Dr. Daria Bielecki Receives the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award

4/6/2009 - 20-09r
Contact: Amanda Bowie, (202) 767-2541

Dr. Daria Bielecki, a mathematician in the Advance Systems Technology Branch at the Naval Research Laboratory, received the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award. The award is the second highest award a Navy civilian employee can receive. She is recognized for her development of the Vessel Tracking Project, which features a layered defense approach incorporating support from sensors, databases and information feeds ranging from national technical means to open source information.

Upon her arrival at NRL in 1988, Dr. Bielecki began researching ways to improve data fusion and correlation to enhance ship tracking. Over the years, she investigated incorporating high frequency surface wave radar, Canada's Radar Satellite I and inverse synthetic aperture radar imaging sensors into her evolving architecture. In 2003, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research Development and Acquisition called for a maritime domain awareness architecture. Dr. Bielecki's response was a global architecture known as the Vessel Tracking Project (VTP). Prior to the inception of VTP, the process of acquiring and validating positional information, fusing and correlating it and generating tracks was done manually. Today, the tools developed through the VTP permit the production and maintenance automatically 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Since the development of the VTP, the capability to collect, fuse, and correlate data continually and automatically from a variety of sensors that include electronic intelligence, imagery, Automatic Identification Systems, and acoustics has drastically improved. Dr. Bielecki's development accessed over 300 databases, including the Coast Guard's Magnet and the Office of Naval Intelligence's Seawatch databases. The VTP's capability was operationally demonstrated at the U.S. Coast Guard's Maritime Intelligence Fusion Center Atlantic.

Dr. Bielecki's successful Vessel Tracking Project generated the Comprehensive Maritime Awareness (CMA) and Maritime Automated Supertrack Enhance Reporting (MASTER) joint capability technology demonstrations (JCTDs). Using VTP technology as the core track generator, CMA has expanded its use to enable the inclusion of the automatic tracking of cargo and people aboard thousands of vessels worldwide. The VTP also enables the development of data threads to link shipping companies, ships, banking, insurance and other common attributes within worldwide databases. The CMA capability is currently being deployed to the sixth fleet, Naval Forces Center Bahrain and the National Maritime Intelligence Center. The MASTER JCTD employs VTP technology as well as other technologies to support compartmented intelligence analysis.

Although the challenge of the technical development of the VTP was great, managing the VTP required skill and sensitivity to overcome the natural cultural issues associated with coordinating the inputs from the large and disparate group of government agencies involved. For the development of VTP, Dr Bielecki is cited as having "superb management skills and technical innovation that have contributed significantly to the security of the United States as well as the free world."

Dr. Bielecki began her career as a clerical assistant for the U.S. Army Combat Developments Command in a summer student position in 1968. She later worked as a teaching assistant at Northern Illinois University while attending Graduate School from 1972 to 1973. She went on to teach mathematics at Wills High School in Smyrna, Georgia, then began work as a teaching assistant at the Georgia Institute of Technology Graduate School. From 1983 to 1988, Dr. Bielecki worked at the Naval Intelligence Support Center as a mathematician in the Ballistics Missile System Division of the Naval Weapons Technology Department where she analyzed the guidance and control and accuracy of foreign ballistic missile systems. She later came to NRL where she supports the Naval Center for Space Technology scientists and engineers in the formulation of solutions to various mathematical and engineering issues associated with space system development.

Dr. Bielecki earned her B.A. in mathematics from New York University in 1971, her M.S. in mathematics from Northern Illinois University in 1973, her M.S. in applied mathematics from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1978, and her Ph.D. in mathematics from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1983. Dr. Bielecki's academic honors included her memberships in Sigma Xi at the Georgia Institute of Technology and in Phi Beta Kappa at New York University, as well as being awarded Founder's Day Honors by New York University.

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