An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News
NEWS | Feb. 26, 2024

Carderock’s Patrick Crowley Recognized with DON Civilian Service Award

By Tamari Perrineau Palmer, NSWC Carderock Division Public Affairs

Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Carderock Division recognized Patrick Crowley with the Department of Navy Civilian Service Achievement Medal in West Bethesda, Maryland, on Jan. 24, 2024, for his contributions as the engineering lead for the Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) Unmanned Autonomous Prototype project.

The award recognizes an individual whose performance or achievement within the Navy and Marine Corps goes above the degree of excellence.    

“This is an incredible honor and is extremely overwhelming,” Crowley said. “I wish that a lot of the other folks that worked on this project with me could be recognized at the same level because this was a massive undertaking for a lot of people.” 

Crowley credits the success of the prototype to his teammates on the Ship Design Team whom consist of EPF Ship Design Manager Steve Kantz, Deputy Ship Design Manager John Mitchell and Design Integration Manager Sean Van Loan. Grady Delp, a subject matter expert on unmanned surface vessel perception systems from the command’s Combatant Craft Division in Little Creek, Virginia, also assisted in this project.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in naval architecture and marine engineering in 2019, Crowley started his civilian career at Carderock with the Future Concepts and Design Integration Division.  After a couple years doing platform integration and concept design work for different programs, a colleague called Crowley about the EPF program and, after he worked on rotational assignments with the ship design team, he transferred to the Naval Architecture and Engineering Division to be the full-time design integration manager.  

Crowley provides support for both Carderock and the Washington Navy Yard in the District of Columbia, but says the major difference between the two government organizations is the work style.  

“The congressional funding came six months prior to me joining, while I was managing day-to-day tasks with each group and reviewing design deliverables,” he said. “The Ship Design Manager Steve Kantz was there executing tasks with me every step of the way while providing senior experience on how to manage the design, acquisition and testing program.” 

The project was a $50 million congressional appropriation for an EPF unmanned logistics autonomous prototype and Crowley joined the team in July 2021 while the project was already underway. During that time, the team was in the requirement-planning phase that consisted of development, test and execution and by June 2022, the team was out on the water testing and certifying the system. 

“My favorite part working on the project was the sea time,” Crowley said. “The time out on sea is valuable and the longest individual trial we did on the platform lasted a full week, at sea testing and tuning the system. Being out there was fantastic as was being able to work on the bridge and working with the ship’s master, senior navy staff and senior shipyard staff to make it happen.”

The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) team on the project consisted of NAVSEA 05, Carderock’s Combatant Craft Division, NSWC Philadelphia Division, NSWC Dahlgren Division and Navy contractors. The most challenging part for Crowley was the scheduling, which he said made the timeline for designing, testing and acquiring systems a lot faster than expected.

The EPF project helped the Navy’s mission by demonstrating the scalability of the technology and demonstrated the viability of the technology in larger surface vessels. According to Crowley, there were reasonable doubts that the technology would work with large-scale machinery plants and steering systems, but the tests Crowley and his team conducted demonstrated that modifying and tuning these systems could lead to a successful deployment on larger naval assets.

Although there are no immediate next steps for the project, the Ship Design Team are working with other organizations in the naval enterprise to fully utilize the data that was gathered from their experience.

“The EPF Ship Design Team is continuing our work delivering EPF's to Military Sealift Command,” Crowley said. “We're currently working on delivering the new Flight Two variants, as well as refining the design of the Expeditionary Medical Ship variants that were recently awarded.”

When asked about upcoming collaboration work, he said the team is involved with several other autonomy efforts to leverage the data that was collected and standards they developed. They want to ensure the lessons learned from the EPF project would inform future autonomy programs.