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Oct 13, 2022

NAWCWD adds 36 ESDP graduates

Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division honored 36 new Engineer and Scientist Development Program graduates during ceremonies Oct. 11 and 12 in China Lake and Point Mugu, California.

ESDPs complete three to five years of rotational tours, mentoring, and a minimum of 300 hours of training in addition to training toward receiving their Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act Level 2 certification.

This year’s ESDP graduates hold a wide range of degrees from more than 20 colleges and universities across the country – and one from Athens, Greece. Their personal interests include their pets, music, hiking, Kung Fu, and gaming, to name a few. That diversity of education, thought, and backgrounds makes NAWCWD stronger, said Dan Carreño, NAWCWD’s executive director.

“Diversity is not just about what your degree is, but also what your experiences are,” he added. “The best ideas come when you have a lot of backgrounds and perspectives on the team.”

Carreño recommended that graduates keep contact with the networks and mentors they gained during their ESDP experience.

“I promise you 30 years from now you’re going to remember some of them and need their support. Keep building those relationships.”

Rear Adm. Keith Hash, NAWCWD commander, encouraged graduates to find a good work-life balance to ensure they can bring their “whole selves” to solving the challenge of delivering capabilities the warfighters need at a cost they can afford.

“There are hard problems that we need you all, as our up-and-coming leaders, to take on and get after,” he said. “We need you to take care of yourselves, to be physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy. You are now the leaders, and we expect amazing things from you.”

Fall 2022 ESDP graduates are:

Aaron Bunch, Adam Kollman, Adam Sher, Alejandra Perez, Alexandra Edwards, Austin Ogilvie, Baofan Pacheco, Christian Aranda, Christophyr Kline, Dennis Wu, Elijah Grubbs, Emily Karr, Eric Bohanan, Greg Kommel, Jason R. Stockton, John Mumford, Jomar Gonzalo, Joshua Miles, Kayla Rhynes, Kelly Alder, Lenny Mendoza, Lydia Amador, Mary Catherine Buckley, Michael LaBarbera, Morgan Eudy, Myrka Montaño, Nathan Rodriguez, Nicholas Pio, Niko Hatzopoulos, Rachel Finley, Ricardo Barreto, Rio Patraw, Thomas Crouse, Todd Dames, Ulysses Martinez Velázquez, and Yadier Manzanares.



Sep 28, 2022

NAWCWD hosts NISE TEM 2022

Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division hosted the 2022 Naval Innovative Science and Engineering Technical Exchange Meeting September 21-22 in China Lake, California.

Called the NISE TEM for short, the event brings together scientists and engineers from the Navy’s warfare centers and laboratories for two days of collaboration focused around NISE-funded projects.

“The NISE program was created about a decade ago to really promote basic and applied research, the development and transition of technologies, workforce development, and laboratory revitalization,” said Andy Corzine, NAWCWD’s chief technology officer.

This year’s technical exchange meeting drew more than 400 participants from across the country.

“The thought process behind the TEM is that we bring those scientists and engineers together to share the work that they’re doing, some of their technical innovations, and the solutions to the problems that we’re working on across the Navy,” said the event’s sponsor, Dr. Brett Seidle, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, Test, and Engineering. “It’s a great way to foster connective tissue between our warfare centers and laboratories in ways that we don’t always naturally do.”

In addition to panel discussions and breakout sessions focused on topics such as technology forecasting, hypersonics, and artificial intelligence, participants had the opportunity to share their ongoing work in a series of poster sessions. Each project submitted a summary poster and stood by to discuss their process, results, and next steps with peers from other Navy laboratories and warfare centers.

“Events like these, and the NISE TEM specifically, really give our principle investigators and employees an unbelievable opportunity to see and learn about a lot of the similar work going on,” Corzine explained. “We’ve got more than 100 posters that allow people to really put some context into the work they’re doing and provide insight into what others are doing.”

Navy Warfare Centers and laboratories submitted a wide variety of topics for discussion during poster sessions. Projects highlighted included technology challenges, demonstration exercises, highlights from 5G testing, UAVs, machine learning, and more.

One thread running throughout all the projects: developing warfighting capabilities. Although the research and development enterprise is largely civilian, the ultimate focus is “fleet-first.” According to Dan Carreño, NAWCWD executive director, that focus is one that runs through all the warfare centers and labs, but is especially important to the NAWCWD workforce.

