An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : Saved News Module
NEWS | July 13, 2022

Retired NUWC Division Newport scientist earns DON Meritorious Civilian Service Award

By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs

Dr. Donald H. Steinbrecher, who retired as chief scientist in the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport’s Undersea Warfare Electromagnetic Systems Department in March, has earned the Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the third highest honorary civilian award bestowed by the U.S. Navy. 

Steinbrecher, a resident of Brookline, Massachusetts, launched his 22-year career at Division Newport in 1998, and amassed a long list of significant scientific contributions benefiting both the Department of Defense and the U.S. Navy. This award recognizes his achievements as chief scientist from 2002-22. 

As chief scientist, he maintained a technology roadmap and represented the department on Division Newport’s Science and Technology Council. His software-defined air interface concept won the Chief of Naval Research's Million Dollar Challenge for Innovative Ideas in 2007.

In addition to that award, Steinbrecher has earned multiple other awards/honors including: the 2019 Office of Naval Research Fred E. Saalfeld Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Science; the 2018 Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers-United States of America Harry Diamond Memorial Award; Assistant Secretary of the Navy Research in 2007; and the Development and Acquisition Dr. Delores M. Etter Award for Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year Award in 2007. He also launched the White Nail Innovation Project in 2005 as an investment in the future, to help young scientists and engineers establish technical foundations for their Navy careers while being mentored by senior scientists.

Steinbrecher’s research activity is focused on establishing a leadership role for the Navy in the field of software-defined electromagnetic-signals receiving and transmitting systems. He developed the enabling hardware technology that made possible the original Navy Relocatable Over-The-Horizon (OTH) Radar, which was the first operational wideband OTH radar system to use digital beam forming. His most recent accomplishment was the invention and testing of a new air interface that has an aperture efficiency greater than 90% and an instantaneous bandwidth greater than five octaves.

Steinbrecher is known internationally for his “groundbreaking work in broadband high dynamic range signals acquisition systems, having made significant contributions to the development of the hardware concepts that enabled the evolution of software-defined radios,” the award states. “His exceptional scientific achievements will continue to benefit the defense community well into the future.”

NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher's Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.

Join our team! NUWC Division Newport, one of the 20 largest employers in Rhode Island, employs a diverse, highly trained, educated, and skilled workforce. We are continuously looking for engineers, scientists, and other STEM professionals, as well as talented business, finance, logistics and other support experts who wish to be at the forefront of undersea research and development. Please connect with NUWC Division Newport Recruiting at this site- and follow us on LinkedIn @NUWC-Newport and on Facebook @NUWCNewport.