Four LANL scientists, Nenad Velisavljevic (former CDAC student at University of Alabama - Birmingham and current HPCAT Executive Committee member), Raja Chellappa (former CDAC student at University of Alabama - Birmingham and former CDAC postdoc at Carnegie), Dana Dattelbaum, and Ramon Saavedra were recently awarded the DOE-NNSA Defense Programs Award of Excellence. They were presented with the award on September 10, 2014 from Donald L. Cook, Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs. The team, lead by Velisavljevic, was recognized for their contribution toward the development of a technique for achieving high strain rate compression using gas membrane diamond anvil cells and subsequent measurements performed using the new capability. The high compression rate technique with DAC further helps bridge the strain rate gap between traditional static high pressure and dynamic compression techniques. Using this new capability, measurements were performed on a broad range of metals, polymers, and energetic materials. The resulting data showed direct influence of compression rate on structural stability, decomposition, transformation rate, polymerization, etc., in these materials. Information gleaned from the measurement can be applied to further develop P-T phase diagrams, equation of state calculations, and mesoscale modeling capabilities.