SURVICE sadly acknowledges the recent loss of long-time employee and friend Dr. James Walbert. Dr. Walbert, who passed away on October 20th at the age of 74, served as SURVICE’s Chief Scientist for almost a decade and was a widely recognized analyst, educator, and leader in the combat survivability research and development community for more than 40 years.
Before joining SURVICE in 2003, he worked in turn as a mathematician and engineering test director for the U.S. Army Materiel Testing Directorate; as a mathematician, physicist, and branch chief for the U.S. Army Research Laboratory; and as the Chief Scientist for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) Future Combat Systems Program Office. He also served on numerous technical boards and panels, including the Army Science Board, throughout his career.
As SURVICE’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Walbert provided oversight and consultative assistance on all technical aspects of the company’s support contracts and initiatives. Furthermore, he was instrumental in the development of an extensive suite of analytical tools for ballistic data analysis and in the establishment of the company’s Monograph report series to help capture and document the expertise of some of the company’s senior subject-matter experts.
In addition to his sharp intellect and leadership, Dr. Walbert will be remembered for his keen ability to explain complex analytical concepts and for his passion to share his knowledge with other colleagues. He taught advanced mathematics at several different universities for many years, and he developed and taught a popular “Vulnerability/Lethality 101” short course for a wide range of Government and industry practitioners. He also wrote or contributed to many technical reports and papers, including coauthoring the book Fundamentals of Ground Combat System Ballistic Vulnerability/Lethality, which won the Army Research Laboratory’s Publication of the Year award in 2009.
Among Dr. Walbert’s many other awards and honors were the National Defense Industrial Association’s 2011 Walter Hollis and 2013 Arthur Stein lifetime achievement awards, which were presented for his longstanding contributions and accomplishments in research, development, testing, and evaluation.
Dr. Walbert finished his career working on the research staff of the Institute for Defense Analyses. In addition, he was highly active in his Lutheran church and in his local government, ultimately serving as the Vice Mayor, Director of Planning, and member of the town council of Occoquan, VA.
Though he will be greatly missed by his many friends and colleagues, the legacy of his work and life will live on for many years.