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A FORCE WITH A GLOBAL VIEW

We are America’s nuclear watch dog, dedicated to monitoring, detecting, and reporting data from foreign nuclear explosions or accidents.

North Korea’s recent nuclear tests and provocations are in the news. We’re the group that detected and analyzed data from our monitoring and sensing stations around the world that confirmed a nuclear test.

Simply put, AFTAC performs nuclear treaty monitoring and nuclear event detection by operating and maintaining the U.S. Atomic Energy Detection System (USAEDS). Consisting of a global network of more than 3,600 sensors monitored around the clock, USAEDS is the largest sensor network in the U.S. Air Force.

AFTAC provides quality technical measurements to monitor nuclear treaty compliance and develops advanced proliferation monitoring technologies to preserve our nation’s security. 

Once a disturbance is detected underground, underwater, in the atmosphere, or in space, the event is analyzed for nuclear identification and the findings are reported to national and command authorities.

Technicians in a research lab

Our mission extends beyond nuclear testing and includes nuclear accidents. After the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant accident in Japan we monitored the extent of the radioactive releases and collaborated with Japanese and other international authorities to analyze and monitor the disaster.

AFTAC also performs research and development of new proliferation detection technologies to enhance or assist treaty verification to limit the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Our advanced array of sensors, monitoring stations, and technological advances is manned by a team of 1,000 dedicated and highly educated professionals, scientists, engineers, and trained specialists. Thinkers, innovators, analysts, administrators—all at the service of our national security in this age of nuclear proliferation.


AFTAC hockey stuns Canadian Embassy in D.C. thriller

February 18, 2020

On a weekend historically dedicated to tailgate parties, million-dollar TV commercials, puppy bowls and halftime extravaganzas, members of the Air

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On a weekend historically dedicated to tailgate parties, million-dollar TV commercials, puppy bowls and halftime extravaganzas, members of the Air Force Technical Applications Center hockey team traveled to Washington, D.C., Super Bowl weekend to face off against the Canadian Embassy, a first for the Florida-based club.

Read more here

X-file solved? Truth behind Roswell ‘alien’ that made a woman faint

February 10, 2020

After taking off from Roswell, Walter Singlevich’s military helicopter flew across the dusty New Mexico plains to his top-secret Cold

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After taking off from Roswell, Walter Singlevich’s military helicopter flew across the dusty New Mexico plains to his top-secret Cold War-era target: a silvery balloon equipped to detect nuclear detonations that lay sprawled atop a knoll near a rural ranch house.

Read more here.

AFTAC hosts 5th annual WiSE Symposium

February 5, 2020

By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs  PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. –Continuing a five-year tradition, the Air Force Technical

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By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs 

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. –Continuing a five-year tradition, the Air Force Technical Applications Center held its annual Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Symposium Jan. 21-23, 2020 to highlight the value that gender diversity brings to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math workforce.

The first two days of the event were dedicated to guest speakers, breakout sessions and exhibitor information tables. On day three, various interactive demonstrations were on display for students across Brevard County who traveled to the convention center for Pioneer Day.

Students at WiSE Symposium

Women in Science and Engineering Symposium 2020

Keynote speakers included Dr. Toby Daly-Engle, professor of Ocean Engineering and Marine Sciences at the Florida Institute of Technology; Dr. Gioia Mass, NASA project scientist and plant scientist at Kennedy Space Center; Dr. Hope Hubbard, hepatologist and associate professor of medicine at the University of Texas/San Antonio; NaShara Mitchell, success advocate and motivational speaker; and Dr. Sioban Malany, associate professor at the University of Florida and founder of Micro-gRx.

This year’s symposium was aimed at inspiring the next generation of STEM enthusiasts through interactive demonstrations, inspirational speakers and networking opportunities. The theme for the symposium was “Create What You Wish Existed” to encourage young attendees to act on their innovative thoughts.

Col. Chad Hartman, AFTAC’s commander, altered the STEM acronym to STEAM to include the Arts – humanities, language, music, design, graphic arts, dance, drama and new media, just to name a few.

“In this day and age, STEAM initiatives give students the opportunity to learn creatively using 21st century concepts, skills and tools,” said Hartman. “By including the Arts, we can dispel the myth that the ‘hard science’ interdisciplines are separate, when truly they’re not. Diversity of thought is vital to strategic problem solving, and that includes the Arts.”

Originally, the symposium was scheduled for September 2018, but due to Hurricane Dorian, it was rescheduled to January 2020.

Daly-Engle’s presentation on sharks and their importance to the marine ecosystem kept the audience entertained and informed. As one of the first and few women in her field, she understands the importance of events like WiSE.

