NEWS | April 15, 2021

NavalX rotational assignment offers NUWC Division Newport engineer new perspective

By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs

Innovation and forward thinking have always been a part of the way Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport engineer Chris Capuano operates. Recently, he has gotten to see how those concepts work from a slightly different perspective.

Since August 2020, Capuano, an employee in Division Newport’s Sensors and Sonar Systems Department, has been on a one-year rotational assignment with NavalX, the Department of Navy (DON) workforce super-connector that is focused on scaling non-traditional agility methods across the DON workforce. 

“It’s always good to have new experiences and get new perspectives, especially in an organization as large as the Navy,” Capuano said. “At NUWC, you get exposed to one slice of the pie. NUWC was my first job out of college and, being there for five years, I got comfortable with the way things are done and the workforce culture.

“Coming to NavalX, I’ve been exposed to new people, groups and ways of doing things. At NavalX, I’m working at a higher level within the DON and seeing a different perspective.”

Capuano, a resident of Saunderstown, Rhode Island, applied and then interviewed for the position in June 2020, began working remotely in July and moved south in August for in-person work at NavalX’s headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. There, he does facilitation for different Systems Commands (SYSCOMs) and Program Executive Offices (PEOs) under the umbrella of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (ASN) for Research, Development and Acquisition (RDA). Part of this includes conducting workshops with groups like the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP).

“We work with teams and projects that are looking to set a course for team culture that will sustain for the life of that project,” Capuano said. “We have four facilitators on staff that regularly engage with different groups.”

Capuano also is working with the NavalX Digital team, who is piloting a customer service management (CSM) tool built with ServiceNow. The intent of the tool is to better connect siloed activities occurring across the RDA community using a digital platform.

“I was brought in because of my work with the Sensors and Sonar Systems Department’s Tactical Sandbox Applications Team and my knowledge of modern development practices.” Capuano said. “They saw that and were interested.”

He does some work with the NavalX marketing team as well, which is involved in creative and innovative thinking for the Navy at large. This includes using digital tools like Microsoft Teams and others to increase the avenues of intersection for employees throughout the Navy.

“These digital tools, although there are some limitations, they are extremely powerful in connecting with folks throughout the enterprise,” Capuano said. “You are able to find people so much easier.”

Capuano said he was not exactly sure what to expect going on a rotational assignment during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has not created too many hurdles. He was going into the office regularly before the holidays, but the spike in cases around that time has limited him to teleworking all but one or two days per week.

“I kind of expected that; I knew at one point I’d be working remotely again,” Capuano said. “Hopefully, things start to turn with the warm weather.”

Overall, Capuano said he is using this opportunity as much as he can to understand best the needs of the Navy. He is hoping to use these lessons learned in the future even after his rotation ends in August.

“I’d like to help the workforce and continue to help connect people from NUWC to the rest of the naval workforce,” Capuano said. “I’d like to be a part of the solution to help folks.”

Naval X staff will facilitate workshops to and share guidance on how best to run a workshop that will address teams challenges. If you are interested in learning more about NavalX or need help with a project, visit NavalX’s website, LinkedIn page or join the public NavalX CVR Microsoft Team.

NUWC Division Newport is a shore command of the U.S. Navy within the Naval Sea Systems Command, which engineers, builds and supports America’s fleet of ships and combat systems. NUWC Newport provides research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, undersea offensive and defensive weapons systems, and countermeasures associated with undersea warfare.

NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher's Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.