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The SMi Group are delighted to announce the first annual UAV Technology USA conference, taking place in Arlington, VA on the 7th and 8th February 2022.

The UAV Technology USA conference will take place in Arlington, VA as one of the leading conferences in the US dedicated to unmanned aerial systems and their evolving role in modern warfare. Attracting leading speakers and experts from all branches of the US military, as well as from international allies, this conference will be the place to meet, exchange information and gain access to the latest UAV technological solutions.

UAV Technology USA will strive to enhance the learning and development of UAV Program managers and experts through a series of briefings and panel discussions. We at SMi endeavour to deliver genuine insight and learning through the expertly selected participants who deliver briefings, ensuring the latest developments from all parts of the community (industry and military) are covered in great detail.
 

Whether you want to hear from leading UAV programme managers, technical engineers, chief scientists, system integrator, electronic warfare specialists, or commanders leading UAV operations, UAV Technology USA is the only place you will return to your offices with a set of strategies and solutions to advance your future unmanned aerial capabilities.

  •  Listen to keynote briefings from leading US military UAV programmes leaders.
  • Hear from key allied military leaders working in their national UAV field.
  • Learn about the new procurement and development projects of new UAV and C-UAV platforms.
  • Benefit from the extensive networking opportunities at the conference and meet your fellow peers at dedicated networking lunches and drinks receptions.
  • Discover the new trends and updates in the military UAV market and learn of how to integrate these new technologies into enhance your operational effectiveness.

Armada; AYR Aviation Ltd; Black Diamond Advanced Technology; British Army; Collins Aerospace; Combat Capabilities Development Command – Atlantic (CCDC-ATL)/Army Futures Command (AFC); Cranfield University; Danish Acqusition and Logistics Organization; Defence Equipment and Support; Defense Post; EDF; Embassy of France ; Embassy of Ukraine; Enterprise Control Systems Ltd; Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support; Fizoptika; FN Herstal; French MoD; Frontex Unit; General Atomics; General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc; High Commission of India; IHS Markit; Infantry Trials and Development Unit; Leite Innovative Solutions, Lda; Leonardo; MAB2 MoD; Marshall Aerospace Defence Group; Mynaric AG; NAGSF; NATO AGSMA; NATO AIRCOM; Naval Postgraduate School; Netherlands MoD; Polish Armed Forces; Portuguese Army; Portuguese Navy; Radionor Communications; RAF Air Command, ISTAR Cap Del; RAF Waddington; Robin Radar Systems BV; Royal Air Force; Royal Australian Air Force; Royal Canadian Air Force; Safran; Schiebel Technology, Inc.; SENER AEROESPACIAL; Teleplan Globe AS; Transport Canada; U.S. Army Combat Capability Development Command; UAE GHQ; UK MoD; US Air Force Office of Scientific Research ; US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command; USAF.

Conference programme

8:00 Registration & Coffee

9:00 Chair's Opening Remarks

Brigadier General (Ret.) Andrew Armacost

Brigadier General (Ret.) Andrew Armacost, President, University Of North Dakota
View Bio

9:15 Upgrading Current Platforms Through the Future Tactical UAS (FTUAS) Program

Major General Walter T. Rugen

Major General Walter T. Rugen, Director, Future Vertical Lift Cross Functional Team, U.S. Army Futures Command
View Bio

  • Leading the Future Tactical UAS (FTUAS) program to replace the RQ-7 Shadow
  • Working with PEO Aviation and Army Aviation Centre of Excellence for a coordinated upgrade process
  • Results and observations from the March 2021 FTUAS Rodeo
  • The need for robust, weather resistant drones and moving away from runway-bound UAS platforms
  • 9:45 Implementation of UAS as an Army Aviation Asset

    Colonel Joshua P. Higgins

    Colonel Joshua P. Higgins, Director, Aviation Capability Development and Integration Directorate, U.S. Army Futures Command
    View Bio

  • The role of the Aviation Capability Development and Integration department in the Army Aviation CoE
  • Emphasising airspace integration and perator training as an integral part of the US Army’s future UAS strategy
  • Standardization of Army Aviation UAS operations worldwide assist and enable warfighting Aviation commanders
  • Training, educating, and developing agile and adaptive Army Aviation leaders
  • 10:15 Reimagining the MQ-9 Reaper

    10:45 Morning Coffee

    11:15 Integrating Autonomy Into UAS to Enhance Their Effectiveness and Support the Modern Warfighter

    Colonel Brian J. Neff

    Colonel Brian J. Neff, Permanent Professor and Head of Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, U.S. Air Force Academy
    View Bio

  • Adding autonomy to UAS to allow one operator to control multiple UAVs that can autonomously search, find, identify, and track various targets
  • Integrating advanced sensors into UAS platforms to enhance ISR capabilities
  • Developing future core competencies at the Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Research
  • Defense against threats posed by autonomous UAS
  • 11:45 Session Reserved for Sponsor

    12:15 Developing US Army Unmanned Areial Reconnaissance and Attack Capabilities

    Colonel Ryan K. Welch

    Colonel Ryan K. Welch, Director, Army Capability Manager for Recon/Attack (ACM-RA), U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence
    View Bio

  • How are RPA and UAS requirements derived?
  • Filling current capability gaps with the enduring RPA fleets
  • The path ahead: looking at future possibilities and platforms for the US army
  • 12:45 Networking Lunch

    13:45 The Future of the Royal Air Force’s RPAS Capabilities – The Protector

    Wing Commander Neil Hallett

    Wing Commander Neil Hallett, PM Remote Piloted Air Systems Protector and Reaper, Royal Air Force
    View Bio

  • An overview of the Protector RPAS capabilities and how these capabilities will strengthen the operational requirements of the RAF
  • The next steps of the integration and implementation of the Protector system into the RAF
  • Objectives and early results from the 2021 Protector demonstrations
     
  • 14:15 Session Reserved for Sponsor - Mynaric AG

    14:45 Complementing RCAF Capabilities the Persistence of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems

    Lieutenant Colonel Julien Letarte

    Lieutenant Colonel Julien Letarte, RPAS Project Director, DAR 8, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)
    View Bio

  • Update on the RCAF procurement of an armed RPA fleet
  • Planning and preparation for the integration of this RPA fleet into operations by 2023
  • The particularities of employing RPAS for intelligence and surveillance of Canadian borders
  • 15:15 Session Reserved for Sponsor

    15:45 MQ-9B SkyGuardian: Optimising Australian Military Operations Through Enhanced An Enhanced UAV Platform

    Wing Commander Jonathan McMullan

    Wing Commander Jonathan McMullan, Detachment Commander, Project Air 7003 Resident Project Team, Royal Australian Air Force
    View Bio

