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Navy Civilians: Working Together in Support of the #Warfighter

Navy civilians are employed all over the world, assisting the Navy’s #Warfighters to complete the mission. We asked Juan M. Garcia, III, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) to discuss how they accomplish that.
Daniel King, a microwave/electro-optic (MS32) electronics engineer at Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Corona Division, uses visible lasers to align various optical components. (U.S. Navy photo by Greg Vojtko/Released)

As we take time during the month of October to reflect on our naval heritage, it’s important that we recognize a core component of the team—our civilian workforce.

Today, there are more than 200,000 civilians serving within the Department of the Navy (DON). To put that number in perspective, the DON, which is one of the largest and most complex organizations in the federal government, has a civilian workforce the size of General Motors or Verizon.

Service comes in many forms, and our Navy civilians contribute each day to the success of this department. Just take a moment to read the three examples below — Navy civilians support the mission first and foremost, improve our capabilities and develop our people, helping to make us the strongest Navy the world has ever seen.

The chance to serve and support the warfighter attracts some of the most diverse, talented and highly skilled individuals this country has to offer, which is why the Navy consistently leads the way in research and development.  Our largest career fields are in science, technology, engineering and logistics.  From counter-IED technology and GPS, to unmanned aerial vehicles and alternative energy, Navy civilians lay the foundation for many of the revolutionary technologies we see and use every day.

Of the more than 200,000 civilians comprising our branch, 60 percent are veterans. Civilian careers offer the opportunity for veterans to continue serving their country while also using and building upon the valuable skills they acquired while in uniform.

Not only is it important for us to recognize the support civilians provide to the warfighter, we must also acknowledge the sacrifice civilians have made for our country.  Most notably, Department of the Navy civilians were among the 125 men and women who lost their lives at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. Since then, many more have made the ultimate sacrifice in our fight against terror.

Civilians will continue to play a critical role in our smarter and leaner force, even in the face of unprecedented uncertainty and change. The Navy will continue to be on the front line of our nation’s warfighting efforts, in war and in peace, with a proud heritage of success in battle, on, above, and below the sea. Thank you for the incredible work you do each and every day, and for carrying forward our more than two-century tradition of warfighting excellence, adaptation and resilience.


Dr. Michael E. Wright (Center right)

Dr. Michael E. Wright – (NAVAIR – China Lake)

In response to the Secretary of the Navy’s challenge to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are associated with naval operations, Wright developed a new process for creating full-performance jet fuels based on plant cellulosic waste materials. This patented process offers the Navy a practical alternative to the use of fossil based fuels, which improves the Navy’s capability to reduce its carbon footprint and its dependence on foreign sources of petroleum.

His patented process converts butanol to jet fuel in a clean and energy-efficient manner. Wright was also involved in the subsequent production and testing efforts. The testing proved the biojet fuel met or exceeded all current Navy fuel specifications. These results led to a scaled-up demonstration phase. Next steps call for more demonstrations of increasing scale, which may eventually lead to full-scale platform testing in fleet assets.


Electromagnetic Railgun Team
(Cynthia Holland, Vanessa J. Lent, Jeff A. Polochak, Benjamin T. McGlasson and Adam R. Jones) — (ONR)

Five members of the Office of Naval Research’s Electromagnetic (EM) Railgun technology team received the 2011 Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year Award, citing the team’s work to significantly advance the EM Railgun launcher technology.

The EM Railgun, based at NSWC-Dahlgren, is a long-range weapons system that fires projectiles using electricity instead of chemical propellants. Magnetic fields created by high electrical currents accelerate a sliding metal conductor or armature between two rails to launch projectiles at 4,500 to 5,600 miles per hour. The EM Railgun provides the Navy with greater steel-on-target accuracy and firepower, as well as affording the warfighters and vessels with improved protections and multi-mission capabilities.


Dr. William Conley

Dr. William Conley  (NAVSEA – NSWC Crane)

Mechanical engineer William Conley, Ph.D., spends countless hours on research designed to mitigate and prevent the deaths caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). And, this past year, Dr. Conley was once again recognized for his extensive research and contributions — this time with the Department of Defense Employee or Service Member with a Disability Award.

Dr. Conley’s research at Naval Sea Systems Command’s (NAVSEA) Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division (NSWC Crane) is focused on radio frequency measurements and its implications on radio-controlled IED electronic warfare systems. Dr. Conley was instrumental in developing a high frequency I-Probe (isolated probe) – a new sensing probe measuring system.

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