Army researcher recognized by Missile Defense Agency

April 04, 2016

By Joyce M. Conant, ARL Public Affairs

Story Highlights

  • GMD is the only missile defense system capable of intercepting an intercontinental ballistic missile threatening the U.S. homeland
  • The system is deployed, operational and manned 24/7/365 by members of the Colorado and Alaska Army National Guards
  • GMD Program Office recognizes the value of early and continuous human factors engineering support during the development and fielding of complex systems

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (March 11, 2016) – Dr. Barry Vaughan, a research psychologist at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground was recently recognized for demonstrating exceptional professionalism during the May 2015 Ground-based Midcourse Defense Operational Configuration 6.0 fielding activity.

GMD is the only missile defense system capable of intercepting an intercontinental ballistic missile threatening the U.S. homeland. The system is deployed, operational and manned 24/7/365 by members of the Colorado and Alaska Army National Guards.

Vaughan, who has been with ARL for 16 years, said that in order to field a major upgrade to GMD, both the operations and sustainment and the product development sides of the house needed to be in sync with each other and, more importantly he said, with the operational warfighter community.

Vaughan said this was a group effort involving multiple disciplines that worked together over the course of nearly five years to build a system to meet the operational needs of GMD and other missile defense system users. He indicated that additional support was provided to NORTHCOM/J31 and the 100th MDB during the exercises and ground test campaigns where tactics, techniques and procedures were developed for the upgraded system. Together these activities supported the warfighter and O&S activities required for the successful transition to the Configuration 6.0 capability.

"It is very gratifying to me that the GMD Program Office recognizes the value of early and continuous human factors engineering support during the development and fielding of complex systems. This build was a long time in development, and represents a major change to system behavior and performance. Knowing that the warfighter felt a sense of ownership of the product due in part to the activities I supported is especially gratifying, in that the real customer – the Soldier has benefited from the effort," Vaughan said.

Vaughan said he finds solving complicated problems one of the most rewarding aspects of his job. In doing so, he continues to work on various human factors engineering and operator-centered requirements development aspects of the GMD program. He also supports a number of smaller projects in visual perception at ARL's Human Research and Engineering Directorate.

Outside of the lab, Vaughan is an active volunteer with the Maryland Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and with WYPR – Baltimore's National Public Radio member station. He said he also enjoys cooking and exercises a great deal.

When asked what advice he'd share with the workforce, he said, "A simple rule for making a difference in meetings, which I learned long ago from Dr. Beverly Knapp (acting director for Human Systems Integration, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1) is 'always sit at the table,' and 'make your presence known,' you wouldn't be there if you didn't have something to add!"


The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

 

Last Update / Reviewed: April 4, 2016