  • Current UAV systems used by the RAAF and their future capabilities – The MQ-4C Triton and the MQ-9B SkyGuardian
  • Leveraging coalition partners and defence industry to ensure the MQ-9B is fit for purpose
  • The next steps for integrating the MQ-9B SkyGuardian into the RAAF
  • 16:15 Afternoon Tea

    16:45 Deploying the MQ-4C Triton to Provide Persistent ISR to Fleet and Combatant Commanders

    Commander Brian Conlan

    Commander Brian Conlan, Commanding Officer, Unmanned Patrol Squadron 19 (VUP 19), US Navy
    View Bio

  • The role of Unmanned Patrol Squadron (VUP) 19, the Navy's first dedicated UAS squadron
  • Utilising the ‘Big Red’ Squadron to distribute valuable and time-critical intelligence
  • Update on the plans for the creation of a second Triton squadron, VUP-11

     

  • 17:15 UAVs as a Key Component of the Coast Guard's Mission Capabilities

    Commander Chad Thompson

    Commander Chad Thompson, UAS Division Chief, U.S. Coast Guard Office of Aviation Forces
    View Bio

  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Division (CG-7114): overview of the UAS platforms deployed by the Coast Guard and their capabilities
  • Using UAVs to provide Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) through persistent, wide area surveillance, detection, classification, and identification
  • Future plans and priorities: Developing a USCG UxS Strategy

     

  • 17:45 DARPA: Research and Development into Next-Generation UAV Capabilities

    Lieutenant Colonel Paul J. Calhoun

    Lieutenant Colonel Paul J. Calhoun, Program Manager, DARPA
    View Bio

  • Update on DARPAs research activities in the UAV arena
  • Gremlins program: improving operational flexibility at much lower cost through the launching groups of retrievable small UAS
  • LongShot program: utilising air-launched aerial combat drones to extend the reach of the launching aircraft while reducing its vulnerability to the enemy
  • 18:15 Chair’s Closing Remarks and Close of Day One

    Brigadier General (Ret.) Andrew Armacost

    Brigadier General (Ret.) Andrew Armacost, President, University Of North Dakota
    View Bio

    8:15 Registration & Coffee

    9:00 Chair's Opening Remarks

    Brigadier General (Ret.) Andrew Armacost

    Brigadier General (Ret.) Andrew Armacost, President, University Of North Dakota
    View Bio

    9:15 Agility Prime: Developing and Procuring Next-Generation Unmanned Aerial Systems

    Colonel Nathan P. Diller

    Colonel Nathan P. Diller, Director, AFWERX, U.S. Air Force
    View Bio

  • AFWERX: expanding technology, talent, and transition partnerships for rapid and affordable commercial and military capability
  • Agility Prime: leveraging the potential commercial market to develop advanced air mobility vehicles for USAF operations
  • AFWERX and UAS: a look at the path ahead

     

  • 9:45 Using Future Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems for Special Reconnaissance Missions

  • Leveraging UAS to provide total situation awareness for the SOF Warfighter
  • PEO SR: developing, testing, acquiring and fielding state of the art technical collection and exploitation capabilities for advanced ISR systems
  • Future plans and priorities to further integrate UAS into USSOCOM operations
  • Mr David M. Breede

    Mr David M. Breede, Program Executive Officer, Special Reconnaissance, US Special Operations Command
    View Bio

    10:15 Session Reserved for Sponsor

    10:45 Morning Coffee

    11:15 Providing Aerial Surveillance and Reconnaissance for the US Marine Corps

  • The role of AWS-UAS in sustaining and enhancing MAGTF warfighting capabilities
  • AWS-UAS core responsibilities: early warning, ISR support, and strike capabilities
  • Overview of the RQ-21 Blackjack and other USMC UAS platforms and their capabilities
  • Future plans and priorities for the use of UAVs in USMC operations
  • Colonel Brad “Verde” Green

    Colonel Brad “Verde” Green, Unmanned Aircraft Systems Branch Chief, Air Warfare Systems, U.S. Marine Corps

    11:45 Session Reserved for Sponsor

    12:15 Enabling UAVs to Support DHS Operations and Protect Homeland Security

  • Enhancing Air Domain Awareness (ADA) through the use of unmanned systems
  • Assessing technologies and aircraft to enhance DHS’s ability to monitor airspace and secure borders
  • The advantages of deploying unmanned vehicles in CBP operations compared to manned platforms
  • Future UAS requirements and opportunities for the DHS
  • Mr Tim Bennett

    Mr Tim Bennett, Unmanned Vehicle Engineer, Air Domain Awareness & Unmanned Systems, Science and Technology Directorate, Department of Homeland Security
    View Bio

    12:45 Networking Lunch

    13:45 Innovating Training for Next-Generation MQ-9 Reaper Pilots

  • Utilising advanced simulation and VR technology to train future RPA operators
  • The advantages of simulation when training new RPA pilots and sensor operators
  • Future plans and priorities for the 49th Operations Group in training UAV pilots and personnel
     
  • Colonel Steven M. Beattie II

    Colonel Steven M. Beattie II, Commander, 49th Operations Group, US Air Force
    View Bio

    14:15 556th Test and Evaluation Squadron: Supporting UAS Operations Worldwide

    Lieutenant Colonel Michael S. Chmielewski

    Lieutenant Colonel Michael S. Chmielewski, Commander, 556th Test & Evaluation Squadron, US Air Force
    View Bio

  • Supporting the USAF UAS fleet through force development evaluations, development of training, tactics and procedures, systems expertise and meeting warfighters' urgent need requests
  • Developing MQ-9 Reaper capabilities through the Automatic Takeoff and Landing Capability (ATLC)
  • Developing lethality capabilities through MQ-9 Operational Flight Program 2409
  • 14:45 Session Reserved for Sponsor

    15:15 Afternoon Tea

    15:45 Training and Developing the Next-Generation of RPAS Pilots at Creech AFB

    Wing Commander Frederick A. Wigglesworth

    Wing Commander Frederick A. Wigglesworth, Officer Commanding 39 Squadron, Royal Air Force
    View Bio

  • Preparing and training RAF personnel to pilot the future RPAS platforms
  • Utilising the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) Flight Test and Training Centre in North Dakota
  • Looking ahead to bringing the Protector RG Mk.1 into RAF service
  • 16:15 Supporting Ground Operations for the German Military – The HERON 1 MALE UAV

    Lieutenant Colonel Ralf Kleindienst

    Lieutenant Colonel Ralf Kleindienst, Program Director UAS, Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment,Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw)
    View Bio

  • Capability overview of the HERON 1 MALE UAV platform
  • Maintaining good relations and cooperation with OEMs to provide in-service support for RPAS
  • Overcoming challenges surrounding RPAS development, including certification acquisition
  • The next step in further combat UAV integration into the German Military – the move toward armed drones?
  • 16:45 STAT COE: Test & Evaluation of UAV and RPAS Platforms in a Digital Engineering Enabled Environment

  • How much testing is enough and for what reasons?
  • What are Scientific Test and Analysis Techniques and why are they required by U.S. DoD policy?
  • What does test planning look like in a digital engineering environment?
     
