NOMINATION FOR
DISTINGUISHED
EXECUTIVE
PRESIDENTIAL RANK
AWARD
MICK L. BLACKLEDGE
DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR INTERCEPTOR TECHNOLO...
Technology and pre-planned improvements. For example, he
developed the first miniaturized "smart" interceptors which are th...
At SDIO, Mr. Blackledge created an interceptor technology
infrastructure which spans the gaps between flight test validatio...
coordinated rocket flights, program cost was reduced from 240 to 60
million dollars. Most recently, as the National Defense...
by defining a near term theater missile defense system utilizing the
world wide fleet infrastructure. The implications for a...
national infrastructure consisting of contractor and government people
with common programs and goals. This was an especia...
defense.
(J) TECHNOLOGICAL ACHIEVEMENTS:
Mr Blackledge nurtured a high risk, miniature projectile advanced
integration eff...
and new tactical and strategic weapon systems. Mr. Blackledge
routinely presents his complex program to all levels of gove...
SUBSEQUENT ACTIVITIES (1992 to 1996)
Recommended for Deputy Director of BMDO by Speaker of the
House the Honorable Newt Gi...
United Kingdom, working basic science and helping to define the risk
reduction technology program for the UK Future Surface...
of 10

PRESIDENTIAL RANK AWARD

Published on: Mar 4, 2016
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Transcripts - PRESIDENTIAL RANK AWARD

  • 1. NOMINATION FOR DISTINGUISHED EXECUTIVE PRESIDENTIAL RANK AWARD MICK L. BLACKLEDGE DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR INTERCEPTOR TECHNOLOGY SES-4 ES-1301 STRATEGIC DEFENSE INITIATIVE ORGANIZATION 10 JAN 1988 TO 20 DEC 1991 SUMMARY Since SDIO began, Mr. Mick L. Blackledge has provided the vision and leadership for Kinetic Energy Interceptor programs. Due to his accomplishments over the past six years, the United States is prepared to respond to the 1991 National Missile Defense Act not only with an early deployment for interceptors, but also with an integrated plan for future improvements. In fact, his contributions will allow this deployment with savings of one and a half billion dollars over the next five years! Mr. Blackledge's sustained extraordinary initiatives have earned him nationwide recognition as a pioneer of Interceptor
  • 2. Technology and pre-planned improvements. For example, he developed the first miniaturized "smart" interceptors which are the primary prototypes for all emerging interceptor system components. Additionally, he established nationwide centers of excellence for individual interceptor components which, in turn, minimized duplication of effort and optimized expenditure of defense dollars among the Services. Throughout the years, Mr Blackledge developed kinetic energy interceptors which makes possible both Theater and National Defense missions. Simultaneously, he guided this nation's largest technology infrastructure, which has made SDIO ballistic missile defense capability a reality. Mr. Blackledge has achieved a lifetime of successes in a very short period of time. For this reason, he is recommended for this award at his first window of eligibility. His unparalleled contributions to the SDIO and his continued exceptional performance earn Mr Mick L. Blackledge this nomination for the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award. (A) LEADERSHIP, CONDUCT AND TRUST: Mr. Blackledge leads by example. During the past six years, he established realistic and consistent goals for the SDIO interceptor program. His insights are considered in high regard by the national technology community. His programs resulted in families of flight ready interceptor hardware and software which are now entering flight testing of vehicles utilizing unique SDIO funded technology. With indepth knowledge of management structure and technology readiness criteria, he formulated and instilled into SDIO, the concept of deploying interceptors based on current technology and adding out year expanded capability as product improvement efforts. Through this insight, an interceptor technology infrastructure is now in place to support any and all future interceptor design concepts. (B) CAREER ACHIEVEMENTS:
  • 3. At SDIO, Mr. Blackledge created an interceptor technology infrastructure which spans the gaps between flight test validation vehicle configurations and final configurations required for deployment. He built a national working organization which implements a cross linked technology infrastructure for the ground and space based SDIO interceptor concepts. As a result of his programs, which account for sixty-five percent of the OSD interceptor RDT&E budget, Mr. Blackledge has become the national and international expert and spokesman for the application of miniaturized "smart" interceptors for all known and new tactical and strategic weapon systems. (C) COST REDUCTION SUCCESSES: Mr. Mick Blackledge is a tireless advocate for a high performance, yet affordable, SDIO system. He reduced the overlap in Air Force, Army and Navy SDIO technology programs by establishing centers of excellence for the following technology areas: seekers, avionics, inertial units, fire control, divert control, and axial boosters for ground and space based interceptors. He developed the use of leader and follower organizations to minimize the cost of the overall technology program. A factor of three cost savings has been realized in the program. His slogan of "Build a Little, Test a Little and Deploy a Little" has led to high visibility successes at low cost in all of the SDIO hardware and software programs. His tenacity in implementing and leading the development of advanced interceptors has reduced the size of potential baseline space based interceptors from 1000 kg to less than 100 kg and ground based designs from 10000 kg to 1000 kg. The system ramifications and savings in logistics costs are profound. Because of his insight, the SDIO achieved large cost savings by acquiring a single flight test integrating contractor for the SDIO interceptor technology flight test program. Through a buy of twenty
