Bio - Walt Smith
Born in Knoxville, TN, he graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1983, majoring in physics. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1981 and entered active duty upon graduation in 1983. Upon completion of the Basic Infantry Officer Course, Ft. Benning, GA, he was ordered to West Germany where he served as an infantry platoon leader, battalion air operations officer and battalion logistics officer with 1st Battalion, 52nd Infantry, 1st Armored Division. While overseas he was promoted to Captain in 1986.
Returning to the United States in 1987 he was transferred from Infantry to Special Forces Branch. After completion of the Signal Officer Advanced Course at Ft. Gordon ,GA he was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Ft. Bragg, N.C., where he commanded a Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha. In March 1990 he completed the Combined Arms Services Staff School at Ft. Leavenworth, KS. In April of 1990 he was selected for advanced civil schooling, with a subsequent assignment to the Department of Physics, United States Military Academy at West Point. In 1992 he received a Master of Science degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, again majoring in physics, and reported to the United States Military Academy as an Instructor of Physics in June of 1992. After completion of his first year of instructor duty he was invited to work with the Conflict Simulation Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Livermore, CA for the summer semester, where he collaborated with LLNL scientist in the development of entity level combat simulations using neural network and fuzzy control algorithms.
In August 1993, he made the decision to further pursue academic interests, and resigned from the U.S. Army. During his 10 years of commissioned service he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Special Forces Tab, Army Expert Infantryman Badge, and Army Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge and various other service commendations and awards.
Receiving a graduate fellowship in Scientific Computing from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1993, he began a five year Ph.D. program in computational physics, mathematics, and computer science. During this period he also developed a simulation software application that provided the impetus for a small business startup. In the company he formed he served as president for two years and board member for three. As a result of his academic pursuits he was offered and accepted employment with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in 1995. As a basic research scientist for the laboratory he developed remote sensing algorithms using neural networks, fuzzy controller, and other adaptive algorithm constructs as well as investigating the use of leading edge visualization techniques for military mission planning, analysis, preview and rehearsal and training. He was promoted to Head, National Systems Section, Remote Sensing Branch, Oceanography Division in 1998 where he managed basic and applied research programs and projects.
In May 1999 he received a Ph.D. in Scientific Computing from the University of Southern Mississippi. He left government service in January 2000 and joined Litton TASC, a leading systems engineering and intelligence systems defense contractor. He was initially assigned responsibility for establishing a new business presence for Litton TASC at Stennis Space Center, MS. Under Dr. Smith’s leadership the TASC office at Stennis Space Center grew to such an extent that it required a new facility which Dr Smith opened on August 7, 2001. Dr. Smith was promoted to department manager in October 2001 and managed offices in Ft. Walton Beach, Fl and Stennis Space Center, MS. Litton TASC was purchased in 2002 by Northrop Grumman Corporation.
In June of 2003 he joined Radiance Technologies. During his 3 year tenure with Radiance Technologies he served as the Technical Director and Marketing Director for Gulf Coast Operations. Dr. Smith was selected to lead a joint civilian-military operational test team to Iraq in 2004 for an Operational Test of Radiance’s flagship product, a gunfire detection system named Weapons Surveillance System (WSS). As a result of Dr. Smith’s accomplishments in Iraq he received a commendation from LTG Larry Dodgen, Commander Space and Missile Defense Command for his leadership, technical accomplishments and training of US Forces in the use of new technology that will “impact current operations”.
Upon his return from Iraq he resumed his duties as Technical Director of Gulf Coast Operations. As technical director he directed a multi year $4.5M program sponsored by Space and Missile Defense Command. The program leveraged Dr. Smith’s extensive remote sensing algorithm development experience as a Naval Research Laboratory Primary Investigator and Section Head for remote sensing algorithm development using NTM systems and data. Dr. Smith led a team of Radiance technical staff, and subcontracted algorithm development experts to identify multi/hyperspectral algorithms that could be developed for use on UAV platforms for real time target ID capability.
While serving as Technical and Marketing Director for the Gulf Coast Operations Dr. Smith leveraged his extensive prior Special Operations Forces background and his on-the-ground expereince in Iraq helping to plan and integrate perimeter security technology solutions, to develop a leading edge perimeter security concept for the U.S. Air Force. Dr. Smith and his team wrote a BAA proposal and the program concept was funded in 2005 under PE 0603228D8Z as Persistent Perimeter Security Unmanned Systems and designed around the technologies Dr Smith had helped develop, and that he had tested in the combat environment of Iraq. The concept is now under active development by the Air Force at Tyndall Air Force Base by AFRL.
Dr. Smith decided in May of 2006 to pursue other opportunities and joined a venture capital group for a short period. In January of 2007 he incorporated his own company, Downrange Operations and Training, LLC. The company is focused on providing technology, training, operations, logistics, process design and development to US government agencies and commercial customers. Dr. Smith is currently the President/CEO of Downrange Operations & Training, LLC.