exceptional academic achievement through a combination of grade point average and outstanding thesis, as well as high qualities of character, initiative, leadership and service while in a master’s graduate program.

Congratulations to AFIT’s graduating class of March 2006!

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