  • 4. coordinated rocket flights, program cost was reduced from 240 to 60 million dollars. Most recently, as the National Defense Act of 1991 drove SDIO planning, Mr. Blackledge applied this philosophy and approach to the total interceptor program plan. This led to a 100 million savings in 1991 and a directly traceable savings of one and a half billion dollars through the next five years of the national defense interceptor development program. (D) HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT: Recognizing people as his most important resource, Mr. Blackledge always takes the time to personally guide each of his staff members. He keeps his staff highly motivated by partitioning development programs so that each individual is responsible for a national level program. He encourages each manager to present their own work to OSD, other government agencies, industry and the national media. He mentors each of his staff members and provides a challenging technical environment for professional career development. Mr. Blackledge extends his personal approach to members of the Service field staffs, by providing career enhancing opportunities to all who work for him at all levels of interaction. (E) INITIATIVE AND INNOVATION Mr. Blackledge came to the SDIO with the plan, and singularity of purpose, to build and fly interceptors based of the high performance technologies needed for intercepting ballistic missiles. This is accomplished with technology test beds of risk reduction interceptor projectiles which are now entering flight test. Mr. Blackledge was first to address the feasibility of singlet (Brilliant Pebbles) space based interceptors at SDIO and immediately involved the national laboratories who are leading the program to highest national potential. Mr Blackledge was instrumental in bringing the Navy into the SDIO,
  • 5. by defining a near term theater missile defense system utilizing the world wide fleet infrastructure. The implications for a similar application for a Navy global protection role are immense. He brought interceptor component technology to the state which allows integration of a fully capable discriminating interceptor. He has demonstrated a new low weight satellite capable of high frame rate surveillance and tracking through using the interceptor developed starring focal plane arrays. The discriminating interceptor and the utilization of the seeker trackers for surveillance will greatly simplify the SDIO architecture. (F) EFFICIENCY AND TIMELINESS: Mr. Blackledge uses the latest in desk top and mainframe computers to track the expenditures and make plans for the entire program. His planning is superb. He designs and scripts all of his presentation materials. He utilizes the computer to maximize his output in all aspects of his job. All administrative functions are completed on time and in final format. By utilizing telephone and telecon communications, and extensive travel he has interwoven the services such that the program is a national DOD corporate effort. (G) GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY COOPERATION: He maintains a stable, but rapidly evolving program, through extensive organization and personal communications with a multi- service staff located at diverse geographical locations around the country and overseas. He prepared advocacy briefing for presentation to all levels of the government and private technical communities. Mr Blackledge achieved major cost savings for the SDIO and the Nation in the development of the high performance miniature interceptor program. He allows no duplication of effort in the sprawling array of SDIO field executing organization. He has put into place a lean
  • 6. national infrastructure consisting of contractor and government people with common programs and goals. This was an especially difficult task considering the inherent service and contractor rivalries that exist. He developed interceptors of such high performance and low cost that the Nation can afford to deploy them. (H) AFFIRMATIVE ACTION SUCCESSES: Not only is Mr. Blackledge firmly committed to the principles of Equal Employment Opportunities and Affirmative Actions, he has put his beliefs into action. For example, he invited minority colleges to participate in SDIO technology development programs. He selected minority candidates as program managers to execute SDIO programs in field organizations. He selected a minority secretary. He established a summer position for a Professor of Engineering from a minority college and has since completed a research contract with that organization. Finally, Mr Blackledge continuously demonstrates his commitment by insuring that minorities and female professionals are given full consideration for managerial positions with increased responsibility. (I) CAREER AWARDS AND HONORS: As a result of the intensity of his SDIO activities Mr. Blackledge has been nominated for a Honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of Alabama and for a position of Fellow in the professional society of Aeronautical and Aerospace Institute of America (AIAA). He serves as amember/advisor on the Tactical and Strategic Missile Steering Committee. During 1991, the AIAA initiated a national conference of AIAA/SDIO Interceptor Technology which imitates the interceptor technology organization put into place by Mr. Blackledge at SDIO. He briefed Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on SDIO progress toward an affordable, near term deployment of a ballistic missile
