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NEWS | Nov. 8, 2023

NUWC Division, Keyport NADP employee graduates program, supports unmanned undersea vehicles

By Frank Kaminski, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport

Steven Bennett, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport’s newest graduate of the Naval Acquisition Development Program, has already made himself an indispensable asset to the command’s unmanned undersea vehicle program.

“He has grabbed the bull by the horns and developed processes and desk guides,” said Butch Greenert, principal logistician for the Unmanned Undersea Systems division. “His level of detail is off the charts for somebody of his experience. He sees a problem and he doesn’t wait to be told to go try to fix it. His willingness to contribute, to seek to understand, is truly impressive. It’s inspiring. I think he’s a future great leader.”

Bennett joined the Navy straight out of high school in 2008, serving initially as an aircraft maintainer and then as a quality assurance representative. After nearly nine years of service, he separated from the Navy in 2017 at the rank of petty officer first class, then earned a Bachelor of Arts in business administration and a Master in Business Administration, both from Saint Leo University.

His journey as an NADP entry-level employee began in the summer of 2021 with a cold call from NUWC Division, Keyport Medium and Small Unmanned Vehicles Branch Head Ross Witherell, who had found his resume through the Naval Sea Systems Command Talent Acquisition Portal. Bennett said the timing of this call “couldn’t have been planned out any more perfectly.”

“I’m really grateful that the whole thing happened,” said Bennett. “The timing was incredible. I graduate around the end of June, and by mid-July I’m already going through the process of onboarding. It worked really well logistically as far as having prior Navy experience. It was an easy rollover.”

The NADP equips next generation logisticians for successful careers in government service. To be eligible, candidates must hold a bachelor's degree, achieve a minimum 2.95 grade point average upon graduation and fulfill the qualification requirements set forth by the Office of Personnel Management.

The program encompasses a variety of careers beyond logistics, from business and information technology to engineering and contracting. It has two tracks: a three-year option for those with an undergraduate degree, and a two-year path for those with a master’s degree.

Bennett’s two-year program included two rotations within the Unmanned and Theater Undersea Warfare Systems Small and Medium Unmanned Vehicles branch. His first rotation was focused on technical manual maintenance and technical data management. During his second rotation, he provided supply support to the Razorback unmanned undersea vehicle program.

According to multiple coworkers of his, Bennett’s diligence and dedication have led to remarkable improvements in the branch’s management and reporting of its material resources, as well as significant warehouse storage cost savings.

Unmanned and Theater Undersea Warfare Systems Chief Logistician Lacisa Seacrist said she was struck early on by Bennett’s confidence and initiative. “I knew from talking with him that he was a go-getter,” said Seacrist. “It was very obvious. He’s the type of person who’s super proactive and wants to dive into things.”

Bennett’s team lead, NUWC Division, Keyport Integrated Product Support Lead Paul Cruz, echoed this sentiment. “Steven didn’t come in like an NADP [employee],” said Cruz. “He came in like a seasoned veteran who took it upon himself to research, do his homework.”

Witherell, who is currently Bennett’s supervisor, praised his “calm confidence.”

“I’ve never seen him get rattled,” said Witherell. “Even with urgent things happening, he stays very level. The competence that he brings puts people at ease when there is something urgent going on. There’s a lot of trust; it equates to trust.”

Bennett has this advice for other NADP employees: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Use your intuition and stick around people you find knowledgeable, who seem to know exactly what’s going on. Find a great mentor. And don’t be afraid to push if you don’t get an answer—keep digging, keep going up the chain, keep asking questions until you do figure out what you’re looking for. It’s the hard questions that you learn from.”

Since graduating from the NADP in October, Bennett has continued serving in his supply support role for the Razorback UUV program.

For more information about the NADP, visit


About Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport
NUWC Division, Keyport provides advanced technical capabilities for test and evaluation, in-service engineering, maintenance and industrial base support, fleet material readiness, and obsolescence management for undersea warfare to expand America’s undersea dominance.