The General James Doolittle Award reception was held virtually on April 22, 2021. The annual event commemorates the legacy of James "Jimmy" Doolittle, a US Air Force General, aviation pioneer, and MIT alumnus, who led the Doolittle Raid on Toyko during World War II. Attended by SSP faculty and students, as well as guests from the broader MIT and military community, this year's Doolittle Dinner honored General C.Q. Brown, Jr., Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force.
SSP Director and Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science, Taylor Fravel, opened the event with a review of General Doolittle's life and accomplishments, recounting the events of the famed 1942 raid on Tokyo that he led along with contributions to the development of high octane aviation fuel and space-based reconnaissance. Director Fravel then introduced General Brown, who spoke on the need for the Air Force to accelerate change to meet the demands brought about by changes in technology and global events. The General connected the innovation of the Doolittle Raiders to the modern Air Force and the challenges it faces in an era of rapid data and the growing importance of artificial intelligence. A fantastic Q&A session followed.
In 2017, Pierre (MIT SB 1988) and Amy Chao made a generous pledge to SSP in support of the Doolittle Award. Mr. Chao, who has had an active career in the aerospace and defense industry, earned dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Political Science and Management Science from MIT. The endowment allows SSP to sustain the Doolittle award event, ensuring that future MIT graduate students and fellows are acquainted with the contribution that science and engineering can make to national security.