  • 7. defense. (J) TECHNOLOGICAL ACHIEVEMENTS: Mr Blackledge nurtured a high risk, miniature projectile advanced integration effort into the showcase risk reduction program for the SDIO interceptor deployment. The first ground test projectile utilizing miniature technology leading to three and five kilogram devices were delivered in late 1990, and flight tests will occur in early 1992. His overall technology leadership led to development of: 1) Seekers (first units utilizing 128 by 128 staring array sensors); 2) Avionics (First application of VHSIC I and II microchips leading to 0.25 kg as opposed to conventional 50.0 kg electronics); 3) Inertial Units (reduction in weight and costs of two orders of magnitude over conventional devices); 4) Fire Control (a discriminating ladar now exists which has profound discrimination implications for SDIO system architectures); 5) Divert Control (first one millisecond valve response and engines powered by hypergolic and solid propellants); 6) Axial Boosters (new solid motors and liquid engines which have performance and weight improvements greater than thirty percent over traditional technology). These programs are now complete. After six years of Mr. Blackledge's stewardship, an affordable, effective 1996 SDIO interceptor deployment is possible. Not resting on his successes thus far, Mr Blackledge has initiated the next generation of component and integrated miniature technologies which will produce the first computing unlimited, discriminating (ie, brilliant, not just smart) interceptors for national defense missions. (K) ADVOCACY AND COMMUNICATION: Mr. Blackledge is the national and international expert and spokesman for the application of miniaturized smart interceptors for to all known
  • 8. and new tactical and strategic weapon systems. Mr. Blackledge routinely presents his complex program to all levels of government and industry. He prepares, refines and routinely delivers major topic briefings to all levels of OSD, NASA, Air Force, Navy and Army. He chairs the SDIO National Kinetic Energy Technology Committee. He has delivered ninety invited lectures on the interceptor technology infrastructure to prominent national and international engineering conferences during the past six years. His opinions, as a national expert, on the status of the SDIO interceptor technology progress, is quoted in national technology trade magazines and letters. Particularly noteworthy was the continued outstanding presentation of the interceptor technology program to the SDIO Advisory Panel, the Defense Science Board, the JASONS Program Office Group, and to Congressional Staff Members. In summary, Mr. Blackledge is an accomplished spokesman for the SDIO interceptor and technology program as well as the overall SDIO program. Mr. Blackledge is considered the prototype technical manager, a superb member of the SES and a true credit to the career civil service. RECOMMENDING OFFICIALS: MG Malcolm R. O'Neill Deputy Director First Level Supervisor Strategic Defense Initiative Organization AMB Henry F. Cooper Director Component Head Strategic Defense Initiative Organization
  • 9. SUBSEQUENT ACTIVITIES (1992 to 1996) Recommended for Deputy Director of BMDO by Speaker of the House the Honorable Newt Gingrich and High Frontier Founder Lt. Gen (retired) Daniel Graham Developed the concept of retrofitting Minuteman III Strategic Nuclear Missiles into Minuteman IV Strategic Defense Interceptors. Developed the rational for aircraft delivered Boost Phase Interceptors through retrofitting existing HARM and SRAM missiles with Hit To Kill front ends. Received the 1992 AIAA Missile Sciences Achievement Award for Technical Excellence in the field of missile design Prepared comprehensive report detailing the technologies available and need for tactical and strategic missile block upgrades. Received the 1994 AIAA Lifetime Achievement Award for Strategic Missile Defense. Prepared bottom line presentation "Defense, Deterrence or Deceit" which defines and makes understandable, the nature of the BMDO program from the view point of fundamental technological and political truths. Developed concept of next generation Interceptor Motion Seekers which allow the detection by standoff missiles of cruise missiles against high clutter backgrounds. Wrote a history of US and UK SDIO and BMDO activities since the UK and US became Ballistic Missile Defense partners Currently, serving as US to UK Exchange Scientist on location in the
  • 10. United Kingdom, working basic science and helping to define the risk reduction technology program for the UK Future Surface to Air Missile.

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