Dr. Thomas Giallorenzi Receives Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive

6/28/2005 - 34-05r
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Dr. Thomas Giallorenzi, superintendent of the Optical Sciences Division at the Naval Research Laboratory, is a recipient of the 2004 Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive. Each year, the President recognizes and celebrates a small group of career Senior Executives with the President's Rank Award for exceptional long-term accomplishments. Dr. Giallorenzi's nomination recognizes him for "his repeated, insightful identification of areas of optical science research that have the potential to provide the Navy and Department of Defense (DoD) with revolutionary capabilities." He is noted for having "followed through on his vision by leading numerous successful programs to develop and transition this research into Navy systems."

Dr. Giallorenzi initiated the development of fiber optic acoustic sensors and led the team that performed the ground-breaking research on them. When he began this research, systems based on piezo-electric sensors were the standard for marine acoustic sensing, but he foresaw the huge advantages of fiber optic systems. Dr. Giallorenzi's team has taken this basic idea and developed it into fully functioning Navy systems, which are now scheduled for installation on Navy submarines for use in anti-submarine warfare.

He has led similar efforts to transition other electro-optical (EO) technologies. Dr. Giallorenzi took the ideas of electronic image acquisition, data compression and transmission, and image analysis and with them envisioned a Navy with real-time, digital surveillance and reconnaissance imagery rather than a Navy struggling with the substantial delays and uncertainties of the old, film-based technology. He imagined digital images that could be transmitted to ship or shore bases while the plane taking the pictures was still airborne. He saw this capability revolutionizing the Navy approach to time-critical military actions such as attacking mobile targets, such as SCUD missile launchers. The group he assembled successfully took the TARPS-CD (Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod System - Completely Digital) for the F-14 from conceptualization to airborne demonstration in six months. Building on this success, Dr. Giallorenzi led the same team in development of SHARP (Shared Airborne Reconnaissance Pod) for the F-18. Again, his team successfully demonstrated this advanced technology far more quickly than any typical surveillance and reconnaissance system. In addition to their technical superiority, the approach of using systems in pods allows great flexibility and will save more than $1 billion compared to a fleet with dedicated reconnaissance aircraft.

Among other example of Dr. Giallorenzi's ingenuity and determination in transitioning technology to Navy systems are multicolor infrared focal plane arrays for missile warning and hyperspectral imaging for target detection. The NRL group demonstrated the first laser-based system to allow tactical aircraft to successfully defeat infrared guided missiles both ground and air launched. This technology has clear application for protecting commercial aircraft from shoulder-fired missiles in the post 9/11 era. Dr. Giallorenzi has also spearheaded the Navy's development of airborne hyperspectral imaging systems to detect camouflaged targets on the ground. The NRL team even demonstrated this technology on an unmanned air vehicle to prove the technology's ease of use and wide applicability.

Dr. Giallorenzi received his B.S. and M.S. Degrees in Engineering Physics and his Ph.D Degree in Applied Physics from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. In 1970 Dr. Giallorenzi joined NRL, where he headed the Guided Wave Section in the Optical Sciences Division. In this position, he initiated most of the early Navy's programs in integrated optics and fiber optics. From 1976 to 1979 he served as the head of the Optical Techniques Branch. Dr. Giallorenzi is credited with developing numerous technological firsts, which transitioned to applications. In 1979 Dr. Giallorenzi was appointed to his current position as director of Optical Sciences Division.

Dr. Giallorenzi has authored or co-authored over 80 professional journal articles and has presented more than 114 talks at professional society conferences. He has been awarded over 25 U.S. Patents. He has served as conference chairman or technical committee member for over 40 professional society conferences. He was the editor-in-chief for the IEEE/OSA Journal of Lightwave Technology. He served as president of the IEEE Laser and Electro-Optical Society (1966) and on the Board of Governors for IEEE/LEOS (1991-1995) and Optical Society of America (1996-1999). He received the Research Society of America Award for Applied Sciences (1973); the Navy's Meritorious Civilian Service Medal (1978); the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Senior Executive (1983); the Captain Robert Dexter Conrad Award (1985) (the Navy's highest award for scientific achievement); the IEEE Harry Diamond Award (1986); the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award (1987); the IEEE/OSA John Tyndall Award (1990); the President Rank Award for Distinguished Executive (1991 and 1997); and the Navy League Michelson Award (1996) and the Rodger E. Easton Engineering Excellence Award (1998).

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