In addition to my academic pursuits, I spent 5 years as an active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force. I spent the first three years in a research lab at the Air Force Research Lab Space Vehicles Directorate (then at Hanscom AFB, MA) and the most of the final two years working in the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) at Los Angeles AFB, CA. At SMC I was responsible for the daily oversight of multiple technology programs (see my CV for detail). During this time I acquired baseline certification in several DoD Acquisitions fields, including:
- Defense Acquisitions Program Management Level 1
- Defense Acquisitions Systems Engineering Level 1
- Defense Acquisitions Test and Evaluation Level 1
- Defense Acquisitions Science and Technology Level 1
The experience I gained during two short years at SMC varied highly. I worked with both a software program (SWAFS) and flight hardware development programs (TGRS for the COSMIC-2 mission). I worked with major government sponsored labs (e.g. JPL for the TGRS system) as well as small businesses (MOOG-BRE, sub-contractor for TGRS). I worked with the maintenance of a long-term spiral-development contract (SWAFS) and the early stages of a development program through Critical Design Review (CDR). Finally, I worked on a regular basis with military personnel, civilian government personnel, government contractors in support of the program office (e.g. Aerospace), and the contractors themselves (e.g. JPL).
I separated from the military at the rank of Captain in 2013 in order to pursue a doctorate full-time at the University of New Hampshire. The leadership and management skills I learned during my time as an officer are experiences that I am extremely grateful for.