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NEWS | March 25, 2022

NSWC Crane employee recognized for using emerging technologies to manage data, processes across NAVSEA

By Sarah K. Miller, NSWC Crane Corporate Communications

A Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) employee was awarded the Department of the Navy (DoN) Meritorious Civilian Service Award (MCSA), which is the third highest award a Navy civilian can receive.

Steven Owens, a Hotline Investigator at NSWC Crane, received the MCSA for his “significant contributions” in his role while on special detail to the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Inspector General (IG) from June 2019 to June 2021.

NSWC Crane is one of the activities within NAVSEA, which is an organization that includes more than 85,000 civilian and military personnel in 34 activities located across the United States and Asia. Owens spent over two years as a part time detail to NAVSEA IG Inspection Program in Washington, D.C. His primary role there was to assist in the redesign and deployment of the new inspection card system used by NAVSEA IG and the commands they inspect.

Owens says this award, which recognizes his efforts during his detail in D.C., is meaningful. He says the impact spans across the entire NAVSEA Enterprise, including all 10 Surface and Undersea Warfare Centers.

“I feel very humble and appreciate the recognition from NAVSEA IG,” says Owens. “My goal was to modernize and gain efficiencies in functions, specifically the Inspection process, which can be very taxing sometimes to individual commands. If I can help improve their process, it helps us at the local level. Since the inspection process can be somewhat disruptive to commands, any ideas I can share to minimize the impact to command was my goal. I helped with the standardization of the process so people have a clear understanding of what needs to be provided. It means a lot to be recognized for these contributions.”

The NAVSEA IG conducts inspections at its activities every few years to ensure command alignment to programs, make sure commands have controls in place for operation, set compliance areas, support the workforce, and mitigate risks. These inspections focus on the business operations of commands.

The award citation states that Owens’ “technical expertise, insight, initiative, and hard work resulted in the NAVSEA IG having an innovative, highly effective, and compliance-oriented Command Inspection Program. [He] integrated emerging technologies with data integrity improvements resulting in a highly capable post-inspection tracking system. Transferring and validating over 1300 records of non-compliance, [he] improved post-inspection work at 32 NAVSEA subordinate commands while creating a metrics dashboard informing all levels of NAVSEA leadership regarding the timely closure of findings.”

His involvement in the Command Inspection Program improves the previous system.

“The new system allows for better tracking and correlation of information across the enterprise to understand potential systemic issues in various compliance areas. You can learn what the issues maybe in specific programs through the data being captured on inspection cards. The importance of mining this data and having a way to combine it allows for Inspector leads to see across the enterprise.”

Owens started his civil service career in 2010 as a staff employee to the NSWC Crane Human Resource Director. Before working at NSWC Crane, Owens served several years in the military in the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army. Owens spent 12 years working at Toyota, where he learned to be highly efficient and has applied that to his roles at NSWC Crane.

“I had to be an efficiency monster,” says Owens. “Every second counts on the production line; anytime you gain efficiencies, over time they all add up to be major efficiency gains. At NSWC Crane, everyone contributes to support the warfighter— we want to work smarter, not harder. This helps us do better and go faster.”

The inspection process includes a card system to monitor progress. Owens says his unique background in both the technical aspects and the inspection program itself helped him make significant improvements to this system, which include removing the element of human error.

“Because of my background and understanding of the tool, we used called SharePoint to create the Inspection POAM 2.0 tool,” says Owens, “I was able to make the new system have better tracking across the enterprise and various compliance areas. The new system allows users to use data to understand if there are systemic issues or individual command issues. The new system also provides the lead inspector a way to identify and mitigate systemic problems easier. The new system allows data to be viewed visually, all the information gets transferred, and there’s less hand-entry data.”

To transition to the new system, Owens had to clean a lot of the data. Owens says efficiencies were enhanced with the design of the new system.

“The new system helps with data integrity, with more capabilities from the background of the system that wasn’t previously available. We maximized the use of commercially available tools to increase efficiency—charts are automatically generated and updated in the background on Sharepoint. A future goal is to have a business tool in the program that would be used more broadly to put data visualization charts on the main page of the system that are interactive and show real-time data, so inspectors and command can dig into that data and see what is behind the numbers. Before with the old system, it was a much more tedious process to retrieve the information you wanted—and you had to pull out records and do correlation and compilation yourself.”

The award citation also states, “Fostering a culture of compliance across the NAVSEA enterprise, [he] created a Users' Guide for inspectors to follow and were solely responsible for the construction of a database enabling NAVSEA IG personnel to maintain the accuracy and data integrity of this inspection card system.”

Owens created two different user guides for the new system: one for inspectors and one for administrators. He also completed video tutorials to ease learning of the new system. 

 “What we’ve implemented in the 2.0 system provided a much cleaner, user-friendly system not only for the inspectors, but for the commands. The data is more reliable and easier to use. A lot of the built-in features that ensure data integrity and automatically populated based on selections made, where previously it was entered in manually. There’s a domino effect where commands gain time back.”

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.

Join Our Team! NAVSEA employs a diverse, highly trained, educated, and skilled workforce - from students and entry level employees to experienced professionals and individuals with disabilities. We support today's sophisticated Navy and Marine Corps ships, aircraft, weapon systems and computer systems. We are continuously looking for engineers, scientists, and other STEM professionals, as well as talented business, finance, logistics and other support experts to ensure the U.S. Navy can protect and defend America. Please connect with NSWC Crane Recruiting at this site - https://navsea.recsolu.com/external/form/jmR6cUhZKZ_qD5QUqyMk8w or email us at crane_recruiting@navy.mil