A civilian scientist at Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Corona Division received one of the command’s most prestigious awards for his immeasurable contributions to the Navy.
The 2021 Aaron B. Powers award was presented to Raymond Ward of NSWC Corona’s Acquisition and Readiness Assessment (AR) Department, which uses data analytics and metrics to provide transparency to material readiness of key systems.
“The Aaron Powers Award is given to individuals who have made a lasting and tremendous technical or managerial contribution to Corona’s assessment mission, and who help advance the Navy forward to fight and win,” said Commanding Officer Capt. Khary Hembree-Bey. “Mr. Ward has made incredible contributions to our Navy through many years of hard work and dedication. This award comes well deserved.”
Ward has been at the center of nearly every technical enhancement and information technology development related to material readiness assessment at NSWC Corona for the past 26 years. He pioneered the command’s business intelligence competency and capability by developing various fleet readiness tools and executive dashboards, and his ability to understand customer needs while staying in tune with emerging industry advancements enables him to consistently deliver solutions to meet the demands of the fleet. His solutions have been recognized at the highest levels of the Navy as major steps toward the Chief of Naval Operations’ (CNO) vision for analytics-based decision making and represent a quantum leap forward in NSWC Corona's evolution from lagging assessments to forward-looking products that drive optimization for fleet capability and readiness.
“This award is a great honor, not just for me but for all the people I’ve worked with over the last 30 years who helped make everything I did possible,” said Ward. “It was never just me working on all of these things. It was a team effort that involved a lot of really great people.”
Ward’s ability to collaborate across Warfare Centers, academia, and industry partners has been instrumental in creating an environment where NSWC Corona’s material readiness assessment capability is fully integrated with the maintenance and acquisition communities, allowing unprecedented access and transparency to the people and data needed to conduct enterprise-level assessments. He led the development of critical metrics and dashboards to obtain a common operating picture for both in-service material readiness and ships’ progressions through maintenance availabilities.
Similarly, his efforts also transformed the Material Readiness Database (MRDB) from a basic reliability assessment tool to an enterprise-endorsed authoritative source of material readiness information.
“Growing the MRDB from a little information system where we assessed only six combat systems in 1986 – to now one where we assess more than 600 – was a pivotal achievement in my career,” he said.
Ward’s vision to have a fully integrated data environment culminated with the development of the Ship Maintenance Data Improvement Initiative (SMDII), which delivers an unprecedented level of data integration for CNO availabilities, maintenance schedules and financial data. Under Ward’s leadership, his team collaborated with organizations across the Navy enterprise and fully immersed itself in customer business processes, tools and data. Faced with aggressive deadlines, new technology, unfamiliar data sources and extensive data quality issues, the team successfully delivered its Initial Operating Capability in October 2019, after a six-month development effort. Since then, SMDII has matured even further, transforming how Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) uses the online tool to run conduct business.
“With SMDII, I feel like I just planted the seed and it grew into this big oak tree because of the hard work of everyone who made it what it is today,” said Ward. “What we have done with SMDII across the Surface Maintenance Community working as one team is just remarkable.”
Ward received a bachelor’s degree in physics from California State University Fullerton in 1996 before moving on to earn a master’s in physics from California State University Long Beach. He said he enjoys his career and finds his work and the Navy mission to be personally and professionally fulfilling.
“When we talk to the type commands, the program managers and the warfighters downrange, and when we see them using our data analyses in their own briefs and reports, we realize the information we’re providing them is valued and useful,” said Ward. “That makes my job very rewarding. It’s why I’m still here after all these years.”
The Navy established the Aaron B. Powers Award to recognize the outstanding efforts of the first Technical Director of the Fleet Missile Systems Analysis and Evaluation Group (FMSAEG), Aaron B. Powers. His accomplishments advanced the scientific analysis and evaluation of testing and operational validation of naval weapons systems for the nation. Decades after being established in 1964, the FMSAEG mission continues, now under the command of NSWC Corona.
“Mr. Ward has been such an integral member of this team and is highly deserving of this prestigious award,” said Technical Director Dianne Costlow. “The work he has done and continues to do has truly made a difference for our Navy, and it will continue to resonate throughout the fleet for the foreseeable future.”
NSWC Corona Division has provided analysis and assessment for the Navy since 1964. With experience in gauging the Navy’s warfighting capability, NSWC Corona is a leader in NAVSEA data analytics. Corona utilizes networked data environments, data and visualization, and measurement technology to bridge the Navy’s data silos, enabling informed decision-making for the warfighter. Anchor to the Inland Empire Tech Bridge, NSWC Corona is located in Norco, California, with detachments in Fallbrook and Seal Beach and personnel in 14 additional locations.