WEST BETHESDA, Md. – Doug Noll, an engineer in Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division’s Propulsor Acoustics Branch, and 38-year Carderock employee, received the 2022 National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Bronze Medal Award for Career Achievement in Undersea Warfare. Noll was recognized during the 2022 Undersea Warfare Fall Conference from Sept. 26-28, at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.
The award ceremony allowed attendees to gain insight into the latest requirements and developments in undersea warfare, while meeting and hearing from operational, acquisition and technology professionals.
“This award was not for a specific achievement, but rather, it is a full-career type award,” Noll said. “Most recently, I have supported the Columbia-class Propulsor Development Program, where I have worked in both propulsor noise and flow noise.”
Noll began his career with Carderock in 1984 as a junior propulsor acoustics engineer, and is currently the Propulsor Signatures Research and Development (R&D) Manager for the Columbia-class Propulsor and Shafting Program. He received this award for his dedication and commitment during his 38-year career to the area of Undersea Warfare. During that time, he has contributed to the development and integration of flow noise and advanced propulsor technologies into ship and submarine platform designs.
Additionally, he has provided technical leadership for Virginia-class and Columbia-class submarine propulsor and flow noise efforts, along with large-scale model testing. Noll’s research into hydroacoustics and its application to submarine designs has permitted the Navy to achieve enhanced vehicle survivability through increased stealth, while simultaneously reducing ship design and life-cycle costs.
From 2009-2016, Noll was the lead for hydroacoustics tasking on the Ohio-class Replacement, which is now Columbia, while continuing to lead his branch. During this time, he took on additional duties and organized the program into a series of sub-tasks that addressed specific aspects of the program’s overarching objectives. This facilitated direction and management of financial and personnel resources, and enabled significant contributions in support of the Columbia design in 2016, including the large-scale buoyant-vehicle test campaign and utilization of the test products from each of the sub-tasks to cumulatively arrive at ship design guidance and recommendations.
Subsequently, when the Columbia design efforts heightened, Noll recognized that Carderock and the contracting shipbuilder signatures personnel needed a more effective interaction to address issues. To do so, he established bi-weekly video teleconferencing meetings between Carderock and Electric Boat, a private shipbuilding contracting company, to provide briefings on emerging topics. These meetings improved the communications between the Navy and the shipbuilder — not only on Columbia-related issues, but also for other ship classes.
“Over my career, the thing I look back on the most fondly was my contribution toward fielding the Columbia-class propulsor,” Noll said. “I led the latter phases of the R&D on that project, which resulted in the culmination of a design that will be on submarines for the next 50 years. I was not instrumental in all of the details, and in the grand scheme of things, I only played a small role, but it was a privilege to be part of it.”
Aside from his detailed work on the Columbia design, a large reason why Noll received this award was for his efforts toward mentoring junior engineers.
Per his award nomination packet, “His unique combination of dedication and technical expertise, along with a focus on mentoring and maturing junior Naval Sea Systems Command personnel has ensured that his skill set is transferred to the next generation… his attention to mentoring, and professional development has expanded the technical breadth of the workforce. He is the kind of manager who pays close attention to ensuring that people have the opportunity to work on as many diverse aspects of a project as possible. His uncanny ability to determine when someone is working effectively in a given assignment or not, enabled proper job assignments that kept the workforce challenged with a sense of job satisfaction… Noll’s leadership is critical to the stealth performance of the Columbia-class as the nation’s strategic deterrence.”
Under Noll’s leadership, the Columbia Propulsor and Shafting Program was able to advance the state-of-the-art propulsor design, and created a vast database that can be mined for years to come in support of future submarine propulsor designs.
Although he has accomplished a fair amount in his 38-year career, Noll says he would be remiss to take all the credit for this award.
“My career is not about me alone,” he said. “It is about all the people I have worked with over the years. NDIA chose to honor me for this award, but I see this as recognition of the team of performers doing great signatures R&D work for the Navy.”