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NEWS | Aug. 31, 2021

Riding the Frequency Waves: NSWC Dahlgren Division Chief Engineer Recognized for Excellence Supporting Electromagnetic Spectrum Programs

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications

The mobile telegraphy apparatus, a predecessor of today’s two-way radio, was first introduced in the British Army during the first decade of the 1900s, and used to great effect during the Boer War and World War. The device used radiofrequency signals – radio waves that are a type of electromagnetic radiation – to transmit and receive communicative data. Radiofrequency signals are part of the electromagnetic spectrum, a copulation of electromagnetic radiation energy distribution according to wavelengths.

Since then, government, military forces, industry and academia continuously strive to discover numerous ways to tap into the electromagnetic spectrum and further technological advancements. In the modern era, engineers and scientists at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) utilize the versatile applications of the electromagnetic spectrum to develop and integrate innovative technology – in aircraft, ships, warfighter and radar systems and communications capabilities.

For NSWCDD Branch Chief Engineer Rufino Adorno-Avila, serving as a project lead for the Spectrum Relocation Fund (SRF) program and as group lead for the Spectrum Engineering and Analysis Group within the Spectrum Supportability Branch led to opportunities to support a multitude of projects in various stages of development.

“The electromagnetic spectrum, although an infinite natural resource in principle, its use in practical applications is not, and therefore needs to be managed accordingly,” said Adorno-Avila. “We want to maximize this resource for our purposes that directly support the warfighter and mission.”

As the SRF project lead and group lead, Adorno-Avila worked with his teams in the Spectrum Supportability Branch at NSWCDD, securing funding and procuring equipment while also meeting the needs of the program sponsors and leading product development. “Supporting and engaging the sponsors – keeping them up to date on the latest developments and constantly communicating – was one area of focus for us,” he said. “Another area was to focus on our people and providing ways to increase efficiency within our team. Working on a one-on-one basis with the various teams and effectively communicating ensures that we are maximizing our support and efforts.”

Adorno-Avila serves as the alternate installation spectrum manager (ISM) for NSWCDD. In this role, he assists the ISM in managing the electromagnetic spectrum use in NSWCDD by providing a review of radiation requests and spectrum related purchases. The processes and procedures Adorno-Avila manages ensure that NSWCDD preserves and protects its Experimental License for spectrum usage.

In his current position as chief engineer, Adorno-Avila is dedicated to maintaining technical processes and rigor within the Electromagnetic Measurements & Engineering Branch. Through his work within the SRF program, the Spectrum Engineering and Analysis Group teams and the Electromagnetic Measurements & Engineering Branch, Adorno-Avila continues to successfully champion for the workforce at NSWCDD and the warfighter.

During an employee recognition event held in August to acknowledge one of two award winners, NSWCDD personnel presented Adorno-Avila with The USN-USMC Electromagnetic Spectrum Workforce Excellence Awards program Rising Star Award for his leadership achievements on the electromagnetic spectrum.

His citation reads in part, “he has effectively led the implementation of the project technical needs, customer requirements and team member professional development.” The citation also notes, “[Adorno-Avila] has proven to be a committed and trusted leader who is playing a significant role in the long-term professional development of the group, and thereby the long-term electromagnetic spectrum support provided by NSWCDD to the fleet.”

Adorno-Avila attributed the distinguished recognition to his colleagues and senior leadership. “It is an honor and a privilege to receive recognition for this achievement. The continuous efforts demonstrated by our teams are truly impactful and encouraging. The work that we do here is cutting-edge and provides such rapid developmental growth to our team members,” he said. “I am able to succeed in my leadership role through the opportunities provided to me by the branch and department heads. I have a passion for my work and am appreciative of the many collaborative efforts with the expert workforce here at Dahlgren.”

Additionally, The USN-USMC Electromagnetic Spectrum Workforce Excellence Awards program presented the John Lussier Leadership Award to NSWCDD Electronic Engineer David Michael Mearns for his work in supporting electromagnetic energy development. According to his awards citation, “Mr. Mearns has been a key technical leader in representing the Navy’s technical and operational interests in many spectrum management areas, including analyzing impacts and providing mitigation recommendations to secure access for both future and legacy spectrum-dependent systems in a significantly reduced electromagnetic radio frequency spectrum.”