ASU professor Dahm receives highest civilian Air Force award

Dr. Werner Dahm on Aug. 17 receives the Secretary of the Air Force Distinguished Public Service Award from Dr. Heather Wilson, secretary of the Air Force, at a ceremony in the Pentagon. (Submitted photo)

The U.S. Air Force presented the highest honor it can bestow on a civilian non-employee to Dr. Werner J.A. Dahm, ASU Foundation professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at Arizona State University, for his exceptionally distinguished record of service with the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board.

Dr. Heather Wilson, secretary of the Air Force, presented the award at an Aug. 17 ceremony in the Pentagon, according to a release.

The Secretary of the Air Force Distinguished Public Service Award recognizes Dr. Dahm’s key roles on the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board since 2005, including as the 2014-17 chairman of the board and his leadership of numerous Air Force studies and technical reviews, according to the release.

“Dr. Dahm volunteered more than 740 days of service to the United States Air Force … His tremendous leadership provided senior leaders with the knowledge and insight to ensure America’s Air Force continues to provide lethal force, decisive advantage, and prompt strike capability,” the award citation states.

Under charter from the secretary of defense, the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board is a federal advisory committee that conducts studies on topics deemed critical by the secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force.

It also conducts independent reviews of the entire $4.3 billion Air Force science and technology portfolio and recommends innovative applications of technology to improve U.S. Air Force capabilities. The board serves broadly as a technical advisory body for the Air Force, according to the release.

Board members are selected by the secretary of the Air Force and appointed by the secretary of defense.

The board, which reports directly to the secretary and the chief of staff of the Air Force, has since its establishment in 1944 made recommendations on the science and technology programs of the Air Force and on the resulting capabilities that have emerged from these programs to support the Air Force mission, according to the release.

“My service with the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and my time leading the board have been among the most intellectually rewarding experiences of my career,” Dr. Dahm said in the release.

“Every year the board is tasked to conduct in-depth studies on some of the most difficult technical challenges that the Air Force faces and to help the Air Force guide its entire science and technology portfolio,” he said.

“As a result, as a scientist and engineer my service on the board has been a tremendous opportunity to make important contributions to the Air Force and the nation, far beyond what I could have imagined when I began my academic career. I look forward to continued service with the Scientific Advisory Board,” Dr. Dahm said in the release.

Previously, for his full-time role in Air Force Headquarters as the chief scientist of the U.S. Air Force from 2008-10, Dr. Dahm received the Air Force Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service, the highest award it can bestow on a civilian employee of the Air Force.

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