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NEWS | Jan. 27, 2022

NSWCDD Dam Neck Activity Employee Earns Prestigious Award

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications

Jimmie Opilla, event planner supporting the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), recently received the Joint Meritorious Civilian Service Award for his contributions as a Navy civilian that spanned nearly two decades. Opilla is also part of Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division Dam Neck Activity’s (NSWCDD DNA) Readiness and Training Systems Department.

The Joint Meritorious Civilian Service Award is the second highest-ranking civilian service award granted under the approval authority of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“It was an honor to receive this award as it recognized and validated my performance and the Navy’s commitment to deliver technical training to the combatant commanders and their staffs on behalf of the Navy,” said Opilla.

Opilla knows this award is more than just for him. “I don’t consider this an award for my individual accomplishments,” Opilla explained. “Receiving this award… required technical support and close coordination with thousands of senior military officers, experienced civilians and contractors over those years.”

Those years Opilla spoke about went from Oct. 2002 to Dec. 2021. During that time, he distinguished himself as the United States European Command, United States Central Command, NORAD and the USNORTHCOM Joint Event Planner, Joint Exercise Division, and Joint Information Operations Range Operations Officer, Cyberspace Environment Division, Joint Force Development Directorate, the Joint Staff, according to the award citation. His meticulous planning and relentless pursuit of excellence resulted in significant contributions to the restoration of joint readiness, improvement of joint warfighting capabilities, and the development of leaders for the Joint Force. Through it all, the fleet benefited from his hard work.

“The Navy has been a big benefactor in the technical training support as they participate yearly in numerous Fleet Synthetic Training events as a component of the Joint Training Exercise Program,” added Opilla. “The fleet is a better trained military service because of NSWCDD DNA’s distributed training technical support to the Joint Staff.”

To better prepare training exercises for both a joint staff environment and the Navy, Opilla attended classes and seminars to allow him to train the trainer.

“Over my career as a Navy civilian, the Navy has been very supportive in giving me access to training courses that enabled me to deliver quality, tailored training,” he said. “I highly encourage all personnel to take advantage of all educational and training opportunities at their disposal.”