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NSWC Dahlgren Division Awardees Honored at PEO IWS Ceremony

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications | June 10, 2019

WASHINGTON – Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) individuals and teams were among those honored at the Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS) Excellence Awards ceremony held at the Washington Navy Yard in May.

The PEO IWS Excellence Awards for the first and second quarter of fiscal year 2019 recognized individuals, teams and organizations that made significant contributions to PEO IWS.

“I feel very humbled to be recognized as an individual winner, considering the awesome team we have supporting the Dahlgren Mission Thread effort,” said NSWCDD engineer Todd Damon – a first quarter PEO IWS individual winner recognized for his outstanding leadership as Mission Thread Test Team lead. “The capabilities based mission thread test effort is allowing us to consider identified issues from the perspective of the active duty Sailor, identifying computer program fixes or enhancements that are important to them.”

Specifically, Damon led the effort to evaluate over 16,000 baseline 9.2.1 requirements for applicability to mission thread testing, resulting in the development of unique validation criteria for approximately 2,500 requirements. This greatly increased his team’s test and evaluation process efficiency with an overall cost savings of 45 percent and an estimated 50 percent reduced execution time.

“The capabilities based assessment will be in context with the missions warfighters are expected to execute,” said Damon. “It is a new and challenging paradigm for combat system test and evaluation.”

Moreover, Damon harnessed a key modification to the Aegis Display System Replay tool that allows for recording of all three tactical monitors. His superb efforts enhanced the ability to conduct data analysis and test observation resolution for mission threads and potentially other targeted testing events.

Eric Schroeder – an NSWCDD senior weapons integration engineer – was recognized with a second quarter PEO IWS individual award for his technical expertise and innovative thinking in the area of laser weapons integration that has established him as a leader in the field. He led the future combat system integration efforts of laser weapon systems – including the Weapons Domain Laser Controller portion of the High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance Program – through a successful milestone preliminary design review.

“As a former warfighter myself, I feel tremendously proud that I am making a difference for our Sailors - that is what motivates me in coming to work each day,” said Schroeder. “I’m also humbled, because success is built on the effectiveness of exceptional teams. I’ve had the privilege of leading an incredibly talented laser integration team, driving common combat system integration solutions across multiple laser RPED (Rapid Prototyping, Experimentation and Demonstration) programs.”

Schroeder was also commended for his common integration strategy that enables on-schedule rapid prototyping and faster delivery of capabilities to the Fleet. His forward-thinking and collaborative efforts have notably provided a focus on commonality and enterprise architecture solutions for maximum flexibility and reuse across surface Navy laser weapon systems.

“Together, we’ve set the standard for enterprise laser system integration for the Navy,” said Schroeder regarding his laser integration team. “The work we’ve done for combat system integration is enabling rapid deployment of high-priority laser weapons across the Fleet.”

NSWCDD scientist Theresa Gennaro was recognized with a first quarter individual PEO IWS Excellence Award for her outstanding performance as project lead for the Optical Dazzling Interdictor Program. Her leadership paved the way for a government-led inherent design, build, and installation of a directed energy capability onto multiple Fleet assets. Gennaro provided technical expertise and direction in the areas of payload and gimbal development, thermal management, power supplies, combat systems interface, operator console and controls, and safety deconfliction systems. Her team impressively tailored systems engineering technical reviews to ensure the highest standards of technical rigor. She ensured the program’s success and provided technical growth areas to be further pursued in the area of directed energy.

Leanne Kelly – assistant program manager for PEO IWS 1.0 Aegis Baseline 10 – won a second quarter individual PEO IWS Excellence Award for coordinating a 300-person team across multiple enterprises in support of Aegis Baseline 10. The NSWCDD employee led the program’s software development and conducted the latest Flag-to-Flag Baseline 10 review between PEO IWS and the Missile Defense Agency. Kelly ensured the coordination and delivery of 34 elements into the Fleet’s newest and most complex integrated combat system. Her leadership has positioned the program to be 0.81 percent ahead of schedule and on a glideslope to achieve up to 10 percent risk margin in schedule by implementing innovative efficiency methods in software development.

First Quarter Warfare Center Division Team Winners:

AEGIS Virtualization Team - NSWC Dahlgren Division: John Clarke, Dennis Larsen, Ashby Hall, Angelica Cruz-Diaz, James Flowers, Jonathan Higgins, Christopher Morton, Christopher Childs, Check Louie, Denayja Boone, Terry Gwinn, Terrell Evans, James Taylor, William Higginbotham, Steven Shannon, and Rick Sandlin.

The Aegis Virtualization Team provided key leadership and engineering rigor in efforts to execute an SM-2 live-fire, anti-air warfare engagement at sea using the virtualized Aegis baseline aboard the USS Thomas Hudner. The success of this demonstration proved that the virtualized Baseline 9 Aegis Weapon System performs the same as the tactical weapon system for the demanding needs of an SM-2 missile engagement with stringent timelines. Each team member’s exceptional technical skills and hard work has accelerated the Aegis program to achieving Fleet-wide Aegis virtualization, delivering and sustaining operationally dominant combat systems to the hands of our Sailors.

