WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 12, 2010) - Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems Deputy Project Manager Tim Owings was awarded a Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the highest award given to a DOD civilian, during a Pentagon ceremony Nov. 4.
The prestigious award is presented to a small number of civilian employees whose careers reflect exceptional devotion to duty and extremely significant contributions of broad scope in policy, scientific, technical, or administrative fields of endeavor that have led to increased effectiveness in the operation of DOD.
Upon receiving the award, Owings credited his Army team members serving with him in the Program Executive Office Aviation, Unmanned Systems Project Office.
In his role with PM UAS, Owings has been instrumental in helping the Army develop and deploy new UAS technologies. Along these lines, the award citation states that Owings "demonstrated visionary leadership and unwavering determination in leading and managing the rapidly growing capability that provides commanders with immediate and responsive support in theater. Unmanned aircraft systems are a proven force multiplier that reduced injuries and casualties within high-threat environments."
Also, Owings was a key player in the integration of new technologies and a leader within the Department of Defense for interoperability of UAS systems.
"One of the biggest things we have been able to do inside the Army is push interoperability standards and push proliferation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems. More importantly, we've been able to make sure information gets to the guy that it really matters to - that Soldier on the battlefield that's often living in extreme conditions. Anything we can do to make his or her life a little bit better has been a big accomplishment," Owings said.
The result of such a dynamic is how far Army UAS has come over the last decade. In March 2003, there were only three systems (13 aircraft) deployed in support of then Operation Iraqi Freedom. Today, there are 337 systems (1,013 aircraft) in Iraq and Afghanistan. Army UAS passed the 1 million flight hour mark in May and in November, passed the 1 million combat flight hour mark. The Army employs UAS across all echelons, from platoon level through division/corps, providing dedicated and organic support for tactical commanders and intelligence operations.