Lieutenant Commander Tatana M. Olson, PhD, MSC, USN

Hero of Military Medicine Award

LCDR Tatana Olson received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Virginia Tech. She received master’s degree and doctorate in industrial and organizational psychology from Purdue University, and completed post-doctoral training in cognitive neuroscience at George Mason University.

LCDR Olson earned her commission in the U.S. Navy in 2004 as an Aerospace Experimental Psychologist (AEP) and completed naval flight training in May 2005. From 2005-2008, she served as the Biostatistics Division Officer in the Operational Psychology Department at NAMI. She then reported to the staff of the Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP) in Arlington, VA, where she worked as a Special Assistant for Strategic Planning and Communications and served as the CNP’s speechwriter and lead for congressional testimony from 2008-2012. During this time, LCDR Olson was asked to serve as the Medical and Social Science Advisor to the Secretary of Defense’s Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG) tasked with assessing the potential impacts to the military of a repeal of the law known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and later, as a Special Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations to facilitate implementation of the repeal within the United States Navy. Prior to returning to NAMI in June 2014, LCDR Olson served as a Special Advisor to the Director for Biometrics in the Maritime Domain and Navy Liaison Officer at the Defense Forensics & Biometrics Agency (DFBA) in Arlington, VA, where she represented the Navy within the Department of Defense biometrics enterprise and provided critical subject matter expertise on Navy biometrics strategy, policy, requirements, acquisition, and science and technology efforts.

LCDR Olson currently serves as the Operational Psychology Department Head at the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute (NAMI) in Pensacola, Florida. Responsibilities include providing oversight, management, and policy guidance for the United States Naval Aviation Selection Test Battery (ASTB), the primary tool used to select pilot and flight officer candidates for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Additionally, she provides scientific and technical advice in the areas of personnel assessment and selection and training evaluation across the Naval Aviation Enterprise and supports a number of research initiatives in the domains of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and warfighter performance.

LCDR Olson is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the Society for Military Psychology, and the U.S. Naval Aerospace Experimental Psychology Society. Her military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2 awards), Army Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2 awards), Army Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and National Defense Service Medal.