Researchers and students from Virginia Tech and the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) garnered top honors at the prestigious Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Military Communications Conference held Oct. 30-Nov. 3 in Boston.

Members of Virginia Tech’s Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and National Security Institute were recognized for their cutting-edge work. The Military Communications Conference (MILCOM) is the leading conference of its kind, drawing participants from more than 20 countries. 

“This conference is unique in that it brings together researchers from academia, industry, and military organizations to address critical challenges in military communications,” said CCI Executive Director Luiz DaSilva, who served as the conference's general chair and is the Bradley Professor of Cybersecurity at Virginia Tech. “With more than 900 attendees in unrestricted, restricted, and classified tracks, this year's MILCOM focused on communications in contested environments.” 

Career Achievement Award

R. Michael Buehrer, professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of Wireless@VirginiaTech, brought home the conference’s top award, the 2023 Technical Achievement Award, for his sustained technical contributions to military communications. The award is given each year to a researcher who has “over a long period of time, made many important technical contributions to military communications as evidenced by significant, high-quality, technical publications in the unclassified conference records," according to its description

"It is an honor to receive this award, and I appreciate even being considered for it,” Buehrer said. “As it is a career achievement award, it is really a testament to the fantastic students that I have had over the years. I dedicate this award to them."

Best Paper

Buehrer also is part of the Best Paper winning team, which includes Megan O. Moore and William C. Headley, both of the National Security Institute. The institute was formed in 2021 with the goal of becoming the nation's preeminent academic organization at the nexus of interdisciplinary research, technology, policy, and talent development to advance national security.

Of roughly 235 submitted papers and 125 accepted papers, they won both the Fred. W. Ellersick award for best paper in the unrestricted technical program and as well as the Vanu Bose best paper awards in the unrestricted portion of the conference given by the National Spectrum Consortium.  Both awards were given for their paper, "Time-Diverse Doppler-only LEO PNT." The paper addresses the use of the new satellite mega-constellations such as Starlink, which are designed primarily for internet access as a backup for GPS.

Best Demonstration Paper

CCI researchers and students swept the Best Demonstration Paper awards. CCI, unique in the nation, is a statewide consortium of more than 40 Virginia universities and colleges, and includes a number of  industry and government partners. Its interlocking mission lines — research, workforce development, and innovation — focus on cybersecurity. The CCI Hub, which coordinates the entire network, and the CCI Southwest Virginia Node are based at Virginia Tech.

CCI winners include:

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