Technical Director wins Presidential Rank Award

Col. Michael Harasimowicz, 688th Cyberspace Wing commander, presents the 2012 Distinguished Senior Level Presidential Rank Award to Mr. J. Michael Kretzer, Technical Director for the 688th Cyberspace Wing, Sept. 13 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.  The Presidential rank award is one of the highest honors a senior executive can receive.  (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by 2nd Lt. Meredith Hein)

Col. Michael Harasimowicz, 688th Cyberspace Wing commander, presents the 2012 Distinguished Senior Level Presidential Rank Award to Mr. J. Michael Kretzer, Technical Director for the 688th Cyberspace Wing, Sept. 13 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The Presidential rank award is one of the highest honors a senior executive can receive. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by 2nd Lt. Meredith Hein)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Mr. J. Michael Kretzer, Technical Director for the 688th Cyberspace Wing, was presented the 2012 Distinguished Senior Level Professional Presidential Rank Award during a ceremony Sept. 13 at the Gateway Club, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

This is Kretzer's third Presidential rank award, which is one of the highest honors a senior executive can receive during his or her career.

"Thank you for consistently demonstrating excellence, integrity, innovation, leadership in transformation initiatives, and a relentless commitment to public service," wrote Michael B. Donley, former Secretary of the Air Force.

"I'm obviously quite humbled by the recognition from the president, but more importantly, the award allows me to highlight our organization and its contributions in this mission set," Kretzer said. "I'm extremely proud of the work the 688th has done in the cyberspace mission, and the level of that work and their accomplishments make this recognition possible."

Kretzer distinguished himself in his time at the 688th CW since 2007. He is credited with creating the first ever service-based intrusion protection system, thereby reducing the number of older sensors in the Air Force enterprise and dramatically reducing costs.

"Mr. Kretzer is a titan of innovation," said Col. Michael Harasimowicz, 688th Cyberspace Wing commander. "He has worked in cyberspace-related tasks for over 30 years. I can't imagine the wing without him."

In addition, Kretzer led the first enterprise-based approach to mobile device management for the Department of Defense, which created new constructs for the use of mobile applications in support of military missions.

"The 688th has always been a leader in the cyber environment, but I do truly believe that in most cases when someone comes to us with a problem, we can say with confidence that we've done that before or are doing it or have something almost ready," Kretzer said.
Finally, Kretzer collaborated with several companies through research partnerships to reduce acquisition timelines for various systems from 36 months to 12 months.

"Our ability to link with others in our field has allowed us to accelerate implementation and reduce the time it takes cyber technology and improved processes to reach operational utility," Kretzer said.

Established in 1978, Presidential Rank Awards are given annually to a small group of career members of the Senior Executive Service and senior career employees. Individuals are nominated by their agency heads and go through a rigorous process to be selected.

"Mr. Kretzer has been a soft-spoken, highly intellectual confidant of every commander he has worked for," said Harasimowicz. "The network he maintains with industry, academia and other partner capabilities allows us to excel in these fiscally constrained times we live in."

Kretzer's role as Technical Director includes providing technical guidance and reviewing, evaluating and formulating policies for the commander. In addition, he develops concepts and objectives governing the mission of the 688th CW.

"I'd like to thank everyone in the 688th for helping me to obtain this award," Kretzer said. In particular, I'd like to thank all the commanders I've worked for during this time. They were all fantastic mentors and leaders."

The 688th CW is made up of over 1,200 military and civilian personnel who are responsible for command and control warfare capabilities and supporting operations, campaign planning, cyber acquisition and testing.

"The things the 688th has accomplished in its first four years are commendable," Kretzer said. "And I think my award is a reflection of those great accomplishments."