Story ID 07-230
July 22, 2005


AF Space Battlelab chief scientist wins project officer of year award
Air Force Space Command News Service

1st Lt. Jean Van Allen
50th Space Wing Public Affairs

SCHRIEVER AFB, Colo. - The former chief scientist at the Space Warfare Centers Air Force Space Battlelab here was recognized Friday as the Gen. William Billy Mitchell Air Force Battlelab Project Officer of the Year for 2004.

Capt. Brett Conner earned the award based on his efforts leading teams demonstrating the military utility of secure, networked space operations to support tactical war fighters.

"We looked at an innovative approach to satellite command and control," said Captain Conner. "We wanted to provide a system that authenticated users, issued user priorities and permissions, accessed databases and provided near real-time data from space."

The captain's team succeeded in changing that and have transformed the way space does business. All processes are now automatic once you log into the system.

"Captain Conner's selection as project officer of the year signifies his dedication to the Air Force Battlelab vision to rapidly create, harvest and evaluate innovative solutions to meet war fighter requirements," said Lt. Col. Kelly Andersen, Air Force Space Battlelab Concept Development Division chief.

The seven battlelabs in the Air Force exploit innovation opportunities in critical areas. These areas include space, unmanned aerial vehicles, information warfare, air warfare, air mobility, force protection and C2.

Each battlelab nominates two project officers, one officer and one enlisted, to compete for the Air Force-level award.

"I feel quite honored that I was nominated and chosen for the award," said Captain Conner. "I think it reflects well on the Space Battlelab and on the project teams. It also helps to recognize that our battlelab projects are addressing the needs of the war fighter."

The captain's division chef agrees.

"It is very exciting to have Captain Conner receive this award," said Colonel Andersen. "In this business you do not always get to see the tangible results of your work. It is very gratifying and uplifting to see a young officer who has worked very hard be recognized and see his efforts mature into a system that will help the war fighter."

The system, called Virtual Mission Operations Center, is being integrated into joint warfighting space initiatives. It was just one major project the captain was working on that led to his recognition. The VMOC project involved using a Web portal environment to command and task satellites. Captain Conner worked with more than 50 different team members from 16 different organizations, including the Army and Navy, to complete the VMOC demonstration.

"As a scientist, Captain Conner provided a great deal of the technical expertise needed to pull the project together from concept development to demonstration plan to execution and beyond," said Colonel Andersen. "It is not just the mechanics of what the team did to put the demonstration together, but what Captain Conner did after the demonstration. Many times it is the dissemination of the results and the tenacity of the officer behind the demonstration that makes it a success. Captain Conner was key in this respect."

With such a large team working alongside him, Captain Conner said he owes his success to each person involved.

"Even though the Mitchell award is an individual award, I'm grateful for the efforts of every member of the VMOC team, he said. The Space Battlelab also provided me with a supportive environment as a project officer and I appreciate that."

Captain Conner has also been selected for the Air Force Intern Program at the Pentagon. His internship will begin July 29.