“If you’re the only female in a group of men, there is a lot of pressure to perform at a higher level,” she said. “Throw in the pressures of balancing life’s demands like the desire to have a family and a career at the same time, and it makes it doubly hard for women. But it shouldn’t have to be a conflict – we as women have earned the right to work, stay home or do both!”

Makaia Fernandez, a 12-year-old home schooler, attended all three days of the symposium and seemed to thoroughly enjoy herself.

“I really like science and I thought this would be a great place to learn more about it,” the 7th-grader said. “I really liked the presentation about growing plants in space – that was really interesting!”

Her brother Eli added, “The fossils of megalodon teeth were so cool! I thought I wanted to be a gaming coder when I get older, but now I think I want to be a paleontology coder!”

Since its inception in 2014, the symposium has seen more than 1,100 people attend the event. This year was no exception.

“The team of volunteers who put this event together worked countless hours to make it a success,” said Capt. Brittany Karsten, WiSE senior project officer. “Last September, Hurricane Dorian sidetracked our original program, but we all came together as a cohesive group to reschedule as quickly as possible and expose our local community to phenomenal guest speakers, informative exhibits and exciting STEM demonstrations. We hope everyone who attended had a great experience and left with a better understanding of the significance of diversity in STEM and how it plays an essential role in the future of our nation.”

WiSE was established in 2013 to bring attention to and highlight the value that gender diversity brings to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics workforce. It also focuses on encouraging mentorship and networking opportunities for those interested in pursuing and excelling in STEAM careers.

After extending his thanks to all the guest speakers, exhibitors, volunteers and participants, Hartman said he plans to continue the tradition of hosting WiSE while opening the program’s aperture for years to come.

“When WiSE first began, it was centrally focused on women in the hard science workforce,” he said. “That will always be a central aspect of WiSE, but it is also time to expand and broaden the experience beyond its original focus. So be on the lookout for exciting new changes to the program when we schedule the next symposium.”

This article was originally published here.

VCSAF meets with nuclear scientists, engineers about future operations

December 6, 2019

By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen

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By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. —

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen W. “Seve” Wilson paid a visit to the Air Force Technical Applications Center here Dec. 4 to meet with nuclear scientists and engineers about their role in global nuclear deterrence and nonproliferation.

Wilson was accompanied by Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration and escorted by Col. Brande H. Walton, Vice Commander of the 45th Space Wing.

The purpose of the visit was to give the visiting Air Force senior leaders an opportunity to discuss future operations and algorithmic warfare – the method by which battles are fought using artificial intelligence and machine learning as a weapon system – with members of the Department of Defense’s sole nuclear treaty monitoring center and the U.S.’s technical surveillance center of excellence.

During an in-depth classified mission briefing, the generals sat down to hear from AFTAC experts who discussed their advanced modeling capability and how environmental modeling and simulation plays a critical role in how the center provides direct technical, analytical and evaluative scientific data to national decision makers.

The briefers talked how they are taking steps to master the digital environment through what AFTAC calls its “Algorithm Factory.”

“AFTAC is making every effort to modernize and improve our capabilities,” said Col. Chad Hartman, AFTAC commander.  “Whether it’s through strategic integration, development ops or cloud architecture, we are setting the pace and leading the way.  To accomplish that, we let machines do what machines do best so we can free up our Airmen to do what they do best – innovate, think critically and effectively, and address our nation’s wicked problems.”

Wilson was impressed with what he heard and saw from the center’s top scientists.

“AFTAC has some really smart people here who have come up with solutions to some very hard problems,” Wilson said.  “You think differently.  You’re driven.  You develop novel ways to get after the tough challenges we face, and I am really impressed with your innovative spirit.  AFTAC is on the cutting edge of all things nuclear and my words of wisdom to you are simple:  push it up!”

At the conclusion of the briefing, the general recognized two members of the AFTAC team as outstanding performers and coined each of them for their work:  Master Sgt. Ryan Doss and Tech. Sgt. Alissa Garnett.

Wilson also held a “State of the Force” Town Hall meeting for all base personnel and took questions from Airmen.  Much of his briefing focused on who senior defense officials believe is the United States’ biggest foe:  China.

“We have never faced an adversary like China,” Wilson said.  “We must continue to deter and compete against this near-peer adversary, whether that be economically, academically or militarily.”

An Airman asked the general for an update on “The Air Force We Need” initiative, and the vice chief spoke about how the Air Force is executing the initiative.  “One of the ways we’re addressing our challenges,” he said, “is how we recruit, retain and encourage our single most important weapon system, our people.”

Wilson continued, “When Congressional leaders ask me what we need as a force, I never hesitate with my response.  I tell them we need more people – bright, innovative young minds willing to carry us well into the 21st century.  We’ll always need more ‘stuff’ – aircraft, equipment, materiel, etc. – but it’s the people who are our number one priority.”

