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NEWS | March 29, 2023

NSWC Dahlgren Division Engineer a Driving Force in High Power Microwave Lethality Future

By Diana Stefko, NSWCDD Corporate Communications

Nia Jones isn’t afraid of a challenge. In fact, she thrives on rising to meet those challenges and provides reliable, innovative solutions. Encouraged by her family to always put forth her best effort and persevere when undertaking a task or facing a problem, Jones applies that “strive for excellence” mindset to her professional career.

“My parents, especially my dad, are my biggest inspiration for everything I do in life,” said Jones. “I never felt pressured to follow a certain path and instead was always encouraged to pursue learning. So I enjoyed the engineering side of things and pursued that as a career. That openness of my parents to make my own path, to do what I want to do, to be a student that’s always willing to learn, I carry that with me not only in my personal life but my professional one as well.”

Jones joined the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) workforce soon after earning her bachelor’s in general engineering from Swarthmore College in 2014. However, she was already well acquainted with the warfare center division, having completed two NSWCDD internship programs, the Office of Naval Research sponsored Science and Engineering Apprentice Program while in high school and the Navy’s Pathways Internship Program in college.

In her first full-time position after joining NSWCDD, Jones served as an engineer within the Missile Systems Integration, Threat Engineering and Weapons Effectiveness Division, supporting the evaluation of the vulnerability, lethality, and effectiveness of various weapon systems, mainly focusing her expertise and efforts on model and simulation analysis of kinetic weapon effectiveness.

In her current role as the High Power Microwave (HPM) Lethality Modeling technical lead, Jones supports the Joint Technical Coordinating Group for Munitions Effectiveness (JTCG/ME) program for the Non-Kinetic Lethality Branch, focusing on HPM lethality analysis, identifying gaps in and requirements for HPM modeling tools and technical writing methodology policies.

As the technical lead for JTCG/ME HPM efforts, Jones provides technical guidance to a growing team of analysts and supports technical interchange meetings to establish communication and foster collaboration with others in the HPM community.

Her team regularly coordinates with the HPM Weapons Systems Division to support and leverage data from test events that can be used to improve modeling capabilities. 

She and her team support verification and validation, pre- and post-test analysis, establish methodology standards and conduct modeling and simulation for weapon effectiveness and capability.

Jones also provides an overview of project procedures and cost analysis during leaders’ and sponsors’ briefings. “I discuss the good work that my team and I are doing here with HPM lethality, which can potentially lead to additional work in the future for us,” said Jones. “I am overseeing the modeling and analysis that my team does on a day-to-day basis and then presenting that work in different capacities, whether it be at conferences or just meetings with higher level leadership.”

Throughout her nearly 12-year career at Dahlgren, Jones received a multitude of Navy and command commendations and recognition for her work and accomplishments in advancing HPM lethality and weapon systems effectiveness technology.

Jones not only demonstrates outstanding leadership for her department, division and her team at NSWCDD, but she is also actively involved in her community. She volunteers as a Big Sister for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America organization as well as participates in community programs that encourage young girls to pursue STEM fields. Jones is passionate about health and fitness and often devotes her time and energy to providing fitness training to others.