  • Dr Darryl K. Ahner

    Dr Darryl K. Ahner, Director, OSD Scientific Test and Analysis Techniques Center of Excellence, US Air Force Institute of Technology
    View Bio

    17:15 C-UAS: Providing Innovative Solutions to Key Technical Challenges and Superb Training for Future Leaders in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Industry

    Dr. Randal W. Beard

    Dr. Randal W. Beard, Director, Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems
    View Bio

  • The Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS): history, mission, and structure
  • Overview of the current research projects being undertaken in the C-UAS
  • The benefits of C-UAS membership
  • 17:45 Chair’s Closing Remarks and Close of Day Two

    Brigadier General (Ret.) Andrew Armacost

    Brigadier General (Ret.) Andrew Armacost, President, University Of North Dakota
    View Bio

    +

    FEATURED SPEAKERS

    Brigadier General (Ret.) Andrew Armacost

    Brigadier General (Ret.) Andrew Armacost

    President, University Of North Dakota
    Colonel Brian J. Neff

    Colonel Brian J. Neff

    Permanent Professor and Head of Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, U.S. Air Force Academy
    Colonel Joshua P. Higgins

    Colonel Joshua P. Higgins

    Director, Aviation Capability Development and Integration Directorate, U.S. Army Futures Command
    Colonel Nathan P. Diller

    Colonel Nathan P. Diller

    Director, AFWERX, U.S. Air Force
    Colonel Ryan K. Welch

    Colonel Ryan K. Welch

    Director, Army Capability Manager for Recon/Attack (ACM-RA), U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence
    Colonel Steven M. Beattie II

    Colonel Steven M. Beattie II

    Commander, 49th Operations Group, US Air Force
    Commander Brian Conlan

    Commander Brian Conlan

    Commanding Officer, Unmanned Patrol Squadron 19 (VUP 19), US Navy
    Lieutenant Colonel Julien Letarte

    Lieutenant Colonel Julien Letarte

    RPAS Project Director, DAR 8, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)
    Lieutenant Colonel Paul J. Calhoun

    Lieutenant Colonel Paul J. Calhoun

    Program Manager, DARPA
    Lieutenant Colonel Ralf Kleindienst

    Lieutenant Colonel Ralf Kleindienst

    Program Director UAS, Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment,Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw)
    Major General Walter T. Rugen

    Major General Walter T. Rugen

    Director, Future Vertical Lift Cross Functional Team, U.S. Army Futures Command

    Brigadier General (Ret.) Andrew Armacost

    President, University Of North Dakota
    Brigadier General (Ret.) Andrew Armacost

    Andrew Armacost is the President of the University of North Dakota.
    Armacost served more than 30 years on active duty and 20 years at the U.S. Air Force Academy, in the rank of Brigadier General as the chief academic officer. His additional service to the Air Force included assignments as the Chief Analyst at Air Force Space Command and as a program manager for systems supporting the intelligence community and the White House.
    Armacost has earned recognition and numerous awards at the institutional, national, and international levels.
    He and his wife, Kathy, are the parents of Ava and Audrey.
     

    Colonel Brad “Verde” Green

    Unmanned Aircraft Systems Branch Chief, Air Warfare Systems, U.S. Marine Corps
    Colonel Brad “Verde” Green

    Colonel Brian J. Neff

    Permanent Professor and Head of Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, U.S. Air Force Academy
    Colonel Brian J. Neff

    Colonel Brian Neff is the Permanent Professor and Head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He instructs students in a variety of classroom and laboratory courses, and leads the department’s 25 faculty, staff, and researchers in the instruction of approximately 1,400 students per year. Additionally, Colonel Neff directs an active research program including the Academy Center for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Research and maintains state of the art lab and test facilities.
    Colonel Neff entered the Air Force in 1999 through Air Force ROTC at the University of Pittsburgh. He has deployed in support of Iraqi Freedom, where he was the Detachment Commander for the Joint Air Battle Staff. Colonel Neff was previously a permanent party faculty member at the USAF Test Pilot School and continues to serve as adjunct faculty, where he leads the test community in modernizing Electro-Optic flight test techniques. Prior to his current position, Colonel Neff was a squadron commander for the 746th Test Squadron, where he led the developmental test efforts for DoD global positioning system upgrades.
    Colonel Neff is an accomplished flight test engineer with 573 military flight hours in 35 unique aircraft types. Additionally, he has 292 combat flight hours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    Colonel Joshua P. Higgins

    Director, Aviation Capability Development and Integration Directorate, U.S. Army Futures Command
    Colonel Joshua P. Higgins

    COL Joshua P. Higgins is a native of Johnstown, Pennsylvania and was commissioned a second lieutenant in Aviation Branch in June 1995.


    COL Higgins’ previous assignments include duty as a Platoon Leader for Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment; Executive Officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade; Rear Detachment Commander for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade; Assistant Operations Officer for 17th Aviation Brigade, Republic of Korea; Assistant Operations Officer for 10th Combat Aviation Brigade; Commander of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment during OEF 4; Commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade; Aviation Branch Captains Assignment Officer, US Army Human Resources Command; Executive Officer and Operations Officer for 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment during OIF 09-11; Executive Officer for 25th Combat Aviation Brigade during OEF 12-13; Commander of 2-25th Aviation Regiment; Chief, Commanders Initiative Group, United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence. Chief, Operations and Integration Division, Army Aviation, HQDA G-3/5/7 (DAMO-AV), and 29th Commandant of the United States Military Academy Preparatory School at West Point, NY. Currently, COL Higgins is the Director of Aviation Capability Development and Integration Directorate for the Army Futures Command, Futures and Concepts Center at Fort Rucker, Alabama.


    COL Higgins holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management from the United States Military Academy at West Point, a Master of Science in Continuing and Adult Education from Kansas State University, and a Master of Science in National Security Strategy from the National War College. He is a graduate of the Aviation Officer Basic Course, the Initial Entry Rotary Wing Course, the Aviation Officer Advanced Course, the United States Army Command and General Staff College, and the National War College.


    His military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf cluster, the Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terror Expeditionary and Service Medals, Korea Defense Service Medal, and NATO Medal. He has been awarded the Master Army Aviator Badge and Combat Action Badge.


    COL Higgins is married to the former Allison Cummins. Their daughter, Olivia, attends graduate school at American University, and their son, Jack, attends Berklee College of Music.

