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Colonel Richard R. Beckman

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Colonel Richard R. Beckman is the Vice Commander, Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick Space Force Base, Fla. AFTAC operates and maintains the United States Atomic Energy Detection System to monitor foreign compliance with various treaties limiting nuclear testing. The focus of AFTAC’s more than 1,000 professionals is to detect special events in the atmosphere, underwater, underground and in space, to determine if they are nuclear, and to report them to national decision makers.

Colonel Beckman was commissioned in 1999 through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Tulane University. After completing his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering focusing on positioning, navigation, and timing systems for autonomous underwater surveillance systems, he entered active duty in 2001.Colonel Beckman’s career includes multiple assignments spanning the full intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance acquisition life cycle from research and development to
sustainment. His assignments include Research Engineer, Research Branch Chief, Lead Test Engineer, Program Manager, Program Element Monitor, and Materiel Leader. In August 2021, Colonel Beckman transferred from the U.S. Air Force and was sworn into the U.S. Space Force as AFTAC’s first Guardian vice commander in the center’s history. Prior to assuming his current assignment, Colonel Beckman was the Space and Cyber Branch Chief, Capabilities and Acquisition Division, Directorate for Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment, J-8, Joint Staff, Pentagon, Washington, DC. In this role, he was the lead for a $600B+ portfolio encompassing both Department of Defense and Intelligence Community space, cyber and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems.

EDUCATION
1999   Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering Tulane University, New Orleans, La.
2000   Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering Tulane University, New Orleans, La.
2001   Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering Tulane University, New Orleans, La.
2006   Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2007   Air Command and Staff College (correspondence)
2011   Intermediate Development Education, Research Fellow, National Defense Intelligence College,
           Washington D.C.
2014   Air War College (correspondence)
2018   Master of Strategic Studies, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

ASSIGNMENTS
1. May 1999 – July 2001, Student, Air Force Institute of Technology, Distance Learning Program, Tulane University, New Orleans, La.
2. July 2001 – November 2003, Program Manager, Navigation Warfare Technology, Sensors Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
3. November 2003 – January 2005, Atmospheric and Navigation Research Scientist, Communications Directorate, National Reconnaissance Office, Washington D.C.
4. January 2005 – June 2006, Information Applications Program Manager, Communications Directorate, National Reconnaissance Office, Washington D.C.
5. June 2006 – November 2007, Branch Chief, Intelligence Network Technology, Communications Directorate, National Reconnaissance Office, Washington D.C.
6. November 2007 – April 2009, Program Manager, Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload, 659th Aeronautical Systems Squadron, Wright Patterson AFB Ohio
7. April 2009 – August 2010, Deputy Director, SIGINT programs, 659th Aeronautical Systems Squadron, Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio
8. August 2010 – July 2011, IDE Research Fellow, National Defense Intelligence College, Washington, D.C.
9. July 2011 – July 2014, Branch Chief, Medium and High Altitude UAS, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Washington, D.C.
10. July 2014 - June 2017, Material Leader, Next Generation Operational Control Segment, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Air Force Space Command, Los Angeles AFB, Ca.
11. July 2017 – June 2018, Air War College Student, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
12. July 2018 – July 2021, Space and Cyber Branch Chief, Capabilities and Acquisition Division, Directorate for Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment, J-8, Joint Staff, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
13. August 2021 – Present, Vice Commander, AFTAC, Patrick SFB, Fla.

SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. July 2018 – July 2021, Chief, Space/C4 Branch, Joint Chiefs of Staff (J8), Pentagon, Washington, D.C., as a lieutenant colonel and colonel

MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal
Joint Service Achievement Medal

OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS
2001 U.S. Patent 6,256,264, Localization of a Submerged Tow Vehicle
2004 U.S. Patent 6,819,984, A Positioning System for Underwater Vessels
2005 Director’s Circle Award for Leadership, National Reconnaissance Office
2007 Medal for Superior Service (Silver), National Reconnaissance Office
2009 Association of Old Crows, A.C. McMullin Test and Evaluation National Award
2017 Rotary National Award for Space Achievement, Stellar Award

EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant          May 14, 1999
First Lieutenant               June 14, 2001
Captain                           June 14, 2003
Major                               April 1, 2009
Lieutenant Colonel         Oct. 1, 2014
Colonel                           Sept. 1, 2020

(Current as of August 2021)