Ms. Kristen J. Baldwin, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology and Engineering, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics), the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Ms. Baldwin provides guidance, advocacy, and policy for the Air Force's annual $2.6 billion science and technology program and $1 billion developmental prototyping and experimentation program, conducted at 40 research sites worldwide. She provides engineering and technical management direction on digital engineering, cyber resilient weapons, corrosion control, capability development planning, and the functional management of more than 14,000 military and civilian scientists and engineers. In addition, she is responsible for providing technical advice and counsel to the Air Force Acquisition Executive on a broad range of engineering and technical management areas. As part of this role, she oversees the Air Force's international science and technology outreach via various bi-lateral and multi-lateral engagement fora, including the NATO Science and Technology Organization and the NATO Air Force Armaments Group.

Before this appointment, Ms. Baldwin served as the Deputy Director for Strategic Technology Protection and Exploitation within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. She was the Department of Defense (DoD) lead for maintaining technology advantage by mitigating exploitation and vulnerabilities of critical missions, programs, technologies, and the industrial base. Ms. Baldwin oversaw program protection policy and related hardware and software assurance, anti-tamper, and critical technical information protection practices.

A member of the Senior Executive Service since 2007, Ms. Baldwin has also served as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering; and Deputy Director, Software Engineering and System Assurance. Before joining the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Ms. Baldwin served as a science and technology advisor in the Army’s Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans. She began her career at the U.S. Army’s Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center, Picatinny Arsenal.

Ms. Baldwin is a recipient of the Meritorious Presidential Rank award in recognition of exemplary service, and the National Defense Industrial Association Lt Gen Thomas R. Ferguson, Jr., Systems Engineering Excellence Award. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech and a Master of Systems Management from the Florida Institute of Technology.

Dr. "Jerry" Ballard is the Director for the Department of Defense (DOD) High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He provides strategic direction and leadership for the high-end computing portfolio investments of the HPCMP program for DOD HPC systems.

The HPCMP provides the supercomputing capabilities, high-speed network communications, software applications, and high-performance computing expertise for the DOD science and technology, test and evaluation, and acquisition engineering communities, enabling scientists and engineers to solve the DOD's most mission-critical challenges.

Dr. Ballard began his career in 1989 as a Research Computer Scientist in the Environmental Laboratory of what was formerly known as the Waterways Experiment Station. In his more than 30 year career, he has managed research across a wide range of military engineering and civil works technical areas while serving as Associate Technical Director and Chief of the Computational Science and Engineering Division in the ERDC's Information Technology Laboratory. Prior to assuming his current position, Dr. Ballard was named Associate Director for Software Applications, DOD HPCMP in 2021. He serves customers across the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DOD, Department of Homeland Security, and other government agencies.

Dr. Ballard has a bachelor's in computer science and a master's degree in mathematics, both from Mississippi College. He received his doctorate in computational engineering from Mississippi State University.

Dr. Ballard has received numerous awards, the most recent being a U.S. Army ERDC Outstanding Achievement in EEO in 2021 and the USACE Innovation of the Year Award in 2020. He has authored and co-authored numerous technical publications

Dr. Benjamin Parsons is the Chief Technology Officer for the High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP), a multi-Service/Agency program that provides an enabling high-performance computing ecosystem to the DoD Science and Technology, Test and Evaluation, and Acquisition Engineering communities managed by ERDC/ITL. The $290 million annual program provides supercomputing resources, a high-speed network (Defense Research and Engineering Network), parallel software, and advance HPC support to address the DoD’s and Services’ mission critical priorities.

In his role Dr. Parsons leads the HPCMP in advanced technology, ensuring that the latest advancements in computer systems are properly managed and provided to solve a diverse set of DoD problems. With the ending of transistor scaling, Dr. Parsons is working to ensure that the HPCMP is positioned to embrace heterogenous hardware by exploring emerging architectures and understanding their impact. An additional focus of Dr. Parsons is understanding how cloud technologies can enhance the HPCMP’s hardware portfolio. Recent improvements to cloud technology has opened to door to high performance workloads leading to potential impact on HPCMP problems.