As he closed out the Town Hall, Wilson said, “What you’re doing here is incredibly important and I want you to know that your dedication is recognized and appreciated by Secretary (Barbara) Barrett and (Air Force Chief of Staff) General (David) Goldfein.  You’re all doing a fantastic job for our Air Force and our nation, so go out there knowing that we’ve got your back.”

Experts from AFTAC travel to Georgia for STEMversity

September 11, 2019

In an effort to foster the betterment of underserved minority middle and high school students, members of the Air Force

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In an effort to foster the betterment of underserved minority middle and high school students, members of the Air Force Technical Applications Center here traveled to Georgia recently to serve as mentors at STEMversity. Read more here.

International, technical partnership continues to flourish

July 31, 2019

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. Since 1996, the Air Force Technical Applications Center here and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization

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PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.
Since 1996, the Air Force Technical Applications Center here and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission in Vienna have shared a long-term working relationship with the same vital goal in mind: global nuclear nonproliferation

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Two distinguished executives receive Presidential Rank Awards

July 11, 2019

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.Two senior executives from the Air Force Technical Applications Center here were recognized with Presidential Rank

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PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.
Two senior executives from the Air Force Technical Applications Center here were recognized with Presidential Rank Awards at a ceremony June 20 held at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. Read more here

Secret lab at Patrick Air Force Base watches for nuclear explosions worldwide, protecting United States

April 11, 2019

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASEInside a secretive Patrick Air Force Base laboratory, Airman 1st Class Cynthia A. Schroll prepares batches of complex

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PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE
Inside a secretive Patrick Air Force Base laboratory, Airman 1st Class Cynthia A. Schroll prepares batches of complex chemicals alongside futuristic-looking fume hoods and a white cabinet labeled “Acid” in large red letters. Read more here

Using dynamite and TNT to enhance nuclear mission

April 9, 2019

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla.With the assistance and expertise of explosive ordnance disposal Airmen from the 45th Civil Engineer

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CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla.
With the assistance and expertise of explosive ordnance disposal Airmen from the 45th Civil Engineer Squadron, AFTAC’s Systems Development Directorate personnel tested a new system to determine if their creative ingenuity could be operationally deployed in the field. Read more here

Divisional wins lead to state competition for AFTAC mentors

April 4, 2019

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, FlaThe teams of two Air Force Technical Applications Center mentors will compete in the Odyssey of

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PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla
The teams of two Air Force Technical Applications Center mentors will compete in the Odyssey of the Mind state competition April 6 at the University of Central Florida campus in Orlando. Read more here.

Congressional staffers learn about AFTAC’s heritage, mission

March 8, 2019

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. Three members of U.S. Rep. Bill Posey’s (FL-8) office visited the Air Force Technical Applications

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PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.

Three members of U.S. Rep. Bill Posey’s (FL-8) office visited the Air Force Technical Applications Center March 4 to learn more about the center’s rich history and heritage. Read more here.

USAF Spark Tank finalists, winner visit AFTAC

March 7, 2019

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. Finalists from the 2019 Air Force Spark Tank competition visited the Air Force Technical Applications

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PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.

Finalists from the 2019 Air Force Spark Tank competition visited the Air Force Technical Applications Center here March 1 to meet with members of the center’s Innovation Lab and observe how failure has led to success for the nuclear treaty monitoring organization. Read more here

AFTAC molecular biologist represents Air Force at SWE18 conference

November 6, 2018

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. A molecular biologist assigned to the Air Force Technical Applications Center here represented the Air

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PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.

A molecular biologist assigned to the Air Force Technical Applications Center here represented the Air Force at the Society of Women Engineers’ annual conference Oct. 18-20, 2018 in Minneapolis.


Julia Ignacek, deputy director of AFTAC’s Strategic Integration Directorate, was invited to serve as a panelist during a session entitled, “Leading Innovation in the Public Sector: Perspectives from NASA, the Army and the Air Force.” Read more here.

Musical Tesla Coil, 3-D printer draws crowd at Science Bowl

October 2, 2018

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.With the help of members of the Air Force Technical Applications Center, children and adults alike

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PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.
With the help of members of the Air Force Technical Applications Center, children and adults alike were drawn to synchronized music emanating from a Tesla coil on display at the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers annual conference Sept. 17-18 in Orlando. Read more here.

Breaking the STEM mold, one woman at a time

August 24, 2018

AFTAC Public Affairs OfficeStaff Sgt. Terica Clewis has been assigned to the Air Force Technical Applications Center performing various roles

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AFTAC Public Affairs Office
Staff Sgt. Terica Clewis has been assigned to the Air Force Technical Applications Center performing various roles for the past three years. Her current duties include designing innovated software systems that assist center personnel (as well as the rest of the Air Force) efficiently manage, store and process large-scale data. Read more here.

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