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NEWS | June 23, 2021

Recognition for Excellence: Two NSWCDD Employees and Team Honored for Technical Work and Execution

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications

Excellence is defined as the quality of being eminently good. During the second quarter of 2021, two scientists and engineers at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) and a team of NSWCDD and NSWCDD Dam Neck Activity (DNA) employees received acknowledgement for their outstanding work supporting the Dahlgren mission and the naval warfighter from the Program Executive Office (PEO) for Integrated Warfare Systems (IWS). Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ Cheramie, Dr. Thanh Tran and the NSWCDD Aegis Baseline 10 Integration team are experts in their respective fields and excel at their work.

Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ Cheramie

“A jack of all trades, master of none,” is one way Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ Cheramie, NSWCDD lead cybersecurity engineer in the Gun Computer System Mission Assurance Branch, describes herself. After contracting for the Department of Defense (DoD) for a few years, Cheramie joined the ranks as a government employee at NSWCDD. She worked her way up to the role of NSWCDD Base Network Security Officer before deciding to try something different.

“I wanted to try working in a technical department where I could improve some of the cyber that was being delivered to the fleet,” Cheramie explained.

According to the citation for the PEO IWS award, “[Cheramie’s] efforts have been critical to identifying and implementing cybersecurity requirements for Gun Weapon System (GWS) Mark (MK) 34/MK 38 to support U.S. Navy cruisers and destroyers, as well as U.S. Coast Guard cutters,” providing hands-on leadership for her team of 14.

“Getting this award is pretty humbling,” she said. “When [members of the cybersecurity team] have a chance to be recognized, I hope it is an inspiration for others.”

Dr. Thanh Tran

The mission at NSWCDD is to “deliver warfare systems to protect our nation and defeat our adversaries.” The Automated Celestial Navigation System (ACNS) program focuses on filling a future need for the U.S. Navy – operating in a GPS-denied environment. Dr. Thanh Tran is the science and technology lead for the ACNS program.

According to the PEO IWS citation, Tran “identified a critical ACNS engineering deficiency and engineered a solution to keep the ACNS program on schedule [for delivery]… aboard a Navy guided-missile destroyer for critical testing.”

Brandon Duschen, Tran’s branch head, nominated him for the award. “Dr. Tran is a very hard worker. He always goes above and beyond for everything he does. He is critical for our navigation team and is a great asset for Dahlgren.”

According to Duschen, Tran identified a fiber optic problem that connected the ACNS program’s topside unit to the internal components.

“Without that cable, there would be no communication or ties to the navigation system from the topside unit. [His catch] was critical to maintaining the [program’s] schedule,” Duschen said. “It is because of him and the work he did that the installations are ongoing onboard the ship, and testing and integration proceeded as planned.”

NSWCDD Aegis Baseline 10 Integration Team

As Naval ships travel during wartime and peacetime, products and programs with roots at NSWCDD travel around the world. The Aegis Combat System has been on ships for decades. The Aegis Baseline (BL) 10 Integration team works to integrate an upgraded version of the system to the fleet.

“Our group focuses on the radar and making sure the SPY-6 radar is integrated with the rest of the Aegis weapon system,” NSWCDD SPY-6 Lead Software Analyst Abelardo “Abel” Guzman explained.

As COVID-19 pummeled the world and travel restrictions were a common aspect of travel, Guzman and the rest of the team made their way to Kauai, Hawaii to stand up a virtualized testing environment (VTE).

“We packaged up the VTE, took it to Hawaii, installed it and integrated it with the live radar system,” said Guzman. “It was a big effort. Within a year and a half, we went from this idea of using a virtualized weapons system with the SPY-6 to controlling the radar with the Aegis weapon system and tracking live aircraft and surface craft.”

“Without this early integration opportunity enabled by the virtualized combat system, the Aegis BL 10 would have to wait for shipboard testing to fully exercise the radar integration and tracking,” according to the PEO IWS award citation. “The successful live test events… conducted in a virtualized environment, significantly mitigated risks from integrating a new radar into a new combat system by several months, if not years.”

The Aegis BL 10 Integration team comprises members from several different departments and branches at NSWCDD. Members include: David Bateman, Joseph Brazil, Alec Carlyle, James Dove, Craig Emerton, John Gim, Abelardo Guzman III, Brittany Herring, Eamen Keller, Chloe Payne, Larry Pope, Elmo Sanabria, James Sullivan, Yaziel Vazquez-Nieves and Cory Willoughby.