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NEWS | Nov. 28, 2023

NSWC Crane employee leverages 20 years of active-duty and civilian experience to further mission

By Sarah K. Oh, NSWC Crane Corporate Communications

A Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) employee has dedicated twenty years of his life to service to the Department of Defense (DOD), including experience as a U.S. Army reservist and as a Navy civilian.  

Michael Wallace, an Acting Budget Division Manager at NSWC Crane, has worked at NSWC Crane since 2014. He started working in accounting and has also been in roles where he managed finances and budgets.  

“The Budget Division is composed of two functions,” said Wallace. “Funds Management processes incoming and outgoing funding and reviews funding use to ensure compliance with applicable laws. Corporate Budget sets rates, budget, manages overhead and service cost centers, and analyzes labor and execution. I serve the division by tending to workforce and strategy needs. The work our budget division does is critical to supporting the business and mission of NSWC Crane. We are the subject matter experts on key customer facing elements such as funding acceptance and rate setting.” 

Wallace has served in both active and reserve components of the U.S. Army since 2003. He has also worked for at the Illinois Department of Revenue and the Federal Highway Administration.  

“I’m motivated by opportunities to tackle challenges,” said Wallace. “In the Army Reserve, I’m an Engineer Officer and the motto of our regiment is ‘ESSAYONS!’ which means ‘let us try’. I especially like to build processes to overcome barriers, then hand that process off to others to multiply the positive return on the initial investment of time to build that process. It fills me up to enable success.” 

Wallace said he is driven by the team and the mission.   

“I have been blessed to experience both the Army and Navy,” said Wallace. “I love our country and love the DOD mission and its role in the preservation of our country as free and great. I love the people at NSWC Crane. One of our teammates recently told me that 90% of work as she sees it is the people we work with. I agree with this and think the team of people at Crane is something special.” 

Wallace was awarded the Navy Civilian Service Commendation Medal (NCSCM) earlier this year for his efforts as the Assistant Lead to prepare NSWC Crane for the Inspector General Inspection. The award is the fourth highest civilian award.  

“This means a lot to me because in uniform service it’s more common to be awarded medals similar to this, but still challenging. I’ve been awarded four Army Commendation medals and each one has a different story that I’m proud of. My goal is naturally to transfer and translate my uniform experience to my civilian career. Receiving the NCSCM means to me that I’m doing that!” 

Wallace volunteers as the American Indian and Alaskan Native (AI/AN) Special Emphasis Program (SEP) Lead at NSWC Crane.  In this role, Wallace helps take affirmative steps to provide equal opportunity to minorities, women and people with disabilities in all areas of employment. The term, "Special Emphasis Programs," refers specifically to employment related programs which focus special attention on groups that are conspicuously absent or underrepresented in a specific occupational category or grade level in the agency's workforce. 

“I’ve enjoyed starting to lead the NSWC Crane AI/AN SEP group this year, learn, and share lots of great info about the culture and history of the people indigenous to our great land. I look forward to continuing the effort to raise awareness and share knowledge on this topic. I’ve mostly been researching official sources of AI/AN info, consuming a lot of it, and presenting interesting topics during the monthly meetings. I myself have become aware of my own indigenous roots. It’s been really fun to learn about the indigenous history, culture, and heritage of this land.” 

Wallace said his experience researching for and leading the AI/AN SEP group at NSWC Crane has inspired him to reflect on his own heritage. 

“My dad is of European descent—Scottish and German—and my mom is Puerto Rican,” said Wallace. “I really don’t know a ton about any of these cultures, but last year I went to Puerto Rico for an Army Reserve mission and learned more about the culture there. I was also able to start learning about the indigenous Taíno heritage from which most Puerto Rican people are descended. The Taíno were the native inhabitants of the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, before the arrival of European colonizers in the late 15th century. I would like to learn more about Taíno history and culture and respect and honor Taíno heritage. Through my involvement with leading the AI/AN SEP group, I’ve thought about my Puerto Rican heritage and the possible link to the Taino culture. Maybe this is a really good example of what SEP groups are about, raising awareness and understanding for AI/AN history, culture, and heritage.” 

There are projects Wallace is working on for the AI/AN group he leads, including building a collaborative partnership with the neighboring academic institution, Indiana University (IU). 

“Our goal is to secure a guest speaker that can speak at one of our monthly SEP group meetings. The larger goal though is to establish a two-way flow of sharing. We want to be plugged into AI/AN organizations at IU and be aware of opportunities and events that are happening. It would be nice to have a real-time dialogue between our SEP group and the IU First Nations Educational and Cultural Center (FNECC) and the IU Museum of Archeology and Anthropology.” 

Wallace said it has been great working for NSWC Crane’s mission to enhance the warfighter’s capability.  

“For as many people who have never heard of NSWC Crane, so many have and it’s usually a really positive story of what the connection is and it usually has something to do with the amazing work we do. I love that! I think part of the secret sauce is the great people we have and the Midwest values reflected in our culture. I think there is something a little unique in this.” 

About NSWC Crane | NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electromagnetic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter. 

Join Our Team! NAVSEA employs a diverse, highly trained, educated, and skilled workforce - from students and entry level employees to experienced professionals and individuals with disabilities. We support today's sophisticated Navy and Marine Corps ships, aircraft, weapon systems and computer systems. We are continuously looking for engineers, scientists, IT and cyber specialists, as well as trade and other support professionals to ensure the U.S. Navy can protect and defend America. Please contact NSWC Crane Human Resources at