Robert Shin receives NDIA Combat Survivability Award for Leadership

Award recognizes Shin’s contributions at Lincoln Laboratory to air vehicle survivability and STEM education in support of national defense.

The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) has recognized Robert T’I. Shin of MIT Lincoln Laboratory with the 2022 Rear Admiral Robert H. Gormley Combat Survivability Award for Leadership.

Shin, principal staff in the laboratory’s Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Tactical Systems divisions and director of the Beaver Works Center , is widely recognized across the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) as a leader in the air vehicle survivability (AVS) community. During his nearly 40-year career, he has led critical AVS evaluation programs and developed prototype airborne radio-frequency, electro-optical, infrared, acoustic, and other systems in support of national defense. Over the past decade, he has championed STEM education, pioneering hands-on programs at the university and high school levels to expose students to career opportunities in national defense.

"I am deeply honored to receive this award," says Shin. "I would like to thank all my colleagues, mentors, and friends in the AVS Evaluation program at Lincoln Laboratory. It’s been a wonderful journey - one that would not have been possible without their support - and I am grateful to be part of this community."

"Bob’s long-standing leadership contributions to the Air Force, the aerospace community, and STEM outreach initiatives make him exceptionally qualified to receive this award," says ISR and Tactical Systems Division Head Marc Viera.

For more than 100 years, NDIA has provided a platform for government, industry, and academia leaders to collaborate and develop solutions for advancing the nation’s national security and defense needs. Each year, NDIA presents awards to individuals and groups who have made major contributions in support of such needs. The Combat Survivability Division annually presents awards to recognize those who have made distinctive achievements in the combat survivability field. The RADM Robert H. Gormley award highlights an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in enhancing overall combat survivability or played a significant role in a major aspect of survivability design, program management, research and development, test and evaluation, modeling and simulation, education, or standards development. 

For much of his career, Shin has provided leadership to the AVS Evaluation program , which assesses vulnerabilities of U.S. Air Force (USAF) vehicles and U.S. space assets to threats. These assessments assist USAF and DoD leaders in making technology development and acquisition decisions. Shin’s team has applied state-of-the-art system modeling and analysis to current and emerging technologies for all major USAF advanced programs.

Beyond his technical leadership, Shin conceived of the concept and helped realize the vision for Beaver Works. Jointly chartered by Lincoln Laboratory and MIT School of Engineering, this center is a nexus for collaboration and innovation, with spaces for concept development, prototype fabrication, and classroom learning. In recognition of his efforts, Shin received the 2014 Irwin Sizer Award for the Most Significant Improvement to MIT Education. In 2016, Shin launched the Beaver Works Summer Institute , a four-week residential program for high schoolers to engage in project-based, workshop-style courses.

Shin joined the laboratory in 1984. Prior to becoming principal staff, Shin headed the ISR and Tactical Systems divisions and previously the Homeland Protection and Tactical Systems Division. Throughout his career, he has held several appointments, including as an Intergovernmental Personnel Act appointee to the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office and as a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. Shin is an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and earned BS, SM, and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from MIT.

Shin was presented with the 2022 RADM Robert H. Gormley Combat Survivability Award for Leadership at NDIA’s Aircraft Survivability Symposium held in early November at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. The other annual Combat Survivability Division Awards are the Combat Survivability Award for Technical Achievement and the Professor Robert E. Ball Young Professional Award for Combat Survivability. Occasionally, the division presents the Lifetime Achievement Award. Several Lincoln Laboratory staff have been recipients of these awards over the years: Hsiu Han (Technical Achievement, 2021), Laura Ross (Young Professional, 2019), Eva Nickelson (Young Professional, 2017), David Ebel (Technical Achievement, 2016), Alan Bernard (Leadership, 2009), and Lew Thurman (Technical Achievement, 2003).

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