Prior to assuming his current position Dr. Parsons worked as a computer engineer in ITL’s Defense Supercomputing Resource Center (DSRC). In that role Dr. Parsons split his time between research projects and center management. Some notable research projects include an early implementation of Spark, an emerging data analytics framework, on HPC and developing Deep Neural Network based surrogate models for high fidelity physics simulations. In his management capacity Dr. Parsons managed the integration and acceptance of Onyx, at the time the DoD largest unclassified supercomputer. He also served as chief architect, of a data-centric procurement, a fundamentally new way to approach DSRC architecture.

He earned a bachelor’s in computer engineering from Purdue University. His doctoral work was also completed at Purdue with a dissertation focusing on HPC communication patterns, and was funded by DoD’s SMART program.

Dr. Parsons lives in Clinton Mississippi with his wife and three children.

Michael F. Ausserer serves as the Associate Director for Resource Management in the DoD High Performance Computer Modernization Program Office. He is assigned to the Research Collaboration and Computing Directorate, US Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. He manages the allocation of over 8 billion high performance computing core-hours to over 800 research projects and 2,500 users. He leads the selection and oversight of Frontier projects, the program’s resource-intensive, high-visibility research projects. In addition, he is responsible for gathering and validating DoD-wide supercomputing requirements.

Mr. Ausserer is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He served on active duty in the US Air Force for 22 years in a wide variety of assignments including helicopter pilot, research and development engineer and acquisition program manager. After working in private industry, Mr. Ausserer returned to the Air Force as civil servant with the USAF Research Laboratory. At AFRL his assignments have included serving as the AFRL deputy CIO, the AFRL Deputy Chief of Staff, Sensors Directorate Cyber Strategist and Deputy Director of the Research Collaboration and Computing Directorate. He has held senior program management positions in 3 major program offices and on 2 center-level enterprise resource planning efforts.

Mr. Ausserer has an MS degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland and is a graduate of AWC, ACSC, SOS and the DoD CIO program at NDU. He is a registered professional engineer and has level 3 APDP certifications in Program Management and Systems Planning, Research, Development and Engineering.

Mr. Michael P. Hanke is the Director, Research Collaboration & Computing Directorate (RC), Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. He leads four divisions with over 260 government and on-site contractor personnel that execute a combined annual budget of more than $60M. The mission of the directorate is to deliver secure, relevant high-performance computing, collaboration, and information technology (IT) capabilities to all AFRL organizations. He also serves as the AFRL Chief Information Officer, the Air Force (AF) Authorizing Official for Science and Technology (S&T) systems, and the AF S&T Principal to the DoD High Performance Computing Modernization Program.

Mr. Hanke entered the Air Force in 1984 after being commissioned through Officer Training School, following graduation from the University of Michigan. When he separated from active duty he simultaneously joined the Air National Guard and entered USAF civil service. Mr. Hanke’s military and civilian career led him through a variety of challenging operational, acquisition, S&T, and MAJCOM headquarters assignments. His broad experience includes technical leadership roles in IT, telecommunications, embedded control systems, landing gear/mechanical systems, propulsion systems, airworthiness assessment, systems security engineering, and lifecycle systems engineering.

His key assignments have included Technical Director for the Logistics Directorate (A4), Air Force Materiel Command, and Director of Engineering for the Fighters and Bombers (F/B) Directorate Air Force Lifecycle Management Center (AFLCMC), where he led several organizational transformation initiatives to improve system lifecycle management across numerous mission areas. These initiatives revitalized systems engineering for the Nuclear Enterprise, shepherded an engineering staff of 600+ through a complex organizational merger, and implemented streamlined airworthiness assessment processes across the F/B directorate. Mr. Hanke also served as the Director of Engineering for the AFLCMC Program Development and Integration Directorate where he utilized key change management tools to smoothly reorganize the engineering staff to more effectively provide technical support to critical development planning activities. In that assignment, he also directed a team to document a robust Early Systems Engineering (ESE) process and initiated efforts to enhance the process through Model-Based Systems Engineering tools and techniques to enhance Analysis of Alternative activities. That led to his selection as the Chief Engineer for the AF Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation (SDPE) office where he spearheaded several initiatives to begin implementation of Digital Enterprise capabilities to support the ESE community that includes the AF Futures, SDPE, AFRL and other AF pre-program of record organizations. He was promoted to the grade of Senior Scientific and Technical Manager as the AFRL/RC Director in May 2019.

