Alumnus Ronald Kemker receives U.S. Air Force’s Harold Brown Award

Kemker ’18 Ph.D. (imaging science) is a major in the U.S. Space Force

Eric Dietrich/U.S. Air Force

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, left, poses with U.S. Space Force Maj. Ronald Kemker, recipient of the 2021 Harold Brown Award, during a ceremony on Aug. 8, at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va. The award recognizes scientists and engineers who use research and development to solve problems critical to the Air Force.

Rochester Institute of Technology alumnus Ronald Kemker ’18 Ph.D. (imaging science), a major in the United States Space Force, received the 2021 Harold Brown Award, the highest award given to a scientist or engineer who applies research to solve a problem critical to the needs of the Air Force.

Kemker was recognized for his achievements in aviation electronics development for dozens of Automatic Target Recognition models, a novel data fusion scheme, and five processing algorithms. His work aims to increase the identification of real targets and to reduce false alarms from target decoys, helping pilots make accurate and reliable decisions.

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall presented the award in a ceremony at the Pentagon earlier this month. The Harold Brown Award recognizes significant achievement in research and development that led to or demonstrated promise of a substantial improvement in operational effectiveness of the Air Force. The award’s namesake was Secretary of the Air Force from 1965 to 1969 and was Secretary of Defense from 1977 to 1981.


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