Secretary of Defense Medal Honors Dr. Leonard Buckley for Contributions to Defense Science

8/15/2005 - 42-05r
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Dr. Leonard J. Buckley, head of the Naval Research Laboratory's Materials Chemistry Branch, is the recipient of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service. He is recognized for his service to the Defense Sciences Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where he was detailed from July 2001 through June 2005. DARPA Director, Dr. Anthony J. Tether, presented the award to Dr. Buckley.

Dr. Buckley served as the program manager for several DARPA-sponsored research projects. The citation notes that the distinctive accomplishments of Dr. Buckley reflect great credit upon himself, DARPA and the Department of Defense, and acknowledges his accomplishments in several areas.

DARPA's Bio-Optic Synthetic Systems (BOSS) Program changes the paradigm of how materials are used in designing bio-inspired optical systems. This paradigm was achieved through innovations in materials chemistry and hierarchical materials structure. In this area, Dr. Buckley demonstrated new concepts of design for optical systems by emulating the way biology designs lenses. As the BOSS program manager, Dr. Buckley sought to synthetically reproduce optical components as robust systems with enhanced capabilities for use in military systems such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or missile guidance.

As the Neovision Program Manager, Dr. Buckley researched the use of synthetic materials for a retinal prosthesis to enable signal transduction at the nerve-to-retina interface. Additionally, he conceived, explored and identified a surface chemistry program to develop material technologies for the purpose of producing a coating system that exhibits self-cleaning/renewal behavior and is biocidal/sporicidal at its surface.

Finally, as the Water Harvesting Program Manager he restructured the program to produce a low-energy water harvesting system, with the same space/weight requirements as a half-day water supply. The would allow the warfighter to carry a half day's water supply and use the harvesting system to produce water for the remainder of the mission, reducing the logistical burden of re-supply. The program is investigating approaches to "water from air" concepts.

As head of the Materials Chemistry Branch in the Chemistry Division at NRL, Dr. Buckley is responsible for guiding research and technology ranging from fundamental studies in materials synthesis and polymer science to engineering problem solving for Navy systems. He returned to this position July 1, following the detail to DARPA.

Dr. Buckley holds a doctorate in materials science and engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a master's degree in polymer science from MIT, and a bachelor's degree in materials engineering from Drexel University. He has more than 150 publications, 8 patents, and has won several awards during his career including a Navy-sponsored award for scientific achievement in 1989 and an Alan Berman Outstanding Publication Award from NRL in 1999. He is a member of the American Chemical Society and the Materials Research Society and has taught courses in polymer physics and chemistry as an adjunct professor at several universities.

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