“The military-civilian partnership is crucial to the successfully executing our R&D mission,” he said, noting that although the Warfare Center is a mostly civilian enterprise, military members are embedded throughout the teams to give early feedback and help guide developments. “Early in my career I learned that I might have great ideas, only to find out that these ideas were not actually usable by the operators. We’re here to support the warfighter, and if our technologies, investments, and innovative ideas don’t have an end state of being usable by the fleet, then we don’t want to pursue them.”



Aug 30, 2022

NAWCWD recognizes more than 80 teammates with Honorary Awards

Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division honored more than 80 teammates for excellence in warfighter support during the annual NAWCWD Honorary Awards ceremonies held Aug. 24 in Point Mugu and Aug. 25 in China Lake, California.

The Honorary Awards are named in honor of several men and women who made a difference to the Navy and the nation in the nearly 80 years since NAWCWD’s predecessor commands launched at China Lake and Point Mugu. Some of the awards date back to the 1950s and 60s.

“I can’t help but think of the traditions that these awards reflect,” said Dan Carreño, NAWCWD commander said in his opening remarks. “I grew up with this organization, and looking back at who these awards are named for – they made their marks on history. So do the winners here today.”

He went on to note that selecting a winner from the nominees is one of the harder parts of his job, because all of the nominees, and the teams behind them, are doing such critical work in support of the nation’s warfighters.

The Michelson Laboratory Award was established in 1966 to recognize individuals for significant achievements in management and leadership that further the mission of NAWCWD or for important achievements with specific technical problems in ordnance development, test and evaluation. This year’s honorees are Nicholas Albrecht, Michael Bailey, Tejbir Bling, Jayson Brouchoud, Dung Bui, Gerardo Gamboa, Kyle Godett, Spencer Hall, Thomas Kunkel, Melody McNamara, and Barry Niesen.

The Captain Kenneth A. Walden Memorial Award, which honors Walden’s personal involvement in providing motivation and leadership to others to achieve technical and operational objectives, recognizes those who have made significant strides in personal development, career advancement or have contributed to mission success in NAWCWD’s technical and operational goals within the last three years. Awardees for 2022 are Gregory Francis, Joseph Hibbs II, Alan Kang, Darrin Rice, Richard Rolniak, and Eric Sievert.

The Commander Clifton Evans Jr. Award is reserved for those civilian or military employees who have made significant contributions in information warfare including electronic warfare, countermeasures, and counter-countermeasures. Recipients for 2022 are Robert DeYong, Eun-Joo Ketcham, and Richard Shim.

Rick Kelly, Dr. Mark Mason, and Claire Velicer received the Dr. L.T.E. Thompson Memorial Award, which is NAWCWD’s highest recognition for outstanding individual achievement. China Lake’s success in the field of ordnance was due in great part to Thompson’s initial guidance and to his skill in integrating military and civilian personnel into an enthusiastic, effective group. Candidates are selected based on their outstanding contribution to the advancement of ordnance toward the fulfillment of the NAWCWD mission and must have already received a Michelson Laboratory Award.

The Dr. William B. McLean Memorial Award pays tribute to McLean, technical director at China Lake from 1954 to 1967. This award recognizes outstanding creativity among employees in furthering NAWCWD’s mission as evidenced by significant inventions. This year’s recipients are Benjamin Blazek, Anthony Kunkel, and Shawn McGann.

Aubrey Farmer, Scott Fuller, and Kenneth Young received the Dr. Charles C. Lauritsen Memorial Award. This award recognizes outstanding individual achievement in the advancement of technology in energetic materials, ordnance, propulsion, and fusing or career achievement in the field of energetics, and honors Lauritsen’s successful development and utilization of rockets and missiles, and the establishment of the civilian-military team concept in the Navy lab structure.

The Dr. Manuel A. Garcia Memorial Award honors civilian employees for specific achievements regarding improvements to the process and execution of weapon systems test and evaluation through self-initiated activity. James Harris, Richard Johnson, Justin Matwiczak, Frank Nyarko, Belen M. Parton, and Steven Wheatley earned awards for 2022.

The Gwendolyn Elliot Hunt Memorial Award recognizes those who have made significant strides in personal development, academic achievement, career advancement and/or mission accomplishment. Hunt was a leader and technical professional who rose to each challenge in her professional and personal life and is said to have made improvements to the efficiency and quality of life at NAWCWD. This year’s honorees are Marissa Bell and Alisa King.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Awards recognizes employees and supervisors who have made outstanding contributions to NAWCWD’s EEO program through excellence in leadership, imagination and perseverance. Norelle Swanson won the EEO Award and Pamela Howard won the EEO Supervisory Award.