    Colonel Nathan P. Diller

    Director, AFWERX, U.S. Air Force
    Colonel Nathan P. Diller

    Col Diller received his commission from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2000. After simultaneous master’s degrees at Harvard and MIT, he attended Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training and flew F-16s for two Combat Air Force assignments, becoming an instructor pilot. He was selected for the French Test Pilot school and then completed his first test tour at Edwards AFB, supporting B-1, B-2, F-16, F-22 and F-35 flight test and instructing at the Test Pilot School. He served as an Executive Officer to the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and as a Defense Advanced Research Project Agency Service Chiefs Fellow. Upon completing a program management tour at the Space and Missile Center, he took command of the 586th Flight Test Squadron, supervising classified flight test for joint, interagency and international clients.


    Col Diller attended the Eisenhower School, completing the Senior Acquistion Course and was assigned as the Air and Space Branch Chief in the Joint Staff J8. He then became that Assistant Director of Aeronautics at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and served at the Office of the Secretary of Defense Strategic Capabilties Office and the Department of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office.


    Col Diller is a member of the Acquisition Corps and is certified as a Level III Program Manager and Test professional. He is a senior pilot with over 2,700 hours in more than 50 aircraft.

    Colonel Ryan K. Welch

    Director, Army Capability Manager for Recon/Attack (ACM-RA), U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence
    Colonel Ryan K. Welch

    Ryan Welch is originally from Lebanon, NH. He was a military child, raised at multiple duty stations until his father retired in 1989. In 1997, Ryan was commissioned from Norwich
    University. He graduated flight school in 1998 and his first assignment was as Platoon Leader in A Troop, 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry, Camp Humphreys, Korea. In 2000, Ryan was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 101st Aviation at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. While at 3-101, Ryan served as the Support Platoon leader. Shortly after September 11th, 2001, he was deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), where he planned aviation operations in support of Combined Joint Task Force – Mountain from Kandahar and Bagram, Afghanistan. Post deployment, Ryan attended the Armor Officer’s Captain Career Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Upon graduating, he was reassigned to Task Force 1-227 aviation at Fort Hood, Texas as an assistant operations officer. Ryan again deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) II (2004-05),Taji, Iraq where he operated in support of Multinational Division-Baghdad. In May 2005, Ryan assumed command of B Company, 1-227th Attack Recon Battalion (ARB). In 2006, he deployed to OIF 06-08. After Ryan changed command in 2008, he was assigned as the S2 for the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade. Upon return, Ryan attended the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. After graduating, Ryan was assigned as the Operations Chief for 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, where he deployed to OIF 09-10, Taji, Iraq. After deployment he was assigned as Battalion S3 for 4-227 ARB and later as XO for TF 3-227
    th Assault Helicopter Battalion at Fort Hood. In 2011, Ryan deployed to OEF 11-12, Shindand, Afghanistan. In 2011, he was assigned as the S3 for 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan. In 2012, Ryan was reassigned to Fort Leavenworth again where he served as an Education Analyst for the Command and General Staff College. Ryan took command of Task Force 1-3 ARB at Katterbach, Germany in 2015, which was later designated as the U.S. Army’s LTG Ellis D. Parker “Top Combat Aviation Battalion” and “Top Overall Aviation Battalion.” From 2017-2018, he served as the Senior Aviation Trainer, National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. After, graduation from the U.S. Army War College in 2019, Ryan served as the Strategic PlansDirector (G5) at the U.S. Army Aviation Center in Fort Rucker, Alabama. In June of 2020, he assumed his current duties as the Army Capability Manager for Reconnaissance and Attack.

    In all, Ryan has served for 55 months in combat. Over 24 years of aviation service, he has logged over 2450 hours in the OH-58 A/C Kiowa, AH-64 A and D model Apaches (1200 in combat). Awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross, The Bronze Star (4 awards), The Air Medal (6 awards), The Meritorious Service Medal (5 awards), The ARCOM for “Valor”, The Army Commendation Medal (5 awards), the Iraqi Campaign Medal (5 stars), The Afghan Campaign Medal (3 stars), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, Korean Defense Service Medal, the NATO Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, the Naval Unit Citation and the Master Army Aviator, Combat Action, Air Assault and Parachutist Badges.


    LTC Welch lives with his wife Meredith, and sons Austin (9) and Jack (7).

    Colonel Steven M. Beattie II

    Commander, 49th Operations Group, US Air Force
    Colonel Steven M. Beattie II

    Colonel Steven M. Beattie II is the Commander, 49th Operations Group, Holloman AFB, NM. The group is comprised of the 6th Attack Squadron, 9th Attack Squadron, 16th Training Squadron, and 29th Attack Squadron at Holloman AFB, with the 491st Attack Squadron at Hancock Field ANGB in Syracuse, NY and the 492d Attack Squadron at March ARB in Riverside, CA. The 49th Operations Group is the lead MQ-9 Reaper Formal Training Unit building the backbone of combat airpower for our nation.


    Colonel Beattie was commissioned in 1998 via the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Missouri-Rolla. He earned his pilot wings in 2000 at Fort Rucker, Alabama and is now a command pilot with more than 3,800 hours flying formal training, special operations persistent attack and reconnaissance, and special airlift missions in the MQ-9 Reaper, MQ-1 Predator, and the UH-1 Huey respectively. He has participated in Operations Nobel Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and Nomad Shadow.


    Prior to this assignment, Colonel Beattie served as the Chief, Special Programs Division, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Operations, Warfighter Support, Office of the
    Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security where he oversaw advanced Remotely Piloted Aircraft development for Great Power Competition.

    Commander Brian Conlan

    Commanding Officer, Unmanned Patrol Squadron 19 (VUP 19), US Navy
    Commander Brian Conlan

    CDR Brian X. Conlan is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and U.S. Air Force Air Command and Staff College, Joint Professional Military Education Program. He received his commission through Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, FL and was designated a Naval Aviator in 2006.

    Operationally, CDR Conlan has deployed to CENTCOM, INDOPACOM, EUCOM, AFRICOM and SOUTHCOM AORs. He served as VP-10’s Pilot Training Officer and Assistant Operations Officer and as VP-45’s Tactics, Safety-NATOPS, Training and Maintenance Department Head while qualifying as Functional Check Flight Pilot, Instructor Pilot, Mission Commander, and Special Mission Aircraft Commander. Afloat, he served as Aide-de-Camp to Carrier Strike Group TEN aboard both the USS Truman and USS Eisenhower.

    His shore tours include Commander, Task Force 67, Turkey and Levant Desk Officer, and Assistant Officer-in-Charge of Tactical Operations Center, NAS Sigonella; military advisor, US State Department; and as a member of the Vice Chairman’s, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Strategic Innovation Group.

    CDR Conlan has more than 2,000 flight hours in multiple Air Force, Naval and civilian manned and unmanned aircraft and is entitled to wear the Air Medal (1st Strike/Flight Award) and other personal, unit and service awards.

    Following service as Executive Officer from April 2020 until May of 2021, he now serves as the Commanding Officer of the US Navy’s first Unmanned Aviation Squadron, VUP-19, employing both the BAMS-D[Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstrator] and MQ-4C Triton in multiple theatres.

    Commander Chad Thompson

    UAS Division Chief, U.S. Coast Guard Office of Aviation Forces
    Commander Chad Thompson

    CDR Chad Thompson is the Coast Guard Office of Aviation Forces UAS Division Chief. In this role, he manages the Coast Guard’s long, medium and short-range UAS programs. His office focuses on all aspects of maritime unmanned air vehicles, managing current programs and steering future capability to meet Coast Guard mission needs throughout the maritime domain.

    Previously, CDR Thompson served as an International Port Security Liaison Officer at Coast Guard Activities Europe in Schinnen, Netherlands where he conducted port security inspections and training throughout Africa, The Middle East and Europe. He has also served as an MH-65D helicopter instructor pilot with experience in search and rescue and drug interdiction.

    CDR Thompson is a 2003 graduate of The U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a 2010 graduate of the National Graduate School of Quality Systems Management.
     

    Dr Darryl K. Ahner

    Director, OSD Scientific Test and Analysis Techniques Center of Excellence, US Air Force Institute of Technology
    Dr Darryl K. Ahner

    Dr. Darryl K. Ahner, P.E. is the Director, Scientific Test and Analysis Techniques Center of Excellence (STAT COE) and was instrumental in shaping its graduatelevel test engineering operational concept leading to its establishment by the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2012. He is also a Professor of Operations Research, Program and Curriculum Chair of the Data Analytics and Data Science programs, and Director of the Center for Operational Analysis at the Air Force Institute of Technology. As Director of the STAT COE, he is responsible for executing the Center's mission to provide independent advice and assistance to designated major acquisition programs in the application of scientific test and
    analysis techniques for test planning and the resulting data analytics. The Center also conducts externally funded applied STAT research, provides STAT education, and develops best practices and case studies in the employment of STAT.


    Dr. Ahner is a licensed Professional Engineer. He has written over 50 technical articles, made over 70 technical presentations, and has led several technical working groups. He has been a faculty member at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) since 2010, where his research emphasizes optimization of test & evaluation, autonomous systems, big data analytics, reliability, stochastic models, simulation, and military operations research applications. Prior to AFIT, he taught for five years at the United States Military Academy at West Point and served for three years as the research director for an Army analysis center at the Naval Postgraduate School.


    In addition to being a member of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), and International Test and Evaluation Association (ITEA), Dr. Ahner has been an active member of the Military Operations Research Society (MORS), most recently serving as Vice President for Professional Development and Vice President (Secretary of the Society) on the Executive Committee.


    A 1990 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Dr. Ahner retired from the US Army in 2012. During this time he was awarded the Legion of Merit and a Special Act Award for leading modeling, simulation, and analytic research efforts. His academic studies include Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he earned a M.S. in applied mathematics and a M.S. in operations research and statistics, and Boston University where he earned his doctoral degree in systems engineering while a Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Fellow.
     

    Dr. Ahner’s awards include the 2020 Colonel Charles A. Stone Award in recognition of an individual who has made outstanding contributions to furthering the AFIT mission, member of the 2019 U.S. Air Force Analysis Team of the Year Honorable Mention, 2018 Journal of Defense Analytics and Logistics Best Paper for “Finding the Fuel of the Arab Spring Fire: A Historical Data Analysis,“ the 2016 Richard H. Barchi Prize for the best paper given at the Military Operations Research Symposium for “Suitability Analysis of Continuous-Use Reliability Growth Projection Models”, the 2017 Affiliate Society Council of Dayton Outstanding Engineers & Scientists Award, the 2014 E. Grosvenor Plowman Award for Best Paper at
    Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Global Conference for "Exploring the Use of the Upper-Semi Variance as a Robust Estimator For Calculating Safety Stocks," the 2012 Colonel Charles A. Stone Award, a 2008 Special Act Award including a $5000 Cash Award presented by a 4-star general in recognition of meritorious scientific achievement, and the 2007 Wilbur B. Payne Award in recognition of the best Army analytical technical study (2006 Army UAV Study)

    Dr. Randal W. Beard

    Director, Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems
    Dr. Randal W. Beard

    Randal W. Beard received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, in 1991, the M.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1993, the M.S. degree in mathematics in 1994, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering in 1995, all from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y. Since 1996, he has been with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, where he is currently a professor. In 1997 and 1998, he was a Summer Faculty Fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA. In 2006-2007 he was a National Research Council Fellow at the Air Force Research Labs at Eglin Air Force Base, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, where he worked on vision-based guidance and control algorithms for micro air vehicles.

    His primary research focus is autonomous systems, unmanned air vehicles, and multiple vehicle coordination and control. He is a fellow of the IEEE and of the AIAA. He is a former associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, the Journal of Intelligent and Robotics Systems, and the IEEE Control Systems Magazine. In 1998 and 2004 he was voted the outstanding teacher in the BYU Electrical and Computer Engineering Department by graduating seniors, and in 2002 he received the Outstanding Professor award from the BYU Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. In 2004 he was awarded the BYU Young Scholar Award and in 2006 he was awarded the BYU Technology Transfer Award, and in 2009 he was awarded the Karl G. Maeser Research and Creative Arts Award for excellence in research, and in 2018 he was awarded the Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award, BYU’s top faculty award. He currently holds the Steven V. White University Professorship. His students have won numerous competitions and awards for their work on micro air vehicles.

    Jonathan McMullan

    Detachment Commander, Project Air 7003 Resident Project Team, Royal Australian Air Force
    Jonathan McMullan

    Lieutenant Colonel Julien Letarte

    RPAS Project Director, DAR 8, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)
    Lieutenant Colonel Julien Letarte

    LCol Julien Letarte was born in Ottawa, Ontario and grew up in the National Capital Region. He enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1998 at age 16 and was awarded a Bachelor’s degree in Space Sciences from the Royal Military College (RMC) in Kingston.

    In 2005, after basic and advanced pilot training in Moose Jaw and Portage-la-Prairie in the Canadian prairies, LCol Letarte transferred to the town of Comox, on the Pacific Coast where he was posted to 407 (MP) Sqn. He completed his Maritime Operational Aircrew Training (MOAT) in 2007 then started flying the mighty CP140 Aurora operationally. During his first tour, LCol Letarte participated in many exercises and deployed to Afghanistan as a CU170 UAV Mission Commander. He completed over 150 operational missions within the Heron detachment.

    His return to Canada was quickly followed by a move to town of Greenwood, on Canada’s Atlantic coast, where he flew with 405 (LRP) Sqn. It’s with this squadron that he achieved many “firsts” including commanding the first CP140M flight as part of Operation Impact.

