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Forty-seven NUWC Division Newport employees win 2018 Warfare Center Award

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Story by Public Affairs Office on 08/01/2019
NEWPORT, R.I. Forty-seven Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport employees have won the prestigious Warfare Center Award for calendar year 2018.

The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Warfare Centers Board of Directors recognized excellence in six areas: talent management, collaboration, innovation, knowledge sharing, technical support services and a new category, information security.

This year, the competition was significant. The board reviewed nearly 80 nomination packages of approximately 600 workforce members from all 10 divisions of the Naval Surface (NSWC) and Undersea Warfare Centers. This is the 14th year for the Warfare Center Awards program, which spotlights the extraordinary work being done across the entire NAVSEA enterprise.


Division Newport's exemplary ability to collaborate with other commands is being honored in the collaboration category, with Division Newport personnel on four of the eight winning teams.

The first team in this category is the Power and Energy Community of Interest Team recognized for their substantial contributions to the development and evaluation of advanced power and energy technologies resulting from collaboration among NSWC Carderock, NSWC Crane, NUWC Newport and NSWC Philadelphia Divisions, NAVSEA, the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), the Naval Facilities Engineering Command and the Marine Corps Systems Command. Dr. Joseph H. Fontaine, of Division Newport's Undersea Warfare (USW) Weapons, Vehicles and Defensive Systems Department, was a contributing team member.

This team launched several initiatives critical to numerous present and future combat capabilities. To date, their efforts have saved $2.8 million. Future targets are in place for cost savings of up to $100 million annually across the Navy through improved communication, coordination, and adoption of common power and energy architectures.

The Electronic Warfare (EW), USW and High Energy Lasers (HEL) Campaign Collaboration Team earned their award for advancements in identifying, validating, and resolving high value requirements for Naval Test and Evaluation and Training (T&E/T) Optimization across the Naval Research and Development Enterprise through collaboration among NSWC Dahlgren, NSWC Carderock, NSWC Crane, NUWC Keyport, NUWC Newport, and NSWC Port Hueneme divisions. Division Newport winners are David A. Abdow, Jeffrey D. Hebert, Patrick Bordner, Charles J. McSoley, Edward P. Dunn, and Eric S. Spigel, all in the Ranges, Engineering and Analysis Department.

Leaders from each campaign area, EW, USW and HEL, initiated a first-ever baseline investigation to include the full depth and breadth of existing Naval T&E/T capability across the air, ground and maritime domains. To date, USW has saved the Navy budget $68.5 million with a combined T&E/T program, replacing other previous range plans. The first-ever full Navy EW T&E/T review identified eleven unique gaps across all domains.

The United Kingdom (UK) Tomahawk Weapon Control System (TWCS) Team was recognized for their outstanding contributions to the UK Royal Navy Astute-class submarines. Division Newport winners are Scott P. Aubuchon, Christopher J. Plezia, Gail A. Genora, Steven Rebello, Joseph H. Janton, Joseph E. Rheaume, Peter M. Paranzino, and Concepcion Vazquez, all of the USW Combat Systems Department.

Division Newport collaborated with the NAVAIR program office, NSWC Dahlgren Division, Lockheed Martin Manassas, and the UK Ministry of Defense. The Division Newport UK TWCS Team designed, developed, integrated and delivered a standalone TWCS for UK submarines in 24 months. By reducing system footprint through software virtualization, the team achieved major cost savings including over $30 million in hardware costs alone.

Another multi-site winning team is the Undersea Encapsulation Technical Capability Demonstration Team. Division Newport winners are Dr. John Castano, Steven A. Fultz, James A. Pianfetti, Matthew D. Haley, Zachary H. Richards, Joseph N. Helger, Nicholas B. Rommel, Dr. Jason M. Kane and Trevor M. Whitney, in the USW Weapons, Vehicles and Defensive Systems Department; and Gary H. Kim, Platform and Payload Integration Department.

