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NEWS | May 5, 2021

NSWCDD SSTM Profile: Candaice Deloach

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications

Senior Scientific Technical Managers (SSTMs) provide a continuity of technical leadership and oversight that is needed to ensure long-term stewardship of an organization's technical capabilities. SSTMs typically have significant research or development experience, and are recognized as renowned experts in their fields.

Candaice Deloach was recently appointed as the Senior Scientific Technical Manager for Warfare Systems Software Science and Technology (S&T) and Development at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD), where she will continue to provide expert knowledge and shape software development efforts. She is the first African American woman appointed to a senior executive level position at NSWCDD.

Deloach earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and business management from Old Dominion University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in engineering management with a special emphasis on modeling and simulation and cybersecurity.

What was your career path prior to becoming an SSTM?

I have been with NSWCDD for 18 years now and have worked on many different programs and projects across the warfare center and with various external entities as well. Supporting modern software practices and overseeing software development teams – government and contractor –training, hiring strategies and project planning are only a few past responsibilities that I embarked on. In my previous role as the Chief Software Architect for Electromagnetic & Sensor Systems Department, I kept my focus on building an innovative software organization that understood risk, diversity of thought, measured what mattered, operated in uncertainty, shared knowledge and information and was trained in agile decision making. I carry those same intentions, heightened across a broader spectrum, into my new Software SSTM role.

What inspired you to pursue your particular field?

I have always considered myself to be a problem solver, and areas of math and science have given me the venue to express that characteristic. During my childhood, I also found myself constantly surrounded by people that were heavily focused in mathematics and engineering, whether through areas of accounting, electrical engineering or specifically computer science. Tying those formative experiences to growing up in a military environment where I had the opportunity to visit ships as a child and experience a whole different world where the cause is great and the stakes were much higher; and every variable needed to inspire my path was present.

How does your work impact the Navy's mission?

While I have multiple focus areas, such as software factory, Development Security Operations (DevSecOps), metrics, tools and training, at the very core I am restructuring how we develop and deploy “today” versus “tomorrow.” That tomorrow must account for strategic alignment not just within NSWCDD, but also across the Navy as a whole. True sustainment and maintainability are only possible when we have built solutions that can scale at every level and align with the Department of Navy. In addition, it is imperative that we pursue solutions that are viable across the Department of Defense, as at the end of the day we all support the warfighter.

At the most foundational level, I’m striving to produce and deliver the highest possible quality product to the warfighter, ensuring that these capabilities work as intended and are provided promptly.  

What's the most promising new development you're working on in your field (not classified!)?

We are reshaping Dahlgren’s software factory, grounded in strategic capabilities. Our organization has researched and studied the capabilities that exist within NSWCDD already, and now we begin the work of clustering our projects according to common capabilities versus clustering by org codes. It opens up a whole new world where we see the elimination of redundancy and introduce the sharing of resources and data in new ways. There is a significant level of streamlining and efficiency that occurs because we no longer have multiple teams engaging in similar efforts that aren’t aware of one another.  Data governance and software reuse now find a seat at this table along with software metrics. By leveraging previous practices and procedures that proved successful, we reduce our development time, which enables a higher quality product to be released to the fleet, in a faster timeframe, all while fostering training and sharing of lessons learned.  Tightly coupled to that is software metrics, which are imperative.  After all, we are in a science and engineering field, so we must always operate in a reality where we create and innovate while ensuring we stop to look and see what the numbers are teaching us along the way. 

What do you like to do when you're not working?

When I am not at work, No. 1 is spending time with my family. I do jokingly consider myself a city farmer (I am from Iowa, after all) and have started a mini lavender farm in my backyard with 80 plants.  Working in nature is all about respecting diverse ecosystems and problem-solving, so it is fun to see the parallels between the two worlds and the intersection of it all.