American Statistical Association


 Section on Statistics in Defense and National Security

Distinguished Achievement Award

This annual award recognizes an outstanding accomplishment or sustained contribution at the intersection of the statistical profession and national defense.

The 2011 SDNS Distinguished Service Award will be presented at the JSM in Miami Beach, Florida. The principal contact and 2011 SDNS Awards Committee Chair is Dr. Patricia Jacobs ( The requirements for nominations and the details to be addressed in nominations can change each year. For this reason, nominations from previous years are not automatically carried over to the next year and packages for re-nominations should be prepared anew with appropriate modifications and updates of the nominees activities.

Carey E. Priebe
John E. Rolph
Paul Ellner
Donald P. Gaver

2010 Distinguished Achievement Award 

Priebe.jpegThe 2010 recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award of the American Statistical Association Section on Statistics in Defense and National Security (SDNS) is Carey E. Priebe. Carey is Full Professor in the Whiting School of Engineering Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. Professor Priebe received the BS degree in mathematics from Purdue University in 1984, the MS degree in computer science from San Diego State University in 1988, and the PhD degree in information technology (computational statistics) from George Mason University in 1993. From 1985 to 1994, he was a mathematician and scientist in the US Navy research and development laboratory system. Since 1994 he has been a professor at The Johns Hopkins University in the department and school where he is now. It is noteworthy that he holds joint appointments in the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Center for Imaging Science, the Human Language Technology Center of Excellence, and the Whitaker Biomedical Engineering Institute. He is a past President of the Interface Foundation of North America - Computing Science & Statistics, a past Chair of the American Statistical Association Section on Statistical Computing, a past Vice President of the International Association for Statistical Computing, and he is a member of the editorial boards of Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics, Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, and Computational Statistics. His research interests include computational statistics, kernel and mixture estimates, statistical pattern recognition, statistical image analysis, dimensionality reduction, model selection, and statistical inference for high-dimensional and graph data. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE, a Lifetime Member of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, an Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute, and a Fellow of the American Statistical Association. Professor Priebe is a Research Professor in the National Security Institute at the Naval Postgraduate School, and, in 2008, was named one of six inaugural National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellows to conduct research on fusion and interference from multiple and disparate data sources.

The SDNS Distinguished Achievement Award was presented to Professor Priebe at the 2010 Vancouver JSM during the Section business meeting and mixer. The following is the unabbreviated award citation:

"This award is given to Professor Carey Priebe of The Johns Hopkins University for outstanding leadership and accomplishments on research projects for the Navy, Army, Air Force, DARPA and the intelligence community. His prodigious contributions have resulted in solutions to problems at the forefront of both statistics and defense. Specifically noteworthy is his seminal theoretical work on random attributed graphs. Along with his numerous contributions in computer security, methods for target detection and classification and in image segmentation, he is the inventor of a tool for discovering latent classes in high-dimensional data known as the class-cover catch digraph."

The quality, depth and significance of Priebe’s work is clearly reflected and demonstrated in his more than 8o refereed journal papers, numerous patents, 30+ research grants and the professional placement of students who have received and, thereby, benefited from his mentoring.

2009 Distinguished Achievement Award 

Rolph.jpgThe Section on Statistics in Defense and National Security is proud to announce that this year’s Distinguished Achievement Award was given to John E. Rolph, Professor of Statistics at the Marshall School of Business in Los Angeles, California.  The award was presented during the SDNS mixer at JSM.  The award citation reads, “For contributions to the statistics and defense communities, particularly for leadership and service on the Committee on National Statistics in the National Academy of Sciences promoting and improving the use of statistical methods, and more broadly testing and evaluation, in the development of defense systems.”

            While over the course of his career Rolph has served the statistical profession in many and varied ways, the committee found his contributions to improving the practice of statistics within the defense and national security communities particularly noteworthy.  For example, Rolph chaired the Committee on Assessing the Feasibility, Accuracy, and the Technical Capability of a National Ballistics Database, the Panel on Statistical Methods for Testing and Evaluating Defense Systems, and the CNSTAT Workshop on Statistical Issues in Defense Analysis and Testing; he also served on the CNSTAT Panel on the Operational Test Design and Evaluation of the Interim Armored Vehicle and on the Oversight Committee for the Workshop on Statistical Methods in Software Engineering for Defense Systems; in addition, he is currently serving as a member of the Oversight Committee for the Workshop on Industrial Methods for the Effective Test and Development of Defense Systems, all for the National Research Council.

