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THE GLOBAL AGENDA FOR AMERICAN ENGINEERING: Proceedings of a Symposium
tasks related to air defense systems. He also became involved in the humanlike behavior of machines, a field now known as artificial intelligence. Early in the 1950s, transistors were becoming available to replace vacuum tubes, thereby enabling smaller computers. Dr. Dinneen was one of the designers of a new general purpose computer that permitted the real-time control of an advanced radar—a novel concept at the time.
After 5 years of research, Dr. Dinneen assumed a more managerial role in the laboratory, functioning as a technical leader. During this period of time, recognizing that improved communication could significantly enhance the nation’s defense capacity, he was extensively involved in the development and deployment of communication satellites. He and his colleagues at the laboratory began to study the idea of using satellites to communicate with aircraft and vehicles. During a 10-year period, they built and launched eight communication satellites that ranged in size from 40 to 2,000 pounds. This process involved not only building a reliable electronics facility for making circuits and testing them for durability under extreme conditions, but also working with launch personnel at the Kennedy Space Center to coordinate the launches. In 1970, he was named director of Lincoln Laboratory, a post he held until 1977.
In 1977, shortly after the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter, Dr. Dinneen was nominated assistant secretary of defense. In this capacity, he was responsible for communications, command and control, and intelligence. During his 4 years at the Department of Defense, he maintained a strong involvement with communication satellites and held primary responsibility for them within the department. He also had oversight responsibility for the Global Positioning System, a navigation system that was designed for both aircraft and ground vehicles and was subsequently advanced to the point where it can be used by individual soldiers on the ground. Dr. Dinneen also was responsible for programs in digital communication that allowed data to be communicated to pilots. This shift initially encountered some resistance from pilots, who were more at ease with the familiar voice communication system; the communication of data, however, reduced the possibilities for pilot error and was more secure and reliable. He initiated a number of international programs and, in extensive negotiations, including two official visits to China, helped set policies for technology transfer to the People’s Republic of China.
In 1981, Dr. Dinneen left the government to join the Honeywell Corporation in Minneapolis. As chief technical officer for the corporation, he worked almost exclusively with civilian products for the first time in his professional life. He was particularly involved with semiconductor operations, including projects to improve control and security systems for homes and buildings. During his tenure at Honeywell, he also sought to link the research laboratories more closely to the business goals and objectives of the company, and established programs to encourage scientists and engineers to excel in applied research, including programs through which scientists and engineers could advance without becoming manag-