Mr. Edward Kennedy Receives the Department of the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award


7/1/2009 - 56-09r
Contact: Amanda Bowie, (202) 767-2541


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Mr. Edward Kennedy, an electrical engineer in the Information Technology Division at the Naval Research Laboratory, received the Department of the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award. The award is the second highest award a Navy civilian employee can receive. He is recognized for developing and managing the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program ionospheric Research Station in Gakona, Alaska, a seventeen-year effort.

For his outstanding leadership, and technical and programmatic oversight in the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) development and operation, the citation reads in part,

His tireless efforts to address the myriad of technical, administrative, regulatory and contractual details of the project proved to be essential to the successful completion of this modern facility and to its ability to serve both military and civilian ionospheric research needs now and in the years to come. His efforts with HAARP will promote the Navy's understanding of the ionosphere and its effect on our military communications and navigation systems, resulting in significant improvements to these and future generations of these systems.

From 1991 to 2007, Mr. Kennedy was the Office of Naval Research's (ONR's) lead engineer and program manager for HAARP, a $150 million joint service development project between ONR, Air Force Research Laboratory, and later with the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency that resulted in the most advanced, high powered, state-of-the-art ionospheric research facility in the world. In 1991, ONR requested that Mr. Kennedy provide technical assistance in the early development of HAARP. Mr. Kennedy became extensively involved in the project, which led to his subsequent detailing from NRL to ONR as a Program Officer in 1999 in support of the program.

The research conducted at HAARP is aimed at understanding the natural phenomena occurring in the Earth's ionosphere and near-space environment. The research is valuable in the design of future communication and navigation systems for both military and civilian use. The HAARP Research Station, located approximately 180 miles northeast of Anchorage and covering nearly 5,000 acres, is a world-class facility with a state-of-the-art design that includes a 180-element High Frequency phased array, broad-band antenna system, and a high-speed local area network that controls individual transmitters within the array. The array has the capability of producing over 3,600KW of radiated power in the lower portion of the high-frequency band. The modern computer-controlled transmitting and observation equipment surpasses that of other ionospheric research instruments.

Mr. Kennedy's involvement in the development of HAARP was crucial to its completion. He led, directed or influenced virtually all technical, contractual, administrative and programmatic activities needed to complete the facility. Since HAARP's inception, Mr. Kennedy worked on the development of physical and electrical specifications, site selection, development of an initial array capability, and concentrated his efforts to complete the full array in 2007. As the Contracting Officer's Technical Representative for the contract to complete the facility, Mr. Kennedy oversaw every aspect of the HAARP site construction. The harsh arctic environment of Alaska put tight time restrictions on outdoor work, but despite those restrictions, Mr. Kennedy kept the program on schedule and within budget. He coordinated the timing of the installation of the 180 antenna towers that are 70 feet high, which cover 40 acres, the construction of a 15 MW diesel power plant to power the array, and the installation of dozens of modern diagnostic instruments in a timely manner.

In addition to his many duties, Mr. Kennedy also led Radio Frequency Interference and Electromagnetic Compatibility coordination efforts with other government agencies. He initially began working with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in 1992 to gain spectrum certification for the high-power transmitter to be used at the HAARP facility, and this coordination has continued through the present.

Mr. Kennedy's involvement in public relations was significant as he strove to involve the broad U.S. scientific community, including DoD and other government laboratories, the academic community, and the private sector. He participates in public forums and briefings to local citizens and public organizations and addresses unfounded environmental concerns to the local community. He was instrumental in the creation of the annual Radio Frequency Ionosphere Interactions Workshops that began in 1995. The workshop now hosts over 100 international scientists and managers annually. In an effort to expand the involvement of younger scientists with the HAARP facility, Mr. Kennedy teamed up with the National Science Foundation to establish funding that allows graduate students to participate in the annual RF Interactions workshops, to participate in an annual “summer school” where students spend two weeks in Alaska taking part in scientific lectures and hands-on experiments at the HAARP facility.

Mr. Kennedy came to NRL in 1968 where he was employed in the Submarine Systems Section. Over a period of 15 years, Mr. Kennedy made contributions to the group as a communications engineer, and eventually became the group's leader. By 1987, Mr. Kennedy assumed the position of the Head of the Transmission Technology Branch at NRL, a position he held until his retirement in 2005. He returned to NRL in 2006 as a re-employed annuitant, and then as a contractor employee in 2008, working as an electrical engineer in the Information Technology Division.

Mr. Kennedy received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Electrical Engineering from The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, in 1968 and 1972 respectively. At NRL, Mr. Kennedy has received many awards including two Alan Berman Research Publication Awards in 1992 and 1994. He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.


The HAARP antenna array consists of 180 antennas on a total land area of about 35 acres. The facility is located in Gakona, Alaska.
(Source: http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/haarp/photos.html)


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