The United States Air Force Academy has selected Senior Fellow Natalie Crawford as this year's recipient of the Thomas D. White National Defense Award, citing her long-term support of the Academy and her instrumental role in establishing an important and enduring relationship between RAND and the Academy. Natalie has been at RAND since 1964, and served as vice president and director of Project AIR FORCE from 1997 to 2006.
The Academy praised Natalie for her deep, substantive technical and operational knowledge and experience in areas such as conventional weapons, attack and surveillance avionics, fighter and bomber aircraft performance, aircraft survivability, electronic combat, theater missile defense, force modernization, space systems and capabilities, and nonkinetic operations. The Academy further recognized Natalie as a tireless advocate for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) as a critical component of force development. She has been a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board since 1988, and was its vice chairman in 1990 and cochairman from 1996 to 1999.
Named after the 4th Air Force Chief of Staff, the Thomas D. White Award is presented annually to a U.S. citizen who has contributed significantly to U.S. national defense. Early recipients of the award included Edward Teller and Theodore von Karman, and since then, the award has been presented to Presidents, Senators, and a list of the most significant Air Force leaders of the last half century. Very few civilians who have not served in government have received this honor, and every one has been a major figure in the national security industry. Natalie's name will now have a permanent place in Arnold Hall in well-deserved recognition of her tireless service to RAND, the Air Force, and the Academy.
Presentation of the award and a celebration will be held at the Academy on a date still to be determined.