Defence operations analyst Dr Alexander Kalloniatis is the 2021 recipient of the Defence Minster’s Award for Achievement in Science and Technology.
Dr Kalloniatis has been conducting research and development in various ADF headquarters during the past 17 years that has led to insights and innovations that are improving ADF command and control structures, towards an agile “5th generation headquarters” environment.
Command and control (C2) is the capability by which information is passed and decision-making is delegated through an organisation to achieve missions. In the military context, that means the decision-making processes from the joint top-level headquarters to the warfighters on the front line. Dr Kalloniatis’ work at Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) has led to new understanding about how to improve our C2 agility, a critical enabler for modern defence operations. By identifying the ways in which our forces can be more agile, through organisational design, Dr Kalloniatis’ team is hoping to provide defence with a capability edge.
A key concept instilled by mentors early in Dr Kalloniatis’ defence science career was the importance, alongside building deep scientific foundations, of taking the time to walk in the ADF client’s domain, and then to build deep interrelationships between the two as one develops novel ideas and starts to translate those ideas into the domain. For this reason, Dr Kalloniatis has been a familiar sight on headquarters floors over the years.
‘Understanding our client’s domain is critical,’ he says. ‘And learning to speak in the language of our military counterparts to explain our science and technology (S&T) concepts and innovations in their language, and refreshing those explanations as they develop, and learning from mistakes, is fundamental to success.’
Team effort from the start
Dr Kalloniatis completed a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Adelaide in 1992, and spent years working at various institutions and facilities around the world, modelling high energy sub-atomic particles. But after joining DSTG in 2005 he became single-minded in his analysis and innovation within the military command and control (C2) realm – modelling the behaviour of humans under extreme pressures. Dr Kalloniatis’ body of work includes a full range of empirical studies (in various ADF headquarters), theoretical studies (mathematical modelling) and conceptual contributions to the body of C2 knowledge. While continuing to publish in international conferences and journals, he has managed to contribute ideas that are now being implemented in the ADF.
‘I have worked very hard as a defence scientist,’ he says. ‘But from the day I walked in here a lot of people, leaders past and present, have put faith in me and have given me the opportunity to develop and build a profile in this area. I feel that my Minister’s Award also reflects on those colleagues and the patience they have put into developing DSTG’s operations analysis capability.’
A three-year Chief Defence Scientist Fellowship several years ago gave Dr Kalloniatis the time to develop a unified mathematical model of the interactions taking place in command and control structures. This was bolstered by work undertaken by DSTG’s Modelling Complex Warfighting Strategic Research Investment, and the outcomes are now contributing to the Defence Agile Command and Control STaR Shot. The Agile C2 STaRshot seeks to enhance the ADF’s ability to adapt to greater operational volatility in future contested and congested environments, and Dr Kalloniatis hopes to continue to walk the floors of ADF headquarters as he helps Defence to usher in these important changes.
Read more about Defence’s Agile C2 STaR Shot here: Agile Command and Control | DST (defence.gov.au).
Read more about DSTG’s Modelling Complex Warfighting program here: Modelling Complex Warfighting Strategic Research Investment | DST (defence.gov.au)
Defence Scientist, Dr Sylvie Perreau, has been awarded the 2020 Minister’s Award for Achievement in Defence Science, for her excellence in signal processing and wireless networks within highly classified environments both nationally and internationally.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the award recognises outstanding contributions made by Australian Defence scientists to Australian Defence Force capability.
“Dr Perreau has made significant contributions to the protection of Australian Defence Force personnel, contributing to Defence capability both technically and through liaison roles”, Minister Reynolds said.
“As a member of the Science in Australia Gender Equity Self-Assessment Team and Defence Science and Technology Group’s Disability Inclusion Group, Dr Perreau exemplifies Defence values and behaviours and is an all-encompassing member of the Defence workforce.”
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price, who presented the award, said Defence scientists have been integral to supporting our capability edge for more than 100 years.
“The ability to devise innovative solutions to address complex Defence challenges is a rare talent, and the contribution that Defence scientists make is vital in safeguarding our nation,” Minister Price said.
The Minister’s Award for Achievement in Defence Science was established in 1988, for information on previous recipients visit https://www.dst.defence.gov.au/discover-dst/our-high-achievers.
This media release originally appeared on the Department of Defence website.
Dr Neil Gordon has been awarded the 2019 Minister’s Award for Achievement in Defence Science for his research that led to one of most important surveillance algorithms of the past 50 years.
Dr Gordon’s research focussed on data fusion, the process of integrating multiple data sources to produce more consistent, accurate, and useful information – better than any individual data source can provide.
Chief Defence Scientist, Professor Tanya Monro, congratulated Dr Gordon, saying his work in the field of international data fusion could not be overstated.
“Dr Gordon can rightfully be called the “inventor of the Particle Filter”, which is now used almost everywhere, from predicting weather, to epidemiology, to the extraction of missile threats from satellite data,” Prof Monro said.
The particle filter is a method for dealing with non-linear and non-Gaussian (variables assumed not to have a normal distribution) estimation problems.
The method uses random samples to approximate probability distributions and is able to update these probabilities using dynamic models and measurement data.
Dr Gordon’s crucial contribution was a method called importance sampling, which solves provable shortcomings of the previous methods.
Dr Gordon also led the Defence team that contributed to the definition of the search region for the missing aircraft MH370.
This work required great technical innovation because traditional sensor data was not available for the majority of the flight.
The team developed a new approach that built on Dr Gordon’s particle filter and addressed several technical difficulties, due to the sparse and under-determined satellite communication metadata.
The method was validated against instrumented commercial flights and was published in an open access book that has had more than 60,000 downloads in less than two years.
The Minister's Award for Achievement in Defence Science is awarded annually to recognise original and outstanding contributions capable of enhancing Australia's defence effectiveness and efficiency.
“Dr Gordon is a highly deserving recipient of the award,” Professor Monro said.
The Award was presented to Dr Gordon by Andrew Wallace MP on behalf of the Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds.
Imagery is available here.
Dr Andrew Piotrowski has won the 2018 Minister's Award for Achievement in Defence Science for his innovative work in developing force protection systems that safeguard Australian soldiers from improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The award was presented to him at a function in Canberra by the Assistant Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon David Fawcett on behalf of the Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP.
Over 20 years Dr Piotrowski has developed a range of counter-IED systems that have saved the lives of Australian and coalition troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. They include the Redwing and Silvershield suite of equipment for dismounted soldiers and armoured vehicles. These systems have earned $85 million in export revenue.
"The contribution I make at DST is very close to my heart as an engineer," Dr Piotrowski said on receiving the award which is presented annually to recognise original and outstanding contributions for enhancing Australia's defence effectiveness and efficiency.
Internationally recognised Defence scientist, Ms Zenka Mathys, has won the 2017 Minister's Award for Achievement in Defence Science for improving fire safety for Navy ships, submarines and crew.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, today congratulated Ms Mathys from Defence Science and Technology's Maritime Division for her outstanding scientific achievement in developing fire protection systems which have contributed significantly to the survivability of Navy platforms.
"Ms Mathys' innovative research has not only made Navy platforms more resilient to fire damage, it can save the lives of Defence personnel who serve on these vessels," Minister Payne said.
"Her research has also significantly increased cost savings due to reduced fire risk and the reduced cost involved in returning the platform to service after a fire incident.
"Ms Mathys is an acknowledged world expert in the science of fire resistant materials and structural fire protection. She has developed new standards for the testing of material used in ship and submarine construction. Her research into the response of composite materials to damage and shock resulted in her designing new repair techniques for the Mine Hunter Coastal ships and led to changes in fire protection for the Air Warfare Destroyers.
"Her expertise has also been applied to the acquisition of aircraft and land vehicles, resulting in better safety features and reduced costs for Defence."
Ms Mathys's role investigating the 2014 fires on board HMAS Bundaberg and HMAS Waller led to the implementation of an integrated survivability research program, including the development of damage control equipment and enhanced personnel safety.
"Ms Mathys is a very deserving winner of this important defence science award," Minister Payne said.
The annual Minister's Award for Achievement in Defence Science recognises original and outstanding contributions capable of enhancing Australia's defence effectiveness and efficiency.
Defence scientist Dr Brian Ferguson who has exploited the science of sound to pinpoint military threats underwater and over land has won the 2016 Minister’s Award for Achievement in Defence Science.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, congratulated Dr Ferguson for his world-leading research in acoustics and signal processing which has contributed significantly to Defence capability by detecting, classifying and tracking targets of military interest.
Dr Ferguson has broken new ground with his innovative research into advanced acoustic technologies which are being used in Australian and US operational systems for improved situational awareness and surveillance.
His extensive studies established a direct connection between acoustic signals and the course, speed and identity of ships, submarines, aircraft and even speeding bullets.
An acoustic system based on Dr Ferguson’s studies accurately geolocated mortar fire from insurgents during Operation Iraqi Freedom and saved the lives of coalition forces and innocent civilians.
Dr Ferguson also developed new data processing techniques which have enabled Navy’s sonar operators to identify targets at significantly greater distances than before, allowed submerged submarines to track aircraft flying overhead and improved safety in Navy’s mine hunting operations by delivering acoustic imagery for examining mine-like objects from safe distances.
His work has resulted in enhancements to sonar technologies that are now incorporated in Australian and US submarines.
Dr Ferguson was the first researcher to develop land-based acoustic systems with low false alarm rates for remote unattended surveillance, resulting in these systems being developed for use in conflict zones by the Australian and US armies.
Thanks to Dr Ferguson’s innovative research, our submarines have significantly improved their detection capability over increased distances, our ports and harbours are better protected against threats and even the ecologically sensitive Great Barrier Reef benefits from a higher level of protection against intrusions from commercial shipping.
The annual Minister’s Award for Achievement in Defence Science recognises original and outstanding contributions capable of enhancing Australia’s defence effectiveness and efficiency.
Dr Mark Patterson has won the 2015 Minister’s Award for Achievement in Defence Science for his significant contributions to meeting the increasing demands for the continued protection and wellbeing of Australian soldiers.
At a ceremony in Canberra on 25 November, 2015 Minister for Defence Materiel and Science the Hon Mal Brough presented the award to Dr Patterson from the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) for his research in the soldier combat system, physical employment standards and reduction of heat injuries.
Dr Patterson’s expertise in human physical performance has been critical in developing improved protective combat gear for soldiers, reducing heat injuries suffered by deployed troops and establishing a set of standards that match individuals to tasks, irrespective of gender.
An expert in physiology, Dr Patterson has made a major contribution to the integration of the soldier combat system under the Diggerworks initiative.
Diggerworks was established to ensure that soldiers had the best possible combat ensemble by reducing deficiencies that had been identified in the soldier categorisation and procurement processes.
This ensemble reduces the soldiers’ weight burden significantly without compromising protection through the development of the Tiered Body Armour System.
Australian soldiers have also benefited from Dr Patterson’s research into preventing and treating heat injuries. His team developed an inexpensive hand-held device for Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel to monitor environmental conditions in remote locations and reduce exposure to heat stress.
Dr Patterson also led the ground-breaking research program that introduced objective physical performance criteria for the selection and training of Defence personnel, opening opportunities for women to undertake tasks from which they were previously excluded.
The physical employment standards enable ADF personnel to perform their roles safely and effectively while significantly reducing the incidence of work health, safety and compensation claims.
The Minister’s Award for Achievement in Defence Science, presented annually since 1988, recognises original and outstanding contributions capable of enhancing Australia’s defence effectiveness and efficiency. The award consists of a crystal trophy and a cash prize of $15,000.
For further details, see the Ministerial media release - Scientist awarded for improved soldier performance .
A Defence physicist whose work has helped to ensure the safety and serviceability of Australian military aircraft and submarines has won the 2014 Minister’s Award for Achievement in Defence Science.
The Assistant Minister for Defence, Stuart Robert, congratulated Dr Stephen Burke from DSTO for developing new solutions and techniques that have contributed significantly to the safe and cost-effective operation of Defence equipment.
“Dr Burke’s expertise has been critical in diagnosing and monitoring the structural health of our aircraft and submarines to prevent major failures,” Mr Robert said.
An expert in nondestructive evaluation (NDE), Dr Burke has been responsible for research programs examining Defence platforms for structural damage or flaws caused by ageing.
He has initiated structural management programs to ensure that physical defects or damage are reliably detected and addressed before they impact on the capability of the platform.
“Dr Burke’s work underpins the structural management of Air Force and Navy fleets, ensuring their availability for operational use and enhancing the safety of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel who operate them,” Mr Robert said.
In the 1990s, when the Collins class submarines developed problems with their propeller blades, Dr Burke’s innovative work with a multidisciplinary team allowed the boats to remain operational and saved the Navy more than $10 million by not having to replace the propellers prematurely.
Dr Burke’s team also initiated the development of an automated system to inspect aircraft wings. Replacing manual inspections, the new system has resulted in significantly faster and less costly inspections.
“Dr Burke’s work has significantly reduced maintenance requirements in many areas and has contributed to cost savings in the order of many millions of dollars".
“He is a thoroughly deserving recipient of this award,” Mr Robert said.
The Minister’s Award for Achievement in Defence Science, presented annually since 1988, recognises original and outstanding contributions capable of enhancing Australia’s defence effectiveness and efficiency.
Imagery will be available through the Defence Image Library.
On Friday 29 October, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, presented international awards to 13 Australian defence scientists whose research has significantly enhanced Defence capabilities.
The awards are presented annually under the auspices of The Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP) which brings together defence scientists from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to collaborate on technology development.
Presenting the 2010 TTCP Awards at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) in Melbourne today, Mr Snowdon said the achievements are testament to Australia’s contribution to international scientific excellence.
“I congratulate these outstanding researchers for providing outstanding scientific support to improve the effectiveness of the Defence forces,” Mr Snowdon said.
“In particular, may I congratulate Loris Molent for winning the 2010 Minister’s Award for Achievement in Defence Science for his work on developing solutions to determine the fatigue life of aircraft and their structural components for the past 26 years."
“Loris has also undertaken significant research in fatigue crack growth in metallic materials, and in his career has published more than 100 DSTO scientific reports, 30 papers in scientific journals and publications and 40 conference papers,” he said.
The TTCP is Australia’s most important multi-lateral agreement in defence science, and DSTO contributes to over 60 technology areas.
“While these awards are also made to defence scientists in other countries, it is important we honour the varied scientific excellence that originates in Australia, contributing to capable defence forces in member nations,” Mr Snowdon said.
See the full list of 2010 TTCP Award recipients.
In the ten years from 1988 to 1998, several high achieving DSTO scientists were presented with a Minister's Achievement Award to recognise outstanding scientific contribution to Defence.
See below for the recipients:
1998 - Dr Mark Anderson for his outstanding scientific creativity, and record of high quality and original research in the area of information security.
1997 - Mr David Graham for the excellent standard of leadership management and technical expertise demonstrated with the testing of the F/A-18 aircraft under the International Follow-On Structural Test Project (IFOSTP).
1996 - Mr John Curtin for his substantial and sustained contributions to the field of electronic warfare, in particular in electronic support measures (ESM).
1995 - Dr Thomas Ryall and Dr Albert Wong for their contribution in the area of fundamental research into thermoelastic stress analysis.
1994 - Mr Brian Andrews for his contribution in leading the development of the Defence Organisation Integrated Communications (DORIC) program.
1993 - Dr John Ritter for his contribution to the development of high performance steel and welds in support of the construction of the Australian Collins class submarine.
1992 - Dr Stuart Anderson for his contribution to the Jindalee Over-the-Horizon Radar (JORN), particularly with regard to its ocean surveillance and meteorological capabilities.
1991 - Dr David Oldfield for research into anechoic materials for the Australian Collins class submarine hull.
1990 - Dr Alan Baker for research into bonded composite repair technology and its application to Royal Australian Aircraft (RAAF) aircraft.
1989 - Dr Fred Earl for work on the Jindalee Over-the-Horizon Radar.
1988 - Mr Mike Turner for developing the Craft of Opportunity concept for minesweeping.