Science and Technology News

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Chief Scientist of the Air Force visits Beale

by Airman 1st Class Ramon A. Adelan
9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

4/29/2015 - BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.  -- The Chief Scientist of the Air Force, Dr. Mica Endsley visited Beale Air Force Base, Calif., April 22 to 25, 2015, to learn about the 9th Reconnaissance Wing's intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance mission.

The Gold Canyon, Ariz. native was selected as the Chief Scientist June 2013. Her mission is to serve as the scientific adviser to the Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Air Force and provide assessments on a wide range of scientific and technical issues affecting the Air Force mission. She also interacts with other services, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and our allied partners on various topics concerning the Air Force science and technology enterprise.

"My visit here was fantastic, it was just wonderful," Endsley said. "I came here to experience Beale's ISR operations and was blown away by the amount of teamwork which occurs to accomplish the high-altitude ISR mission."

The AF chief scientist's visit included tours of the 548th ISR Group's Distributed Common Ground System and RQ-4 mission control elements at 12 RS, flight preparation at the 9th Physiological Support Squadron, and ended with a flight aboard a U-2 Dragon Lady.

Dr. Endsley served as a member on studies such as human-system integration, system of systems engineering, and mission management for remotely piloted aircraft. Endsley's research focuses on the design, development and evaluation of systems to support human situation awareness and decision-making.

"My specialty is in human system integration, which is how we design technologies to work effectively for those who have to operate those systems," Endsley said. "I support higher levels of situation awareness in complex systems and how we design those systems for rapid decision making in very dynamic and complex environments, such as those in the ISR world."

Endsley recalled her time as a young adult, taking advanced courses in science and math and visiting NASA. Her visit to Johnson Space Center in Houston influenced her dreams of going to space.

"I saw a shuttle capsule and I thought it would be great to go into space," Endsley said.

The final day of Endsley's visit, she experienced the U-2s capabilities and ascended 70,000 ft. above Earth.

"I came very close to space today," Endsley said. "Experiencing the challenges that our pilots face and the precautions that are taken to operate at those altitudes is impressive. The U-2 and the mission it supports every day is amazing."

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