2014 Chris Geswender

We are honored to award the Johnson trophy to a technical innovator, leader and mentor who helped shape a generation of precision systems, and younger engineers who continue with their own contributions. His background in physics and deep insights into how systems evolve through development and deployment allowed him to solve many fundamental issues with Micro Electro Mechanical (MEMs) IMU technology. He became the “go-to guy” for Raytheon and its many customers, acting as an honest broker for MEMS IMU applications, advancing the state-of-the-art for this critical technology by developing pragmatic criteria for its use. Mr. Geswender’s legacy includes three generations of Guidance and Control engineers that he mentored. His normal way of operating always included reaching out to young engineers who shared his passion for helping the Warfighter and exhibited the potential to grasp complex multi-dimensional problems.  He would work with them tirelessly, urging them to go further in their analyses until they uncovered the nugget of ground truth based in the physics of the situation. In this way they discovered their potential and were able to move confidently forward in their careers.

Mr. Geswender was born in 1949 to a military family and spent his youth continuously moving from one base to another.  Unlike many, he thought he was lucky to live in so many different locations and it was instrumental in his belief that problems can always be solved. Mr. Geswender graduated in 1972 with a double degree in Physics/Math from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. His first job was with the US Navy in the Fleet Ballistic Submarine office in Dahlgren Virginia where he worked on simulation development for the Poseidon C3 missile and associated fire control software for same. He developed an interest in real time simulation and went over to the Electro Magnetics Effects group to develop real time simulations for US and Soviet missiles. Upon the birth of his daughter Katrina, it was decided to move closer to the grandparents and he went to work at Texas Instruments, initially on the development of a real time digital simulation for the HARM missile. He assisted the Guidance design group to the point he was a full time Guidance and Control engineer for the HARM missile. At this point he transitioned from individual contributor to program leadership for 3 other missile programs. His son Eric was born while at TI. He stayed in that capacity until an opportunity for a foreign assignment in Germany presented itself. He transferred to TI, GmbH and went to work in Germany, developing the specification for the Euro-fighter EW bus and leading both the HARM integration team and the ELS integration team on the TORNADO. Upon return to the US and TI, Inc, he worked on IIR based guidance on the Autonomous Guidance for Conventional Weapons (AGCW) program and helping with similar proprietary programs. AGCW was the first program to successfully demonstrate in-flight autonomous target acquisition and successful guidance to impact. Upon successfully completion of the AGCW program, he went to the JSOW program. There he integrated the JSOW onto a number of USAF aircraft and lead the team for JSOW “first flight” for the USN. While working JSOW, an opportunity came to join the team altering the glide JSOW to a cruise missile. He joined as part of the senior leadership that successfully did the demonstration. While Chris had worked with Dick Johnson, before, this project provided an opportunity to work more closely with and learn from him. Raytheon had won a contract to develop guided projectiles, and he went to work on that technology. He has lead teams that have successfully demonstrated over 4 different guided projectile concepts. At this point he transition from leader to leader/mentor and redirected to smaller concept exploration programs offering a better environment for training engineers in the art of weapons design, rather than managing their efforts and having to force corrections to design errors. In this role, the teams developed successful architectures and designs for; Medium Range Munition, the DAGGER guided mortar, the PERM guided mortar, the Advanced Improved Intercept Initiative (AI3) interceptor missile, and other concepts. 

Because these contributions transcend a single program; have been widely felt by the warfighters who defend the United States; have influenced other technologists, have made precision strike systems more widely available to warfighters who defend the United States; comprise a record of innovation found in publications and public domain sources; include contributions outside the field of precision strike; and include recognition of his accomplishments by other awards and honors; the precision Strike Association is proud to name Mr. Chris Geswender as the recipient of the sixth annual Richard H. Johnson Technical Achievement Award and the 2014 Johnson Trophy.
October 22, 2014