The Counter Advanced Threat (CAT) Test Team - NSWC Dahlgren Division: Michael Jessee, Robert Nees, and Michael Miller. NSWC Crane Division: Jeff Maynen, Michael Kinkaid, and Russ Thies.

The Counter Advanced Threat test team performed superbly in meeting an ever-ambitious schedule to streamline the payload testing effort and demonstrate the critical electronic warfare capability in the latest version of Nulka. The team handled last minute schedule changes, system failures, and proposed modifications, applying their expert knowledge and experience to resolve problems and ensure proper execution. The team’s steadfast work ethic and dedication to mission was instrumental in completing all critical testing that met performance requirements and provided the reliability necessary to move to the Low Rate Initial Production phase of the CAT program.

JAPAN Ship ATAGO Team - NSWC Dahlgren Division: Jesse Dilbeck, Dean Dunlop and NSWC Port Hueneme Division: Sean Lee, Neil Isherwood, Cody Shea, and Michael Connolly.

The Japan Atago Team completed a significant overhaul culminating in precedent-setting Combat System Ship Qualification Trials (CSSQT) and Japan Flight Test Mission events. The destroyer now possesses Integrated Air Missile Defense and enhanced signal processing capabilities, expanding the global footprint of Aegis interoperability. The team worked tirelessly in the face of myriad challenges, developing, testing, and installing numerous performance fixes. The ship successfully tested all mission areas during her CSSQT, tracked a separating ballistic missile defense (BMD) target, and engaged a separating BMD target with an updated SM-3 Block IB.

Second Quarter Warfare Center Division Team Winners:

Combat System Certification Instruction Review Team - NSWC Dahlgren Division: Shannon Settles and Carol Galloway.

Aggressively challenging assumptions and prior certification history, this cross-organizational team conducted an exhaustive, bottoms-up overhaul of the Integrated Combat System Certification Instruction. The team’s assessment of current certification processes and documents identified numerous opportunities for efficiency and increased system engineering rigor. The team rewrote the instruction to streamline activities, align systems engineering processes, and increase program manager flexibility and accountability, all while emphasizing sound engineering practices to the benefit of the entire Fleet.

Optical Dazzling Interdictor (ODIN) Gimbal Design Team - NSWC Dahlgren Division: Matthew Lehr, Timothy Peng, Jonathan Crook, Michael Koehler, Aaron Williams, Tyson Hensel, Denver Walling, Andrew Smith, Jonathan Scroggins, Matthew Henning, Alex Havrilla, Douglas Hopkins, Timothy Niemcyzk, Joseph Pingleton, and Scott Phipps.

This team successfully designed and built a government-owned gimbal prototype to meet an initial deployment schedule planned for 2019. In less than 19 months, the team designed, procured, assembled, and began initial testing on the Optical Dazzling Interdictor gimbal. The team’s experience under the Naval Innovative Science and Engineering laboratory reinvestment program combined with lessons learned from previous mount design efforts allowed the team to rapidly establish requirements and complete a prototype-level design in less than six months. The initial test fit with the payload was a resounding success, marking a huge milestone in the design effort. This prototype will support and guide the first laser-based countermeasure system delivered to the Navy.

Test and Evaluation Tools Group - NSWC Dahlgren Division: Brian Dillon, Lucas Durham, Dylan Kane, and Jeffrey Shaffer.

The Test and Evaluation Tools team from Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren is responsible for implementing several tool innovations directly resulting in quantifiable schedule and cost savings and increasing requirements coverage. The team developed a common tool framework that addresses redundancies in tool features and incompatibility across programs. By modularizing functions, the team was able to maximize re-use, decrease errors, and accelerate knowledge transfer and knowledge management. Several automation innovations have already demonstrated significant efficiencies, saving thousands of labor hours annually. The Sailor will benefit from receiving thoroughly tested tactical systems more quickly and at a reduced cost.

Ship Self Defense System and Advanced Combat Direction System Wholeness Task Force – NSWC Dahlgren Division: Phil Koelsch. NSWC Port Hueneme Division: Matthew Parry, Timothy Cook. NUWC Keyport Division: Neil Baird

In response to a request from the Commander, Naval Surface Forces, PEO IWS stood up a task force to conduct a coordinated assessment of the state of readiness of all variants of the Ship Self Defense System and Advanced Combat Direction System. The team established a war room, gathered experts from multiple organizations, and maintained a weekly drumbeat of meetings over seven months to collect, consolidate, and analyze a large volume of readiness data. They briefed leadership and delivered a comprehensive final report with more than 100 recommendations that when implemented will increase the availability of SSDS-based combat systems, improve readiness, and deliver increased capabilities to our Sailors.

Aegis Technical Representative Sailor Development Team – NSWC Dahlgren Division: Nathaniel Melvin

The Sailor Development Team pioneered a new testing paradigm that is certain to influence future efforts to integrate each Aegis computer program element and test the weapon system on tactical hardware. This team supports contractor development efforts earlier than ever before while providing much needed Fleet feedback synchronized with development efforts. The team’s discovery, investigation, and adjudication of 310 proposed revisions prior to certification saves the government approximately $15 million. They supported tests to determine the maintainability of weapon systems, and to assess systems in operationally realistic environments, putting Sailors in charge of tactical proficiency and dynamic employment.