Air Force Research Laboratory Names New Directed Energy Director

KIRTLAND AFB-Air Force Research Laboratory has named Dr. Kelly D. Hammett as the new director of its Directed Energy Directorate located on Kirtland Air Force Base. In addition, Hammett is being promoted to the Senior Executive Service, the highest classification of civil service employees.

Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello, Commander of AFRL, travelled to Albuquerque to preside over the promotion ceremony on Monday, April 25.

AFRL’s Directed Energy Directorate is charged with developing, testing, and transitioning directed energy technologies for the U.S. Air Force. The Department of Defense considers directed energy a game changing technology with the potential to transform the battle space.

Hammett is one of the country’s leading experts on directed energy technology, having served in various leadership posts in AFRL spanning a total of 14 years. Most recently, he served as AFRL Directed Energy Directorate’s Chief Engineer.  Hammett came to AFRL after a 20-year active duty Air Force career which focused mainly on directed energy weapons system technology development and acquisition.

“It is an honor to be selected to lead the AFRL Directed Energy Directorate. The directorate has an extraordinary legacy in achieving groundbreaking advances in directed energy technology, and I eagerly embrace the challenge of transitioning these technologies to our Air Force warfighters,” Dr. Hammett said. “I look forward to leading the internationally acclaimed scientists and engineers and skilled staff as we continue our advancement of technology that supports the defense of our nation.” 

Hammett holds a BS in aerospace engineering from the University Oklahoma, an MS in aeronautics/astronautics from MIT, and a PhD from the Air Force Institute of Technology, where he specialized in Optimal and Nonlinear Control and Estimation Theory.

Directed Energy is one of two AFRL directorates located at Kirtland AFB. The other being Space Vehicles.  Collectively, they are referred to as AFRL New Mexico.  Directed Energy, alone, has an annual budget of $230 million and employs 960 military, civilian and contractor employees.