The Symposium & Workshop commenced on Tuesday morning with presentations by the following distinguished keynote speakers who discussed emerging environmental challenges facing the Department of Defense. During the Plenary Session, SERDP and ESTCP announced the annual Project-of-the-Year Awards. 

Dr. John Holdren Presentation
Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Dr. John Holdren is Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Prior to joining the Obama administration, Dr. Holdren was the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy and Director of the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, as well as a professor in Harvard's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Director of the independent, nonprofit Woods Hole Research Center. Previously he was on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, where he co-founded in 1973 and co-led until 1996 the interdisciplinary graduate-degree program in energy and resources. During the Clinton administration, Dr. Holdren served as a member of PCAST through both terms and in that capacity chaired studies requested by President Clinton on preventing theft of nuclear materials, disposition of surplus weapon plutonium, the prospects of fusion energy, U.S. energy R&D strategy, and international cooperation on energy-technology innovation.

Dr. Holdren holds advanced degrees in aerospace engineering and theoretical plasma physics from MIT and Stanford. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a foreign member of the Royal Society of London. He served as a member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Board of Trustees from 1991 to 2005, as Chair of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control from 1994 to 2005, and as Co-Chair of the independent, bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy from 2002 to 2009. A former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, his awards include a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the John Heinz Prize in Public Policy, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and the Volvo Environment Prize. In December 1995 he gave the acceptance lecture for the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, an international organization of scientists and public figures in which he held leadership positions from 1982 to 1997. 

The Honorable Terry Yonkers
Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics

The Honorable Terry Yonkers is the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics, Washington, D.C. Mr. Yonkers is responsible for providing oversight for all matters pertaining to the formulation, review, and execution of plans, policies, programs, and budgets for installations, energy, environment, safety and occupational health as well as weapon systems logistics support.

Mr. Yonkers has more than 35 years experience developing and managing environmental, safety and occupational health (ESOH) programs. This includes 22 years in government and more than 16 years in private industry. Mr. Yonkers has worked extensively within the Department of Defense's planning, programming, budgeting and resource allocation, as well as congressional budgeting processes. As the acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health, he developed strategic policies, guided and oversaw Air Force's ESOH programs worldwide and a $1.5 billion annual appropriation.

As Senior Vice President, Business Development, ARCADIS, Inc., Mr. Yonkers advised government clients on innovative and cost-saving environmental and energy security solutions as well as represented business interests in national forums seeking process improvements to environmental security, energy security, climate change, environmental cleanup and compliance, and property redevelopment.

In 2002, Mr. Yonkers received an Outstanding Civilian Service Award and a Letter of Recognition from the Secretary of the Air Force. His education includes a B.S. in Biology from the University of California, Riverside; a Master’s degree in National Security Studies from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.; and a Master’s of Public Administration from George Mason University. 

Dr. Naomi OreskesPresentation
Historian of Science and Author of Merchants of Doubt, How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco to Global Warming

Dr. Naomi Oreskes is Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego; Adjunct Professor of Geosciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography; and an internationally renowned historian of science and author. Having started her career as a geologist, Professor Oreskes received her B.S. (1st class Honours) from the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College London, and then worked for three years as an exploration geologist in the Australian outback. She returned to the United States to receive an inter-disciplinary Ph.D. in geological research and history of science from Stanford University, in 1991. Professor Oreskes has lectured widely in diverse venues ranging from the Madison, Wisconsin Civics Club to the Air Force Research Laboratory, and has won numerous prizes, including most recently the 2011 Climate Change Communicator of the Year.

Professor Oreskes has a longstanding interest in understanding the establishment of scientific consensus and the role and character of scientific dissent. Her early work examined the 20th century transformation of earth science, in The Rejection Continental Drift: Theory and Method in American Earth Science (Oxford, 1999) and Plate Tectonics: An Insider's History of the Modern Theory of the Earth (Westview, 2001). She has also written on the under-acknowledged role of women in science, discussed in the prize-winning paper "Objectivity or heroism? On the invisibility of women in science" (OSIRIS 11 (1996): 87-113), and on the role of numerical simulation models in establishing knowledge about inaccessible natural phenomena (Verification, validation, and confirmation of numerical models in the earth sciences," Science 263 (1994): 641-646).

For the past decade, Professor Oreskes has primarily been interested in the problem of anthropogenic climate change. Her 2004 essay "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change" (Science 306: 1686) has been widely cited, both in the United States and abroad, including in the Royal Society's publication, "A Guide to Facts and Fictions about Climate Change," in the Academy-award winning film, An Inconvenient Truth, and in Ian McEwan's novel, Solar. Her opinion pieces have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Nature, Science, The New Statesman, and elsewhere. Her 2010 book, Merchants of Doubt, How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco to Global Warming, co-authored with Erik M. Conway, was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Her current research projects include completion of a book on the history of Cold War Oceanography, Science on a Mission: American Oceanography in the Cold War and Beyond (Chicago, forthcoming), and Assessing Assessments: A Historical and Philosophical Study of Scientific Assessments for Environmental Policy in the Late 20th Century, funded by the National Science Foundation. (Full Biosketch) 

Book Signing with Dr. Naomi Oreskes

Tuesday, November 29, 4:30-7:00 p.m., in the Exhibit Hall during the Evening Technical Exchange Reception

Dr. Oreskes was available to greet participants and sign copies of her most recent book Merchants of Doubt, How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco to Global Warming, co-authored with Erik M. Conway. Shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Merchants of Doubt explains how a cadre of influential scientists have clouded public understanding of scientific facts related to tobacco, acid rain, the ozone hole, global warming, and DDT to advance a political and economic agenda. Copies of Merchants of Doubt were available for purchase during the book signing. 

SERDP and ESTCP Project-of-the-Year Awards Presentation

As part of the Plenary Session, SERDP and ESTCP recognized their top researchers with the annual Project-of-the-Year Awards. The Program Directors presented these awards to Principal Investigators in recognition of their outstanding efforts to help DoD achieve its mission while improving its environmental performance.


  • ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION:  Assessing Vapor Intrusion at Chlorinated Solvent-Impacted Sites (Dr. Paul C. Johnson, Arizona State University) – Description, Project Fact Sheet
  • MUNITIONS RESPONSE:  Advanced Signal Processing for UXO Discrimination (Dr. Fridon Shubitidze, Dartmouth College and Sky Research, Inc.) – Description, Project Fact Sheet
  • RESOURCE CONSERVATION & CLIMATE CHANGE:  Forecasting the Effects of Multiple, Interacting Stressors on At-Risk Populations (Dr. Joshua J. Lawler, University of Washington) – Description, Project Fact Sheet
  • WEAPONS SYSTEMS & PLATFORMS:  Combustion Science to Reduce Particulate Matter Emissions for Military Platforms (Dr. Mel Roquemore, Air Force Research Laboratory) – Description, Project Fact Sheet


  • Passive Sampling to Support Remediation Of Contaminated Sediments (Dr. Philip M. Gschwend, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) – Description, Project Fact Sheet