White Sands Missile Range Hall of Fame

Dr. Donald Hoock Jr.
Inducted 2014

 “Effective training entails simulations of possibilities encountered during combat. It is essential to be able to identify and prepare for possible equipment disruptions. Such disruptions can happen due to natural or man-made causes.” – Dr. Donald W. Hoock, Jr.

The Soviet Army in central Europe planned to use smoke and obscurant munitions that would blind the U.S. Army’s sensors and prevent long-range standoff capability. While working with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory at White Sands Missile Range, Dr. Donald W. Hoock, Jr. helped coauthor a computer program that helped deter the Soviet Army’s smoke tactics.

For several years, a model Hoock coauthored was the lead project of the U.S. Army Atmospheric Sciences Laboratory’s Atmospheric Effects division. The Combined Obscuration Model for Battlefield-Induced Contaminants model was coauthored by Hoock in 1983. COMBIC predicted the effects of dust, smoke, and obscurants on U.S. Army target acquisition and surveillance systems. It was adopted by the Army war gaming community and remains today the primary model used in Army war gaming simulations to model obscurant smoke, dust, and haze effects. It provides modelers with “predictions of temporally varying visibility and transmission loss information for dozens of specific types of modeled battlefield obscurants.”

Hoock’s work did not stop with COMBIC. Although the model provided general information about the cloud position, other important concepts were not well understood. The evolution of obscurant clouds, the behaviors of obscurant clouds in a complex terrain, such as urban environments, and the way light traveled through spatially variable smoke plumes were poorly understood.

A year after the completion of COMBIC, Hoock began working on an extensive research program to gain a better understanding of obscurant clouds. Between 1985 and 2004 he led a major research effort involving 11 coauthors and publishing over 32 papers and reports covering these research areas.

The research resulted in the “development of a breakthrough cloud visualization algorithm, termed STATBIC, the Statistical Texturing Application to Battlefield-Induced Clouds. The model helped understand the unpredictable characteristics of real battlefield clouds, like those with non-repeating variations in shape and concentration that may have holes.  These unpredictable characteristics “produce significant performance variations in target acquisition, tracking, designation, weapon homing, and design aspects for low observables of electromagnetic systems propagating or detecting radiation through or near them.”

Hoock was awarded the Department of the Army Research and Development Achievement Award for his work on “High Resolution Radiative Transfer Visualization of Smoke and Dust Clouds” in 1992.

He retired from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory at WSMR in 2012. He passed away in 2012.