Mr. Hanke retired from military service in 2006 after completing 22 years of active duty/Air National Guard service. During that time, he was recalled to active duty and deployed overseas for Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM to direct the design and implementation of robust communication and IT systems to support critical contingency warfighter needs.


  • 1984 Bachelor of Science, Electrical & Electronics Engineering (with distinction), Univ. of Michigan
  • 1998 Master of Science, Systems Engineering (Minor: Computer Engineering), Air Force Institute of Technology, WPAFB, OH
  • 2007 Air War College
  • 2010 Defense Leadership and Management Program Graduate

Career Summary

  1. May 1979 - June 1983, Co-op Electrical Engineer, Long Beach Naval Shipyard, Long Beach, CA
  2. January 1985 - May 1988, Wideband Communications Engineer (2Lt-1Lt), 485th Engineering and Installation Group (485 EIG), Griffiss AFB, NY
  3. June 1988 - July 1989, Supervisor, Narrowband Communications Branch (1Lt-Capt), 485 EIG, Griffiss AFB, NY
  4. August 1989 - February 1995, Lead Integrated Controls Engineer, Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC), Engineering Directorate, Wright-Patterson AFB (WPAFB), OH
  5. March 1995 - October 1999, Landing Gear & Mechanical Systems IPT Lead, C-17 System Program Office (SPO), ASC, WPAFB, OH
  6. November 1999 - September 2001, Propulsion IPT Lead, F-16 SPO, ASC, WPAFB, OH
  7. October 2001 - August 2002 and March - August 2003, Chief, Communications Plans (Lt Col), HQ USAFE, Ramstein AB, GE
  8. August 2002 - February 2003 and September 2003 - August 2004, Chief Flight Systems Engineer, Mobility Systems Wing, ASC, WPAFB, OH
  9. September 2004 - April 2006, Director of Engineering, Development and Fielding Systems Group, Operational Support Systems Wing, Electronic Systems Center, WPAFB, OH
  10. May 2006 – February 2010, Technical Director, Logistics Directorate, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, WPAFB, OH
  11. March 2010 – February 2015, Director of Engineering, Fighters and Bombers Directorate, Air Force Lifecycle Management Center (AFLCMC), WPAFB, OH
  12. February 2015 – August 2017, Director of Engineering, Program Development and Integration Directorate, AFLCMC, WPAFB, OH
  13. August 2017 – May 2019, Chief Engineer, Air Force Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation office, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), WPAFB OH
  14. May 2019 – today, Director, Research Collaboration & Computing Directorate, AFRL, WPAFB OH

Major Awards and Decorations

  • ASC/EN Director’s Award for Excellence
  • Air Force Exemplary Civilian Service Awards
  • Notable Achievement and Special Act Awards
  • Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
  • Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters
  • Army Achievement Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal with bronze star
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Acquisition Professions Development Program Certifications

  • Systems Planning, Research and Development Engineering - Level III
  • Science Technology Manager - Level III
  • Information Technology - Level III
  • Program Management - Level I

(Current as of December 2021)

Ronald Hedgepeth is the Productivity Enhancement and Training (PET) Associate Director of the Department of Defense High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, MS.

The program provides productivity enhancement, technology transfer, and training services to meet the computational science expertise that enables DoD scientists and engineers to conduct a widerange of focused development, research, and test activities.

Mr. Hedgepeth served as ERDC Acting, Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO). He was responsible for assisting the ERDC CIO in managing the execution of the ERDC’s IT program with policy and strategic planning. He formulized and developed the ERDC Cloud Computing Environment (CCE).