The Business Management Excellence Awards recognize excellence in business management or those involved in any of the various business or business-related fields in support of NAWCWD’s mission success. These fields include financial, total force management, human resources, contracts and acquisition, information technology, security and legal. Award winners for 2022 are Brittney Bodine, Lea Ann Davis, Charles Harper, Stacy Ireland, and Kim Matsunaga.

Four teams and two individuals received the Warfighter Support Award, which recognizes NAWCWD employees, civilian or military, for specific efforts that provide in-service support for weapon systems and/or improve warfighter operational capabilities/readiness. Recipients demonstrated outstanding fleet support that enhance or greatly improve the operational capabilities and readiness of warfighters. Nominees must receive official recognition from an operational activity identifying the value and improvement provided to the warfighter. Individual awardees were Matthew Ehler and Charles Huenefeld.

Team winners were:

The MQ-8 Engineering Technical Services Team, consisting of Daniel Dockery and James Thomas;  

The Navy/Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System (NMESIS), whose members are Christopher Costoso, Michael Derkey, Matthew Gulart, Ryan Martin, Samantha Martino, Michael McDaniel, Bonnie Patterson, Ingrid Roldan, Stephen Stange, and Gavin Swanson;

The Open Air Battle Shaping Team, who are Ryan Baker, Benjamin Cheung, John Focht, Joseph French, Cindy LeRoy, Scott Lougheed, Jonathan Mattos, Charles McBride, Amanda McWhorter, Michael Powell, Kelly Slone, and Maureen Smith, and;

The Link-16 Inject-to-Live Team, comprised of Anthony Bartel, Kevin Carter, Phillip Charles Jr., Dale Colangelo, Ryan Cranston, Lt. Gordon Finlay, Alfredo Hernandez, Moises Rodriguez, John A. Sontag, Thomas L. Taliaferro, Matthew Williams, Everett Wilson III, and Anhkhoi L. Vu.

Rear Adm. Keith Hash closed out the ceremony, noting that he is one of the newest people at the NAWCWD, having taken over as NAWCWD commander June 30.

“What an awesome opportunity to be a part of this awards ceremony,” he said, noting how the breadth and depth of the awards reflects the complexity of the command. “We are standing on the shoulders of giants, people who did amazing things…. The successes we’re celebrating today, they couldn’t have even envisioned when they set us on this path.”



Jul 18, 2022

NAWCWD inducts 14 into Fellows program

Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division inducted 14 more teammates into the Fellows Program in ceremonies July 12 and 13 in China Lake and Point Mugu, California.

The Fellows Awards were first launched in the 1980s and expanded to become a Naval Air Systems Command program in the 2000s. NAWCWD re-launched its program in 2021, after a three-year hiatus in Fellows inductions.

The NAWCWD Fellows peer-recognition program is arranged in three levels: Associate Fellow, Fellow and Esteemed Fellow. Associate Fellows represent the top 3% of NAWCWD scientists and engineers. Fellows, in turn, represent the top three-quarters of a percent; an Esteemed Fellow is in the top one-quarter of a percent. Each higher tier pulls candidates from the tier below it and candidates are inducted by a majority vote of existing Fellows, although anyone can nominate their teammates for induction.

“You are the foundation of our technical expertise and our contributions to the fleet; you represent our technical backbone,” said Dan Carreño, NAWCWD executive director. “The program really speaks to the character and core values at NAWCWD, and it’s something our junior scientists and engineers can aspire to.”

Harlan Kooima, NAWCWD’s Research and Development Group director, echoed Carreño, noting that the command’s values are not universal.

“Not everyone in the world holds the same values as we do: freedom of thought, voice and expression,” he said. “It is up to us to hold on to those freedoms and the contributions of these individuals help do that.”

This year’s inductees demonstrate expertise in a wide range of warfighting capability development and delivery fields. Read more about the inductees below.

This year’s Associate Fellows are Steven Florian, Marcus Friederichs, Matthew Gross, Rick Kelly, Stewart King, Thomas Kunkel, Rory O’Neil, Gregory Rash: Reed Robinson, and Jeremy Stubbs.

This year’s Fellow inductees are Brett Edwards and Dr. John Stenger-Smith.

This year’s new Esteemed Fellows are: David Melton and James Nelepovitz.