Dr. Simon W. Chang Receives Presidential Rank Award

4/3/2008 - 1-08r
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Dr. Simon W. Chang, Superintendent of the Marine Meteorology Division at the Naval Research Laboratory's (NRL's) site in Monterey, California, is the recipient of the 2007 Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Senior Executive. Each year the President recognizes a small group of career Senior Executives with the President's Rank Award for exceptional long-term accomplishments. Winners of this prestigious award are strong leaders, professionals, and scientists who achieve results and consistently demonstrate strength, integrity, industry, and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service.

Dr. Chang was recognized for maintaining a strong focus on transitioning research to operations. He led a cultural change by adapting to the Navy customers' new need for greater product automation and more web-based distribution of products, due to greatly reduced staffing at forward deployed locations. He built on NRL's track record for developing and delivering web-based systems and numerical models, and worked closely with the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center to fast-track some transitions after the 9/11 terror attacks. He successfully obtained funding to support the effort, providing the first operational global forecast products of atmospheric visibility for pilots into the hands of DOD's strike warfare community in record time, setting a precedent for expediting transitions.

With Dr. Chang's support, NRL scientists obtained, through various interagency agreements, the country's most complete collection of real-time satellite data. They use the data in novel ways to highlight features of tactical interest to the warfighter, helping U.S. forces plan and execute their missions with full knowledge of where the snow, clouds, rain, smoke, dust, and other obscurations are located - day or night - at very high resolution. New areas of interest can be added in minutes, on request, as was done in support of relief efforts after the Indonesian tsunami, the Pakistani earthquake, and the Philippine mudslide.

Under his direction, the division has developed and delivered millions of atmospheric analysis and forecast products. The vast suite of products developed by the Division, and distributed in real-time every day, provides not only an invaluable service to DOD, but also to the nation and to others around the world, as many non-tactical products are made available on public web sites. This includes the NRL-Monterey tropical cyclone web page, the most complete resource available for real-time global information on hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones. Official DOD and National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration forecasters, as well as emergency planners, researchers, and forecasters around the globe routinely use this page.

In 2006, another significant system, the Centralized Atmospheric Analysis and Prediction System (CAAPS), became operational. CAAPS is a ForceNET version of NRL's interactive high-resolution model, COAMPS-OS(r) (Coupled Ocean/ Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System-On Scene), but includes a web-based interface that allows a remote user to configure attributes of the model forecast, including the area, length of forecast, and tailored output data. COAMPS-OS(r) also includes direct links to the standard DOD chemical/ biological transport and dispersion models, which can be automatically launched and driven from the meteorological model. Non-web versions of COAMPS-OS(r) have already been transitioned to a host of Navy and non-Navy customers. Dr. Chang has also been instrumental in directing NRL's participation toward an encompassing partnership for the future, the Earth System Modeling Framework (ESMF), and the joint Army/Navy/Air Force coalition for DOD participation in ESMF, the Battlespace Environments Institute, ensuring that the Navy takes a proactive role in modeling the total atmosphere-ocean environment to have its needs met at the earliest of design stages.

Dr. Chang has created a working environment that encourages participation in a team-oriented research program that is highly integrated and matrixed throughout the organization. Most scientists in the Division work on two or more projects so they remain part of multiple work teams with broad perspectives; there are at least 19 interdisciplinary research projects in the Division. Demonstrating a strong commitment to the President's Management Agenda, Dr. Chang has supported Equal Employment Opportunity and the Affirmative Employment Program through hiring, promotion and supervisory assignments for women and minorities.

Dr. Chang has effectively managed resources by diversifying Division funding to 25% non-Navy, thereby reducing risk and leveraging funds for maximum dual use of science and technology. He has also participated in major interagency collaborations to reduce costs and avoid duplication of efforts.

Dr. Chang obtained his B.S. in meteorology from National Taiwan University in 1969, his M.S. in atmospheric science from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1972, and his Ph.D. degree in meteorology in 1977 from the Pennsylvania State University. As part of his dissertation work, Dr. Chang worked at the National Hurricane Research Laboratory in Miami and at the Riso National Laboratory in Denmark. He was a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 1977.

Joining NRL as a contractor in 1978, Dr. Chang became a government employee in 1983 as a meteorologist in the Space Science Division. His scientific interests include tropical cyclone, air-sea interactions, numerical weather prediction, satellite data assimilation, and mesoscale meteorology. He also initiated, participated in, and managed projects in meteorological re-analysis for the 1991 Gulf War Illness Study, high altitude global prediction, high-resolution models for chemical and biological defense, and several field experiments.

Dr. Chang accepted the position as head of the Atmospheric Dynamics and Modeling Branch of NRL's Marine Meteorology Division in Monterey, California, in 1994. In 1996, he returned to Washington, DC, where he continued to work for the Marine Meteorology Division as a liaison and consultant to the superintendent. He attended the National Defense University in 2000, and in 2001 became a program manager in the Ocean, Atmosphere, and Space Science and Technology Department of the Office of Naval Research (ONR). There, he coordinated the execution of the Tropical Meteorology Program, the Predictability Departmental Research Initiative (DRI), and the Coupled Boundary Layer Air-Sea Transfer (CBLAST) DRI. In 2003, he was appointed to his present position as Superintendent of the Marine Meteorology Division. Dr. Chang is responsible for the scientific and technical leadership, as well as the management and administration of the Division. He also serves as the principle consultant to the Navy on developing naval applications for the research and development programs in marine meteorology.

Dr. Chang serves as a member of the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) Executive Oversight Board, the Management Oversight Board of the Joint Center of Satellite Data Assimilation (JCSDA), and the U.S. THORPEX Executive Committee (USTEC). Dr. Chang has served on many PhD committees and advised graduate students at several universities. He has 50 peer-reviewed publications, and has written many conference abstracts and technical reports.

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