United States Air Force Academy

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Lieutenant Commander Ken King


Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership

Ken King
Contact Information

(719) 333-9372



Lieutenant Commander Ken “Smoothie” King, MSC, USN, is an Instructor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership and Research Director of the Warfighter Effectiveness Research Center (WERC) at the U.S. Air Force Academy. In this position, he teaches a wide range of courses in psychology and human factors engineering and directs a high-powered research team that focuses on human-machine teaming, social robotics, readiness, and leadership development. In previous roles for the United States Navy, he has conducted research in aviation personnel selection, and performance measurement including research involving individual high performance within high-reliability organizations. These programs have resulted in numerous publications, technology transitions, and research awards. LCDR King received his Masters Degree in Human Factors from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, and is the only military officer in history to wear both Navy Aerospace Experimental Psychology and Air Force pilot wings.


Undergraduate at University of Illinois, Architecture (Minor in MechE)

MS in Human Factors, Embry Riddle Worldwide

MS Cert in Human Systems Integration, Naval Postgraduate School

Professional Experience

2017 – Present: U.S. Navy Aerospace Experimental Psychologist (AEP) #158

2005 – 2017: U.S Air Force Instructor Pilot in the T-6A & MC-130P “Combat Shadow”

Honors & Awards

Meritorious Service Medal (twice awarded)

Air Force Air Medal (twice awarded)

Navy Commendation Medal

Air Force Achievement Medal (twice awarded)

Research and Scholarly Interests

Aviation safety, Flight control design & usability, Aviation training, Personnel selection


Associate Research Investigator, NRL Protocol DoD-N40039, “Comparing Direction & Orientation Tasks for Aviation Selection”

Research Monitor, NAMRU-D Protocol MrVIPP, “Monocular Reduced Vision in Pilot Performance

Associate Research Investigator, NRL Protocol DoD-N40070, “Attention Control Implementation and Operational Evaluation”

Final Report Regarding 2016 & 2018 USMC Aviation Incidents, Consolidated Disposition Authority Review Board, 18 June 2020. Archived at https://www.hqmc.marines.mil/Portals/61/ACMC%20Letter%20and%20CDA%20Fin al%20Report%20Redacted%20For%20Release.pdf?ver=2020-07-02-150113-527

Associate Research Investigator, NMOTC Protocol 2016.0016, “Early Recognition of Aviator Hypoxia via EEG Detection”

Co-author, 2021 LEAPS Poster, “Air Vehicle Operator Selection: Ensuring a High Reliability Organization Through Applied Aeromedical Research”, 08 Feb 2021

Co-author, 2020 CNATRA Technical Report, “Aviation Selection Test Battery (ASTB) Minimum Score Requirements,” 15 Jun 2020

Co-author, Journal of Military Psychology submission MIL-2017-2089, “Limitations of Current Spatial Ability Testing for Military Aviators”, 1 Oct 2020