Michael Wicks

Contact Information

  • Email: Michael Wicks
  • Phone: 937-229-3611
  • Location: Kettering Laboratories Room 341

Michael Wicks

Ohio Research Scholar Endowed Chair in Sensor Exploitation and Fusion; Distinguished Research Engineer, University of Dayton Research Institute

  • Full-Time Faculty


Dr. Wicks was the U.S. Air Force Senior Scientist for Sensors Signal Processing, specializing in the science and technology needed for superior air and space systems for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), precision engagement, and electronic warfare. His work involved developing and exploring concepts in signal processing algorithms for detection, discrimination, identification, track processing, and the control of distributed sensors, for advanced surface, air, and space systems. His technical expertise encompasses detection and estimation theory, space-time adaptive processing (STAP), development of advanced concepts and mathematical analysis in systems engineering. His research also includes cognitive radar, polarimetric signal processing, inverse synthetic aperture radar imaging, knowledge-base applications to radar signal processing, concealed weapons detection / through-the-wall surveillance, ground-penetrating radar (targets under cover), bistatic radar, distributed sensors and systems, integrated ISR, multi-sensor fusion, ultra-wideband radar, waveform diversity, and multi-disciplinary systems engineering, all leading to the development of fully adaptive radar. He has supervised doctoral students in waveform diversity, STAP, and distributed sensing from the University College London, the University of Illinois, AFIT, and Syracuse University. Additionally, he has mentored numerous technical staff members from industry, academia and government via his in-house research activities. He has established and contributed to international teams to facilitate the development and insertion of new technologies into future and fielded sensor systems initiated through his sponsored NATO activity.

Dr. Wicks is a member of several professional societies including the IEEE. In 1998, he was elevated to the grade of IEEE Fellow, one of only a handful of people to achieve that milestone before the age of 40.

As an internationally recognized expert in surveillance and radar signal processing, Dr. Wicks has been invited to speak as a keynote/plenary at events worldwide: the 2010 IEEE International Conference on Waveform Diversity and Design in Niagara Falls Canada, the IEEE 2010 Cognitive Information Processing Workshop in Elba Italy, the IET 2007 Waveform Diversity Workshop in London, UK, the IEEE 2003 International Radar Conference in Australia, the 1998 DSTL Radar Clutter Workshop in Adelaide Australia.

He has been a contributing author to three books: Principles of Waveform Diversity and Design (2010), Smart Antennas (2003), and Wavelet Applications in Engineering Electromagnetics (2002), as well as many book chapters. He has been awarded 14 U.S. patents in the areas of antennas, waveforms, radar systems and radar signal processing. He has authored or co-authored over 300 papers and technical reports, including more than 50 refereed journal papers. His published articles on Knowledge-Based Systems for Adaptive Radar in the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine in January 2006 were among the top downloads for IEEEXplore for that year. An accurate measure of the scientific productivity and the impact of Dr. Wicks’ research is his h-index of 18.

Over his career, Dr. Wicks conceived of, conducted, supervised, and directed research in all aspects of radar signal processing. Over two decades ago, he initiated research efforts investigating the potential for significant improvements in enterprise wide performance by bringing all sources of data/information/knowledge into the formulation of a comprehensive signal, image and data processing solution to the remote sensing problem from a radar centric perspective. The sources being exploited in this technology development included passive and active radar, EO/IR sensors, exploitation of real time and archival information, including cultural and geographical data that characterize natural formations and man-made structures, census data, and dynamic population information. Furthermore, this approach draws upon multi-intelligence sources, including cyber and communications, in order to formulate the best technical solutions to the integrated sensing problem. More often than not, cues from cyber and communications will drive radar sensing modalities, but radar sensors also drive communications and cyber exploitation in this research. This comprehensive approach builds upon his extensive research in Knowledge-Base STAP (KB-STAP), where he successfully merged algorithmic and heuristic signal and data processing into a new paradigm, one in which mathematical rigor was fully compatible with “intuition-base” decision making about key parameters and factors as in game theory. His research in KB-STAP was foundational to the creation of a new signal processing architecture (DARPA-funded) that enables major weapons systems to perform multiple integrated ISR functions simultaneously and autonomously.

In support of fully adaptive radar, Dr. Wicks initiated a number of research areas, some of which were elaborated upon above, including integrated waveform diversity and STAP for full adaptivity on transmit and receive, and Sensors as Robots (his integrating ISR concept across distributed and heterogeneous sensor systems). He extended waveform diversity and knowledge base control of algorithms to include geometric/geographical diversity (position and navigation control). The success of Sensors as Robots permits “action at a distance without human intervention,” even in difficult and dynamic environments. The goal of this research was to develop a cost effective and extendable approach for providing integrated ISR for a variety of applications in dynamically changing military and civilian environments. Fully adaptive radar is his architecture for integrating processing, exploitation, and dissemination (PED) of all source data automatically, driven by the need for absolute certainty before engaging, and all from a uniquely radar centric perspective.


  • M.A., Public Administration, 2000, Syracuse University
  • Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, 1995, Syracuse University
  • M.S., Electrical Engineering, 1985, Syracuse University
  • BSEE, Rensselaer Polytechnic institute, 1981
  • A.S., Engineering Science, 1979, Mohawk Valley Community College

Work Experience

  • University of Dayton, May 2011 to present
  • Air Force Research Laboratory, Sensors Directorate
  • USAF Work Experience, May 1981 - May 2011
  • Senior Scientist, 2002 – 2011
  • Acting Chief Scientist, January 2005 – July 2005, October 2010 - February 2011
  • Electronic Engineer 1981 - 2002

Selected Honors and Awards

  • IEEE Dennis J. Picard Medal for Radar Technologies and Applications: "For leadership and developments in fully adaptive radar, advanced space-time adaptive processing (STAP), knowledge-based signal processing and waveform diversity," 2013
  • IEEE Warren D. White Award for Excellence in Radar Engineering, 2009
  • IEEE Fred Nathanson Memorial Award for young Engineer of the Year, 1998