By Bob Shane
In a change-of-command ceremony on April 29, Colonel Daniel Walker took command of the Air Force Research Lab located at Williams Gateway Airport in East Mesa, Ariz. Walker was most recently chief of the Nuclear Policy Division, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate for the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C.
The division assists in the formulation of national nuclear weapons policy, including guidance for general and limited employment of strategic and non-strategic forces. Born in Whitesboro, N.Y., Walker graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1980 with a BS in biological science. He also holds four masters degrees.
Walker succeeds Colonel Curtis Papke, who headed up the research lab for the past three years. Papke served as a U.S. Air Force command pilot, with over 2,900 flying hours.
“The Air Force asked me to come out here because of my operational and educational background,” said Walker.
Coming from the Pentagon, he hopes to put training systems together that move away from flying to a more operational perspective.
The Warfighter Training Research Division of the Air Force Research Laboratory is the premier source of training concepts for today’s and tomorrow’s Air Force. World-class division scientists, engineers and computer specialists work together to develop state-of-the-art training technologies and methods. With a staff of 200 military personnel, civilian government workers and outside contractors, the division has developed the most sophisticated and realistic flight simulators in the world. Pilots training in the simulators can engage and shoot down enemy aircraft, fly formation with other fighters and even aerial refuel with unparalleled realism.