Team members from NSWC Panama City, NUWC Keyport, and NUWC Newport divisions rapidly developed and successfully demonstrated undersea encapsulated payload delivery technology in response to a Joint Emergent Operational Need Statement. The team designed and fabricated an in-house underwater capsule, and conducted a successful payload release technical demo from the ground up in 27 months. NSWC Panama City Division led the capsule development; NUWC Division Newport modified an existing payload to be housed and released from the submerged capsule; and NUWC Division Keyport facilitated components for capsule fabrication, developed procedures for safe system handling, launch, and recovery, and hosted the demonstration event.

Information security

Rebecca Chhim of the Corporate Operations Department won the information security award for consistently dedicating her efforts to develop and maintain cybersecurity programs to support the Navy's requirement of accelerated acquisition, and increase workforce awareness and understanding of cybersecurity vulnerabilities. In 2018, Chhim developed the Risk Management Framework (RMF) Tool at the NAVSEA level, which positively impacted the NAVSEA Enterprise and its pursuit of swift cybersecurity accreditation of systems engineering software. The development of the RMF tool, with its easy-to-navigate menu of requirements, removed a tremendous burden from users trying to get their systems to the fleet.

Knowledge sharing

The Research Commons Team, led by Division Newport's Elizabeth Peimer of the Corporate Operations Department, is a winner in the knowledge-sharing category. In 2018, the team developed a dynamic web portal for accessing digital library subscriptions, information and research tools, allowing the Warfare Centers to avoid duplication of effort and resources while increasing opportunities for research collaboration. The Research Commons Team developed the scope and objectives that support mission requirements such as high velocity learning, cross-warfare center collaboration, digital preservation, publication visibility and transparent metrics. Their efforts doubled the number of resources and tools available to users while saving more than $500,000 at the pilot sites last year.

A second winner in the knowledge-sharing category is the People's Integrated Essential Resource (PIER) Team, which includes Division Newport employees Jason Benda and Nicolina Kelly, both of the Corporate Operations Department. The team successfully developed and launched the PIER website, providing a repository of links to pertinent information for all NAVSEA employees on iNFUSION, an internal NAVSEA information-sharing platform, and contains information for employees during their entire career lifecycle from onboarding to retirement. It provides a significant reduction in the amount of time that the workforce members would spend looking across multiple websites for authoritative career information. The PIER Team implemented the first version in January 2018. In the span of one year, the PIER Team took the proposed solution to reality and piloted six site-specific PIERs within NAVSEA. At the end of fiscal year 2018, the PIER Team provided turnkey templates, maintenance and sustainment plans, and an implementation path for PIERs across the Enterprise.

Technical support services

The Division Newport Operation Steadfast Team won the technical support services category. Division Newport team members are Brian W. Alexander, Robert P. Angelini, Vincent Benfeito, Joshua L. Ricketts, Joshua J. Carter, Nicole C. Rodrigues, William R. Rolla, Mickey K. Correll, Bailey J. Wandyg, David I. Gimple and Brian C. Woomer, all of the USW Electromagnetic Systems Department; David A. Giroux, Gregory M. Kocab, Benjamin W. Lessard, Kristin M. Riddle and Troy A. Christiansen, all of the Platform and Payload Integration Department; and Adam J. Carvalho, USW Electromagnetic Systems Department.

The team earned high marks for achieving an extraordinary impact on a multi-national strike operation through the establishment of a 24/7 real-time fleet reach-back process to resolve serious operational issues which would have impacted the platform's ability to respond to time-critical tasking. Having the round-the-clock capability resulted in significant cost avoidance not only in terms of eliminating the need for a tech assist, but also in enabling the platform to execute assigned tasking and not be placed into a casualty mode of operation.

To illustrate the cost savings, the time to deploy a tech assist team would be about one week and cost about $50,000. If the missiles were declared out-of-commission, they would have to be brought back to port and re-tested with a tech assist team. If the problem was not corrected, the missiles would have to be offloaded, shipped back to the factory, re-tested, and then reissued to the fleet, at a cost of $500,000 to $1 million.

The Division Newport winners will receive their awards at a ceremony later this year.

NUWC Newport is a shore command of the U.S. Navy within the Naval Sea Systems Command, which engineers, builds and supports America's fleet of ships and combat systems. NUWC Newport provides research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, undersea offensive and defensive weapons systems, and countermeasures associated with undersea warfare. Currently celebrating its 150th anniversary, NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Captain Michael Coughlin, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher's Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.


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