    In 2015 he started instructing on the MOAT with 404 (LRP&T) Sqn. Within a year, he received his new posting message, returning him to 407 (LRP) Sqn. Leaving behind the many deployments and the worldwide travels, he graduated from the Joint Command and Staff Programme with a masters in Defence Studies and started working for the RCAF RPAS project as part of the Directorate of Air Requirements in Ottawa in 2020.

    Lieutenant Colonel Michael S. Chmielewski

    Commander, 556th Test & Evaluation Squadron, US Air Force
    Lieutenant Colonel Michael S. Chmielewski

    Lt Col Michael S. Chmielewski is the Commander of the 556 Test and Evaluation Squadron (TES), Creech Air Force Base (AFB), Nev. The squadron conducts operational test on the MQ-9 Reaper weapons system. It supports higher headquarters test priorities, integratesemerging technology for Remotely Piloted Aircraft, and delivers and trains warfighters to the new capabilities and tactics.
     

    Lt Col Chmielewski was commissioned from the United States Air Force Academy in 2004. He has 16 years of active duty service, is a graduate of the USAF Weapons Instructor Course, and has been assigned to bases in Japan, Texas, Ohio, Nevada, New Mexico, and Florida. Lt Col Chmielewski has been the MQ-9 Formal Training Unit chief instructor and the wing weapons officer at Holloman AFB, N.M. He was the operations MQ-9 subject matter expert for Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command (HQ AFSOC) and the HQ AFSOC Weapons and Tactics Branch Chief.


    While deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Lt Col Chmielewski was the deputy director of the Special Operations Liaison Element integrating the Special Operations Command Central SpecialForces with the 609 Air and Space Operations Center. He is a Command Pilot with more than 2,700 hours. Prior to his current position, Lt Col Chmielewski was the Director of Operations, 556 Test and Evaluation Squadron, Creech AFB, Nev.

    Lieutenant Colonel Paul J. Calhoun

    Program Manager, DARPA
    Lieutenant Colonel Paul J. Calhoun

    Lt Col Paul J. Calhoun is a program manager at the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) focusing on distributed air operations and resilient energy networks. Prior to his position at DARPA, he researched disruptive technology applications for special operations at the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy. He was the Commander of the 418th Flight Test Squadron leading a test force of over 340 military, civilian, and contractors responsible for developmental test and evaluation of global mobility aircraft and parachute systems. This includes upgrades to the C5, C-17, KC-10, and KC-135, developmental test of the Air Force’s newest aircraft the KC-46, and executing advanced airdrop test missions for Air Mobility Command, the Missile Defense Agency and NASA.

    Lieutenant Colonel Calhoun was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. He received his commission from the United States Air Force Academy in 2002 where he was the top Academic graduate. He continued his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) earning a Master’s Degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics. He attended pilot training at Columbus AFB, MS where he was the #1 pilot graduate for 2006 as the Annual Orville Wright Award nominee. He began his operational career as a C-17 pilot at Charleston AFB, SC. He deployed multiple times to the Middle East in support of operations ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM and NEW DAWN where he had over 1,100 combat hours and 48 combat airdrops. As a lead Special Operations Evaluator pilot he flew worldwide missions in direct support of unconventional tactics. After attending USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB in 2012, he was the lead test pilot for the first air launched intermediate range ballistic missile launched to bolster Missile Defense Agency capabilities and provided developmental support for NASA’s new manned space capsule program. He led pioneering work in biometric sensors applications for measuring workload in flight test. Lt Col Calhoun is a command pilot with over 3,400 hours in the C-17, KC-46, T-38, F-16, F/A-18, and 30 other aircraft.

    Lieutenant Colonel Ralf Kleindienst

    Program Director UAS, Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment,Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw)
    Lieutenant Colonel Ralf Kleindienst

    Military Career
    July 1983 Joining German Air Force (GAF)
    Basic Military Training 6./GAF Training Regiment 3 in Roth
    October 1983 50. Officers Course, GAF Military Training School Fürstenfeldbruck
    October 1984 Studies Air and Space Technology, University German Armed Forces Munich
    January 1988 Technical Officer, Maintenance Unit 11, GAF Support Regiment 1, Erding
    April 1990 Lecturer, GAF Military Training School Fürstenfeldbruck
    July 1992 Chief Maintenance Squadron, Fighter Bomber Wing 43 Oldenburg, Alpha Jet
    July 1994 Armament Officer, GAF Armament Directorate, Logistic Planning Group
    EUROFIGHTER, Cologne
    April 1996 Chief Maintenance Squadron Fighter Wing 73 Laage, MiG29, F4,
    July 1998 Studies Political Science, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA
    October 1999 Military Intelligence Office of the German Armed Forces, Branch Chief
    Military Aircraft World Wide, Cologne later Gelsdorf
    April 2002 Studies Military Science, Defence University Warsaw
    July 2005 Senior Logistic Officer GAF Transformation Command, Cologne
    October 2008 Batallion Commander, GAF Technical Training Centre, Faßberg
    May 2010 Senior Desk Officer, MoD, Aircraft Technical Training
    October 2012 Senior Desk Officer, GAF Command, Operational Logistic Doctrine, Cologne
    December 2015 Deputy Programme Manager PEGASUS1
    and Product Manager UAS2, Koblenz

    Decoration:
    Medal of Honor of the German Armed Forces
    Mission:
    Military Advisor to the Chief of Staff, 12. DEUEinsKtg EUFOR
    Specialities:
    Participating INVICTUS GAMES 2016 in Orlando, Florida; INVICTUS GAMES 2017 in Toronto,
    Canada, achieving two silver medals in recumbent trike

    Major General Walter T. Rugen

    Director, Future Vertical Lift Cross Functional Team, U.S. Army Futures Command
    Major General Walter T. Rugen

    Major General Walter Rugen was born and raised in Onalaska, Wisconsin, and was commissioned through the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY in 1989.

    His first assignment was as an aviation platoon leader, Camp Page, Republic of Korea. In 1992, he was assigned to 9-101st Aviation Battalion (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he served in a variety of positions and commanded B/9-101st. MG Rugen was then assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), where he served as an MH-60K platoon leader and company operations officer in D/1-160 SOAR (A). From 2000-2002, he commanded D/160th SOAR (A) at Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station, Puerto Rico and flew extensively in Central/South America and the Caribbean. In 2003, he transitioned to become the battalion operations officer for 3rd Battalion 160th SOAR (A) at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, where he deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

    In 2005 he was assigned as a strategic plans officer in the J5 at the United States Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. In 2007, MG Rugen commanded 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operation Aviation Regiment and again deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. From 2009-2011, MG Rugen was assigned to the Army Staff in the aviation directorate at the Pentagon, where worked on multiple strategic issues affecting Army Aviation. In 2011, he was designated an Army Fellow and served at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. From 2012-2014, he commanded the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade in the Republic of Korea. He then transitioned back to the Pentagon where he became the Chief Army Aviation Force Development Division in the Army G8 from 2014- 2016. From 2016-2017, he served as the Director of Materiel in HQDA G8 before serving as the 7th Infantry Division Deputy Commanding General - Support at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington from 2017-2018. Currently, MG Rugen is the Director of U.S. Army Futures Command’s Future Vertical Lift Cross Functional Team, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

    MG Rugen’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with numeral 4, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (w/ 3 service stars), Iraq Campaign Medal (w/ 4 service stars), the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the Combat Action Badge, the Master Aviator Badge, the Parachutist Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the Army Staff Badge and Dominican Republic Parachutist Badge.

