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Posted 5/4/2017

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By Gwyn G. Neill
U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Public Affairs

Two U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center team members, Dr. Michael Hammons and Dr. Mihan McKenna, from the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory were recently named Senior Scientific Technical Managers.

In his announcement of the promotions, ERDC Director Dr. David Pittman said, “Dr. Hammons and Dr. McKenna are proven leaders responsible for actively pursuing opportunities for current and strategic future work while managing significantly large ERDC programs.  Furthermore, they have a major impact on the ERDC mission by their indisputable credibility and influence with key customers and stakeholders.”

GSL’s Hammons has been active for the past decade in key roles in the Joint Capability Technology Demonstration program.  He currently serves as the technical manager for the Port Infrastructure via Exigent Repair JCTD.  

Hammons previously served as the technology manager for the Hardened Installation Protection for Persistent Operations JCTD and as a technology developer for the Critical Runway Repair and Assessment JCTD.  He serves as the technical integrated product team leader for the U.S. Air Force’s Hardened Installation Protection for Persistent Operations II program.  Hammons is also the senior researcher and program manager for the Integrated Force Protection against Advanced Threats Program. 

He earned his doctorate in civil engineering from Louisiana State University, a master’s in civil engineering from Mississippi State University and bachelor’s in civil engineering from Louisiana Tech University.  He is a registered professional engineer and member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and American Society of Military Engineers.  

The second GSL researcher promoted was Dr. Mihan McKenna, a geophysicist, who was the 2013 USACE Researcher of the Year.  Her area of expertise is acquiring, interpreting and numerically modeling seismic, acoustic and infrasound source and propagation phenomenology to support tactical decision making for the military.

McKenna directs integrated analytical, computational modeling and experimental research with the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Laboratories, international defense partners and academia.  Her research is focused on force projection and force protection issues of remote battlefield assessment, hard target defeat and strategic imaging and monitoring of trans-national threats.  

McKenna earned her bachelor’s in physics from Georgetown University, and doctorate in geophysics from Southern Methodist University.  She is an adjunct professor in the Huffington Department of Geological Sciences at SMU, and in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Mississippi State University.

SSTM positions furnish highly advanced scientific and technical guidance, perform and manage research and development in physical, biological and engineering sciences related to the ERDC mission while carrying out technical supervisory responsibilities involving technical planning and oversight of work.

GSL Director Bartley P. Durst commended Hammons and McKenna by saying, “As GSL Director and the Military Engineering Business Area Lead for the ERDC, I am extremely excited and proud to have Dr. Mike Hammons and Dr. Mihan McKenna promoted to Senior Scientific Technical Manager.  SSTMs provide top-tier technical leadership to high-impact, enterprise-wide research teams.  Dr. Hammons is leading several protection technology development programs that are providing increased capabilities for our national security.  Dr. McKenna is leading the creation of new, innovative sensor technologies for both military and civil uses, expanding the state of the art.  I am very proud of the technical accomplishments and leadership of these two outstanding researchers.”

“These promotions reflect the outstanding and significant contributions of these individuals to the ERDC, the Corps of Engineers and the nation,” added Pittman.

ERDC GSL Hammons McKenna USACE