WEST BETHESDA, Md. —
Every year, the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) hosts an Undersea Warfare Technology Conference in the fall, inviting industrial, academic, government and military personnel of the Navy to discuss all things undersea warfare, as well as recognize major contributors to the United States’ dominance in undersea warfare. During the Sept. 17 event in Groton, Connecticut, Michael Slater of Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division received the NDIA Bronze Medal for Technical Achievement in Undersea Warfare.
According to the award announcement, Slater’s detailed knowledge of systems engineering and acoustic signal processing, combined with his leadership and technical expertise, provided the Navy with a robust capability to assess and improve signatures and stealth for over three decades.
“My experience has taught me that enduring success is based on healthy leadership practices, clear communication of objectives, and placing a high value on people and their contributions, trusting and equipping them to get the heavy lifting done,” Slater said, also acknowledging the leaders and coworkers who inspired him along the way. “I owe my success to those who have gone before me and taught me the means to get things done.”
Slater serves as the division head for Signature Measurement Technologies and Systems Division (Code 73), where he supervises work with acoustic measurement programs. He also supports the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) submarine signatures and susceptibility technical warrant holder and is designated as the Navy’s engineering manager for acoustic measurement systems.
Slater’s NDIA recognition fits with the conference’s theme being “Preserving Undersea Superiority: A System of System’s Approach.” In an early career accomplishment, Slater oversaw the Southeast Alaska Acoustic Measurement Facility (SEAFAC) static-site facility commissioning in Alaska for submarine testing. The site debuted its capabilities in 1995 with the acoustic trial for USS Birmingham (SNN 695) and remains operational today.
Slater oversees three separate In-Service Engineering Agent programs of record for submarine stealth and training systems, directly supporting the operational fleet with software, equipment and maintenance support, system installation and checkout assistance, Integrated Logistic Support (ILS), media readiness and full-scale operations. He also chairs Carderock’s Acoustic Validation Review Board, which ensures that undersea vessels are reaching the standards to fall under the quiet submarines classification.
“Most of my achievements are directly related to the people and teams I’ve worked with,” Slater said. “The major responsibility of a technical leader is to build and foster a creative and trusting environment, with a clear focus on the desired outcomes. I take this role seriously, and I work hard to ensure that teams are engaged, they have good tools, and they are motivated to own the result.”