    MG Rugen is married to the former Ms. Leigh Anne Boling and they have three wonderful children, Victoria, Jacob and Wesley.

    Mr David M. Breede

    Program Executive Officer, Special Reconnaissance, US Special Operations Command
    Mr David M. Breede

    Mr. David M. Breede is the Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Special Reconnaissance (SR) at the HQ US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), MacDill AFB, FL. He is responsible for synchronizing the development, testing, acquisition, and fielding of SOF-Peculiar systems for technical collection, intelligence support, and sensitive site exploitation. Mr. Breede directs a cross functional team of professionals to execute a portfolio of military intelligence systems acquisition and rapid capability insertion research and development programs.
     

    Mr. Breede, a native of Stafford, Virginia, joined the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) at Dahlgren, VA as a Mechanical Engineer, Standard Missile Test and Instrumentation after graduating from Virginia Tech where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science & Mechanics. After 10 years at NSWC, he moved on to the Test & Evaluation Directorate of the US Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle Program. For three years he served as a systems engineer supporting all phases of developmental and operational testing. At USSOCOM, he has served as an acquisition program manager for a Joint Capability Technology Demonstration and as the Director for the Integrated Strike Programs for PEO Fixed Wing. As director he was responsible for the execution of the AC-130J nextgeneration gunship ACAT II EMD Program; AC-130W ACAT III evolutionary acquisition program; and Precision Guided Munition commodity procurement program.
     

    Mr. Breede is a career acquisition and engineering professional and a graduate of the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy.

    Mr Tim Bennett

    Unmanned Vehicle Engineer, Air Domain Awareness & Unmanned Systems, Science and Technology Directorate, Department of Homeland Security
    Mr Tim Bennett

    Tim Bennett has over 30 years managing, designing, manufacturing and testing electronic warfare (EW); intelligence, surveillance & reconnaissance (ISR) and signal intelligence (SIGINT) systems for manned and unmanned systems. He started his career at NRL working on communication programs like the Classic Wizard. His recent accomplishments include leading the design and manufacturing of the Universal Ground Control Systems (UGCS) used to control the Gray Eagle, Shadow, Hunter and Orion UAS. In addition, as the Product Director, he led the effort for the design, manufacturing and testing of Orion UAS that holds the medium altitude long endurance (MALE) long endurance record for continuous flight. Mr. Bennett took an appointment with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate in 2015 where he was the Deputy of the Program Executive Office (PEO) for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). He led manned and unmanned airborne research and technology transfer for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), United States Coast Guard (USCG) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the Borders, Immigration and Maritime Division (BID). He currently is the subject matter expert for air domain awareness and unmanned systems for Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate.

    Wing Commander Frederick A. Wigglesworth

    Officer Commanding 39 Squadron, Royal Air Force
    Wing Commander Frederick A. Wigglesworth

    Wing Commander Fred Wigglesworth is a joint staff officer, commander and RPAS pilot with a fast-jet Air Defence and instructional background. He first served as a Tornado F3 pilot on 43(F) Sqn, RAF Leuchars, holding Northern Quick Reaction Alert before being posted to RAF Valley as a Qualified Flying Instructor. He concluded his tour as a Central Flying School instructor, enjoying the challenge of training a cadre of Algerian Air Force trainee instructors.


    As both the Tornado F3 and the Hawk T1 neared the end of their service, Wigglesworth converted to the MQ-9 Reaper on 39 Sqn, Creech Air Force Base, Nevada. From there he conducted over 200 operational missions and 1200 hours on Ops HERRICK and SHADER, providing direct support to troops through ISTAR and air-to-ground strike. This period included an out-of-area tour in 2011, as SO2 Air for Regional Command (South West), Op HERRICK, Afghanistan. During this rewarding tour he was heavily involved in the development of the Afghan Air Force as well as the ongoing air operations of CF assets.


    Wigglesworth returned to 39 Sqn as a Flt Cdr, concurrently studying for a BA (Hons) degree in Leadership and Management, before returning to the UK as a Career Manager to ~300 junior officer aircrew; this period was characterised by acute personnel shortages on Reaper Force, the preparation for Poseidon and transition to MFTS. An enjoyable year on the Advanced Command and Staff Course was followed by the demands of PJHQ J3 as the Middle East Operations Team Leader, SO1 Air and SO1 Maritime for all UK operations within the Middle East; this at a time of heightened US/Iran tension and tanker seizures in the Arabian Gulf, as well as the defeat of the Daesh Caliphate.


    Currently in command of 39 Squadron, Wing Commander Wigglesworth is supported by his wife Claire, two teen-aged children and a newly acquired German Shorthaired Pointer puppy. His interests include golf, music,
    photography and travel.

    Wing Commander Jonathan McMullan

    Detachment Commander, Project Air 7003 Resident Project Team, Royal Australian Air Force
    Wing Commander Jonathan McMullan