Rolph earned an A.B. in statistics in 1962 and Ph.D. in statistics in 1966, both from the University of California, Berkley.  After a short period in academia, he joined the RAND Corporation as a research statistician in 1969.  At RAND Rolph held increasingly senior positions, including Head of the Statistical Research and Consulting Group, Associate Head of Economics and Statistics Department, and Associate Corporate Research Manager, Social Policy.  In 1995 he left RAND to become chairman of the Information & Operations Management Department at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, a position he held until 2000.  In addition to his position as Professor of Statistics at the Marshall School of Business, Rolph also holds faculty appointments in the USC Law School and Mathematics Department.

Professor Rolph has published over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on the application of statistical methods to fields as diverse as national defense, health policy and law. Among his professional activities, he  served as Chair, Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT), National Academy of Sciences (1998-2004); as editor of CHANCE (1992-1995); and as associate editor for the Journal of Business and Economic Statistics (1981-1991) and the Journal of the American Statistical Association (1972-1977).

The 2009 awards committee consisted of Max Morris (chair), Pat Jacobs and Myron Katzoff.  In February 2010 the awards committee will be soliciting nominations for next year’s award.  In addition to new nominations, the committee strongly encourages nominators whose nominations were not selected this year to resubmit them as nominations are not automatically carried forward.  For more information, contact Myron Katzoff, chair of the 2010 awards committee at

2008 Distinguished Achievement Award 

The Section on Statistics in Defense and National Security is proud to announce that the 2008 Distinguished Achievement Award was given to Dr. Paul Ellner, U.S. Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity (AMSAA). Dr. Ellner was nominated by Dr. David E. Mortin also of AMSAA.

Dr. Ellner received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He joined AMSAA in 1979 and, within his first year, he became the coordinator of the Department of Energy (DOE) - Army methodology working group on nuclear weapons statistics reliability assessment.  The methodology that Dr. Ellner co-developed has been successfully applied to the assessments of multiple DOE-Army nuclear warhead sections.  As an AMSAA analyst, Dr. Ellner then went on to develop multiple new models and statistical methodologies to improve Army and Department of Defense (DoD) reliability growth and reliability testing programs.  Because of his outstanding technical skills and contributions in the area of statistics, he was quickly (by 1985) selected for positions of significant technical responsibility to include Chief of the Reliability Methodology Office and Technical Expert for the Reliability Analysis Branch.  In these positions, Dr. Ellner has developed new statistical and reliability analysis methodologies for improving the reliability of multiple weapon systems, developed advanced computer models used by multiple government organizations and private sector firms, and developed new and innovative approaches for multiple Army and DoD Project Managers and contractors that have substantially contributed to the improvement of their weapon system reliability programs. Dr. has had a long and distinguished career and has been recognized as a leading technical expert in the field of statistics and reliability throughout the Army, DoD, academia and the private sector. SDNS is honored to give him this award.


2007 Distinguished Achievement Award 

The Section on Statistics in Defense and National Security is proud to announce that the 2007 Distinguished Achievement Award was given to Professor Donald P. Gaver, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Operations Research at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.

Professor Gaver is a native of St. Paul, Minnesota. He served in the US Navy as an Electronics Technician and earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from MIT in 1950 and 1951. He spent two years at the US Navy's Operations Group before pursuing his PhD in mathematics at Princeton University. After receiving his PhD in 1956 he was a Professor at Carnegie-Mellon University and a consultant at Westinghouse Research Laboratories. He was co-founder of the Statistics Department at Carnegie-Mellon University, along with Morris EvaliationDeGroot. He joined the Naval Postgraduate School in 1970.

Professor Gaver is fellow of the ASA, IMS and AAAS. He is an elected member of the ISI and Sigmi Chi. His research is in the areas of applied probability modeling and statistical data analysis. He has published over a hundred technical papers. Among his many professional activities, he has served as chair of the ASA Committee on National Security and was the founding Editor-in-Chief of an ASA-SIAM book series on applied probability and statistics. He is a past member of the National Research Council's Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics. While on this committee, he chaired a subcommitee that wrote a comprehensive review entitled "Combining Information," which was published by the National Academy Press. He has served on several NRC panels and he has been a reviewer of reports and handbooks including the NRC Committee Report on te Effect of the Environment on Military Operations and the Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability (RAM) Primer. His research sponsors include the Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force; the Army Missile Command; NAVAIR; the Conventional Weapons Division, J8, of the Joint Staff; and Director, Opertional Test and Evaluation. Professor Gaver has had a long and distinguished career dedicated to promoting statistics in defense and national security. SDNS is honored to give him this award.
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