Prior to being in the ERDC CIO Office, Mr. Hedgepeth served as ERDC Program Manager for the U.S. Army Program Executive Office Enterprise Information System (PEO-EIS) Army Logistics Program. This is a joint program falling within the DoD mission area of mobility and transportation for DoD passengers and cargo during war and peace. It automates the process of planning, organizing, coordinating, and overall unit-related deployment activities supporting the DoD’s total deployment process.

Mr. Hedgepeth served as Technical Program Manager for the Portal Information Environment (pIE) for the HPCMP. He led a code development team and IT operations.

Mr. Hedgepeth is a past recipient of the DoD Achievement Medal for Civilian Service Award, ERDC Operational Support Award, the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service, and 2 DoD Superior Civilian Service Awards.

Hedgepeth received his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Mississippi College. He also earned his Master’s in Project Management at George Washington University. He is a member of the Army Acquisition Corps with Level II certification in Program Management. He earned his Project Management Professional (PMP) certification at University of California Berkeley.

Mr. Ralph A. McEldowney serves as the Associate Director for Networking for the DoD High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP). In this capacity, he is responsible for the Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN). DREN is the premiere high performance wide area network supporting the DoD Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E), and Acquisition Engineering communities. Mr. McEldowney is responsible for a staff of nearly 60 Government employees and contractor staff, the management of more than 200 DREN sites across 34 US states and the District of Columbia, and a $40M annual budget.

Mr. McEldowney provides program management oversight for the DREN 3 and DREN 4 contracts, both 10-year Firm Fixed Price contracts valued at $750M and $495M respectively. The recently awarded DREN 4 contract will create a new wide area network with enhancements in bandwidth, performance and security for DoD research, test and engineering data in-transit across the country. Transition to the new network is expected to complete in late 2022. Mr. McEldowney assumed his current role in April 2012.

Mr. McEldowney has over 35 years of Air Force civilian service with 27 years of experience supporting the DoD HPCMP in a variety of roles and responsibilities such as program management and team leadership; technology evaluation, acquisition and integration; system and network administration; and supervisory responsibilities. Prior to serving as the Associate Director for Networking, Mr. McEldowney served on the staff of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) DoD Supercomputing Resource Center (DSRC) as Chief of the Advanced Technologies Section at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. In this capacity, he was responsible for the acquisition and integration of next-generation technologies for the AFRL DSRC, including high performance computers, high capacity storage, and high performance networking.

Prior to his roles with the DoD HPCMP, Mr. McEldowney served as an Air Force computer engineer in various capacities for the Aeronautical System Center (ASC), 88th Communications Group (CG), Acquisition Logistics Division (ALD), and HQ Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC), all at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH.

Mr. McEldowney is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society (IEEE-CS), and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on High Performance Computing (SIGHPC). Mr. McEldowney has served on the Executive Committee of the annual co-sponsored IEEE-CS and ACM Supercomputing Conference (SC), as SCinet (Network) Chair in 2009, Finance Chair in 2012, and SC General Chair in 2018. SC18 set records for attendance (13,035), exhibits revenue, and SCinet bandwidth (4 Tbps).

Dr. Scott A. Morton from ERDC/ITL is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of the Royal Aeronautical Society and is an Associate Director of the U.S. DoD High Performance Computing Modernization Program with responsibility for Software across the program, including the Computational Research Engineering Acquisition Tools and Environments (CREATE) Program, the Productivity Enhancement and Training (PET) Program, Institutes, and Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) and Government Off the Shelf (GOTS) software used in the program.

Prior to his current position, Scott was the CREATE Program Manager with responsibility for a suite of twelve physics-based software products for design, virtual test, development, and deployment of Air, Land, and Sea vehicles and weapons systems delivering capabilities to the U.S. Defense Industry in response to prioritized needs of the U.S. Armed Services. He also spent over 10 years as the CREATE Air Vehicles Project Manager and Principal Developer of the Kestrel Fixed Wing Aircraft Product. He received his BS from Parks College of St. Louis University in 1985, and his MS and PhD from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1989 and 1996, respectively. Dr. Morton has specialized in the areas of high angle of attack aerodynamics, aeroelasticity, and computational stability and control in his 37+ year career.