    Wing Commander Jonathan McMullan joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1991 as an Airborne Electronics Analyst (AEA). He was posted to No. 10SQN where he spent the next seven years as an AEA on the P3C Orion, both as an acoustic warfare operator and an electronic warfare operator. Following this, he was posted to the Australian Joint Acoustic Analyst Centre (AJAAC) in Nowra as an analyst.
    WGCDR McMullan then commissioned as a Navigator in 2001. Upon graduation from Officers’ Training School he received the annual Leadership Sword for the best Junior Officer of 2001. WGCDR McMullan then posted to the School of Air Navigation for training. He graduated with a Distinction average and the Dux award. WGCDR McMullan was then posted back to 10SQN in 2003 as a Navigator, Tactical Coordinator and finally Standards Officer on the AP-3C Orion. During this posting, WGCDR McMullan served four tours of the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO), flying in both
    Iraq and Afghanistan.
    WGCDR McMullan was then posted to the Air Combat Transition Office to support the introduction of the Australian Super Hornet. After 18 months he was selected to be the Detachment Commander
    for the Heron Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) rotation in Kandahar, Afghanistan and led his team in Afghanistan from April through to September 2011. Upon return, WGCDR McMullan was posted to
    Number 5 Flight as the Commanding Officer of the RPA Unit. He was subsequently awarded a Commendation for Distinguished Service in the 2012 Queens Honours List for leadership at war and
    his meritorious Command of the RPA detachment in Afghanistan.
    WGCDR McMullan returned to Kandahar for a further two commands of the Heron RPA team. During his last command, he was challenged with transitioning the Heron capability to be an ISR asset for the Unites States Army in Regional Command-South post the Australian withdrawal. He was awarded the US Bronze Star for meritorious leadership in a war zone and the seamless transition of
    capability.
    During his command, WGCDR McMullan and his team successfully built an Airworthiness case to gain clearance to fly the Heron RPA in civilian airspace, believed to be a world first for RPA
    operations and the Royal Australian Air Force. At the completion of his command, WGCDR McMullan attended the Joint Services Command and Staff Course in the United Kingdom graduating with a Masters from Kings College London. Upon return to Australia he assumed command of Officers’ Training School in Sale, Victoria. At the completion of this command tour, WGCDR McMullan was posted to the Fleet Aviation Liaison Officer role in Fleet HQ at HMAS Kuttabul.
    WGCDR McMullan is now the Detachment Commander for the MQ-9B Resident Project Team embedded within General Atomics Poway CA. Leveraging coalition partners and Defence Industry,
    his team will ensure the MQ-9B is fit for purpose both domestically and in diverse deployed and operational roles to meet the security needs of the Australian Government.

    Wing Commander Neil Hallett

    PM Remote Piloted Air Systems Protector and Reaper, Royal Air Force
    Wing Commander Neil Hallett

    Wing Commander Neil Hallett was born in Liverpool in 1981 and commissioned into the Royal Air Force in 2004 after completing a MA in Defence and Security Analysis at Lancaster University. He completed the Joint Air Intelligence Course in 2005. In 2006, Hallett deployed to Basra, Iraq in support of Op TELIC as the Joint Helicopter Force (Iraq) Intelligence Officer before becoming the lead Iraq desk analyst at the Air Warfare Centre, RAF Waddington. In 2007, Hallett then deployed in support of Op HERRICK (Afghanistan) as part of Number 7 RAF Force Protection Wing, providing intelligence support to the RAF Regiment, RAF Police and NATO partners in the protection of Kandahar Airfield.

    In 2008, Hallett was assigned to the Electronic Reconnaissance Operational Support Squadron, providing bespoke intelligence support to 51 Sqn, which would see him routinely deploy in support of Ops HERRICK, GIGANTIC (Baltic) and JANED (Eastern Mediterranean). In 2011, he graduated the Qualified Weapons Instructor Course, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) before deploying in support of Op ELLAMY (Libya) as Chief of Collections and Intelligence Requirements Management and subsequently Op ODYSSEY GUARD. Upon his return in early 2012, Hallett was appointed OC Air Electronic Surveillance Pillar, responsible for developing the ground processing and exploitation system for UK Rivet Joint and UK Reaper. This would be his first introduction to Remotely Piloted Air Systems.

    Promoted to Squadron Leader in 2013, his first staff appointment included responsibility for the development of intelligence related capabilities to include future sensors and processing and exploitation technologies. This would begin the modernization of the RAF intelligence branch and trade and wider Defence, to meet the demands of future ISR capabilities. In 2015 Hallett deployed to provide intelligence support to the Senior British Military Advisor to CENTCOM before moving to Creech Air Force Base, Nevada to become Officer Commanding D Flight on 39 Sqn and a qualified Senior Mission Intelligence Coordinator. With more than 300 operational hours, Hallett provided intelligence and operational oversight for UK MQ-9 Reaper operations in support of Op SHADER (Iraq and Syria).

    Elected to become the inaugural Exchange Officer within A2/6, HQ United States Air Force in the Pentagon, Washington DC, Hallett was appointed as the RQ-4 Global Hawk Branch Chief in 2018 and led a series of initiatives exploring the utility of ISR as a Service as well as the future role of expendable and attritable aircraft.

    Promoted to Wing Commander in 2020, Hallett returned to the UK to become the Protector Programme Manager, his current role at HQ Air Command, RAF High Wycombe.

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    WHAT IS CPD?

    CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development’. It is essentially a philosophy, which maintains that in order to be effective, learning should be organised and structured. The most common definition is:

    ‘A commitment to structured skills and knowledge enhancement for Personal or Professional competence’

    CPD is a common requirement of individual membership with professional bodies and Institutes. Increasingly, employers also expect their staff to undertake regular CPD activities.

    Undertaken over a period of time, CPD ensures that educational qualifications do not become obsolete, and allows for best practice and professional standards to be upheld.

    CPD can be undertaken through a variety of learning activities including instructor led training courses, seminars and conferences, e:learning modules or structured reading.

    CPD AND PROFESSIONAL INSTITUTES

    There are approximately 470 institutes in the UK across all industry sectors, with a collective membership of circa 4 million professionals, and they all expect their members to undertake CPD.

    For some institutes undertaking CPD is mandatory e.g. accountancy and law, and linked to a licence to practice, for others it’s obligatory. By ensuring that their members undertake CPD, the professional bodies seek to ensure that professional standards, legislative awareness and ethical practices are maintained.

    CPD Schemes often run over the period of a year and the institutes generally provide online tools for their members to record and reflect on their CPD activities.

    TYPICAL CPD SCHEMES AND RECORDING OF CPD (CPD points and hours)

    Professional bodies and Institutes CPD schemes are either structured as ‘Input’ or ‘Output’ based.

    ‘Input’ based schemes list a precise number of CPD hours that individuals must achieve within a given time period. These schemes can also use different ‘currencies’ such as points, merits, units or credits, where an individual must accumulate the number required. These currencies are usually based on time i.e. 1 CPD point = 1 hour of learning.

    ‘Output’ based schemes are learner centred. They require individuals to set learning goals that align to professional competencies, or personal development objectives. These schemes also list different ways to achieve the learning goals e.g. training courses, seminars or e:learning, which enables an individual to complete their CPD through their preferred mode of learning.

    The majority of Input and Output based schemes actively encourage individuals to seek appropriate CPD activities independently.

    As a formal provider of CPD certified activities, SMI Group can provide an indication of the learning benefit gained and the typical completion. However, it is ultimately the responsibility of the delegate to evaluate their learning, and record it correctly in line with their professional body’s or employers requirements.

    GLOBAL CPD

    Increasingly, international and emerging markets are ‘professionalising’ their workforces and looking to the UK to benchmark educational standards. The undertaking of CPD is now increasingly expected of any individual employed within today’s global marketplace.

    CPD Certificates

    We can provide a certificate for all our accredited events. To request a CPD certificate for a conference , workshop, master classes you have attended please email events@smi-online.co.uk

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