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NEWS | Nov. 14, 2019

A NSWC Crane Chief Engineer awarded medal for leveraging naval research to rapidly field solutions to warfighter

By NSWC Crane Corporate Communications

CRANE, Ind. – A Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) Chief Engineer, Timothy Vance, received the Department of the Navy (DoN) Meritorious Civilian Service Award for leveraging naval research to rapidly field solutions to the warfighter.

The Meritorious Civilian Service Award is the third highest honor bestowed upon Navy Civilians.

“[Vance’s] superb technical leadership in continual development, testing, fielding, and sustainment of counter-radio controlled improvised explosive device electronic warfare capabilities as the Chief Engineer at NSWC Crane from January 2015 through June 2019,” says the official award letter from Rear Admiral Eric Ver Hage, Commander, Naval Surface Warfare Center/Commander, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, to Vance. “[Vance’s] vision, technical expertise, and attention, to duty were integral to the Crane Division’s rapid fielding of counter-small unmanned aerial systems (C-sUAS) capabilities that are vital to the safety and security of our nation’s warfighters.”

Vance says he is honored to receive this award.

“I remember writing and championing similar awards when I was in the U.S. Army,” says Vance. “I know it takes a lot of effort to champion a medal such as this through the chain of command. I really appreciate everyone’s efforts to make this award a reality.”

Vance is one of the founding members of NSWC Crane’s Expeditionary Electronic Warfare Division established in 2007. NSWC Crane Electronic Warfare involves using the electronic spectrum to provide protection for our U.S. forces.

“We do this in our division by preventing the explosion of road-side, improvised radio controlled bombs,” says Vance. “This use of electronic warfare has resulted in the saving of thousands of fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters and brought them home alive. This medal is for taking what we have learned in the past ten years with improvised explosive device (IED) jamming, gaining support, and applying this knowledge to flying IEDs and bombs.”

In order to do this, Vance had the foresight to understand future threats. He took the knowledge from building Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare (CREW) systems, which prevents roadside bombs from exploding, and used Naval Innovative Science & Engineering (NISE) research funding to apply that knowledge to counter emerging Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs) threats.

“We implemented NISE research to develop, test and reprogram existing EW systems to prevent drone threats,” says Vance. “Because we had already began development and testing, we were able to urgently field solutions when it became needed. We took what we learned over the last ten years and applied it to a new problem. The NISE research kept us ahead of the threat.”

Vance has spent his career solving problems for the Department of Defense.

“I was always fascinated to learn how things work,” says Vance. “I used to tear my toys apart to see what was inside and understand how they worked. As an engineer working in Electronic Warfare, I get to tear apart improvised devices to see how they work and develop techniques to prevent them from working.”

Vance formerly served in the U.S. Army as a Sergeant in the Signal Corps prior to working at Crane. Vance’s role as Chief Engineer means he stays up to date on the latest science and technology.

“I know what it feels like to be deployed to a foreign country,” says Vance. “I can relate to the fear of not returning home alive. What motivates me most is the impact we have at Crane on saving lives. We do this by developing solutions using the latest technology to save the lives of warfighters that are deployed in harm’s way, and we do this very quickly in order to be effective. Rapidly changing technology drives the need to rapidly develop solutions.”

About NSWC Crane

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter.