2012 Copernicus Winners (Accomplishments in 2011)

2012 Copernicus Award winners and guests pose with Medal of Honor recipient SFC Leroy Petry, USA.


2012 Copernicus Award winners Capt Paulo Alves, USMC, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Regional Command Southwest, Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan and CWO5 Steven Kubik, USMC, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward)/ Regional Command Southwest









Award Winners 

2012 Copernicus Winners (Accomplishments in 2011)

IT1 Jermaine V. Adams, USN
The Joint Staff

Information Systems Technician First Class Adams is the Junior Emergency Actions (EA) Officer, Operations Team One, National Military Command Center (NMCC), Operations Directorate, J3, Joint Staff. He serves not only in this highly detailed nuclear command and control emergency actions environment, but serves as the subject matter expert on Operations Team One for eight communications assets. Petty Officer Adams is the only qualified E-6 sailor, across five Joint Staff NMCC Operations Teams, who is qualified as an EA Officer, a position normally held by a seasoned chief petty officer. His technical expertise was essential to his operations team’s achieving a remarkable Staff Assessment Visit (SAV) score of 99%, in the mandatory arduous battery of nuclear command and control scenarios of the 2011 SAV. After identifying significant shortfalls in standard communications procedures, Petty Officer Adams researched and initiated a new process of developing Emergency Action Messages (EAMs) on the Automated Injection (AIT) System, thus reducing the time required to transmit EAMs to nuclear forces by more than 50%. Petty Officer Adams also voluntarily took on additional duties to achieve certification as a secure console operator (SCO), responsible for not only 160 unsecure and secure network conferences over multiple communications mediums, but ensuring successful communications among the White House, the Secretary of Defense, the Combatant Commanders and other national and international leaders. Leveraging his experience and expertise in emergency action processes and procedures, Petty Officer Adams developed and implemented a revised training plan to streamline the certification of personnel assigned to Nuclear Command and Control Operations Team. His detailed training schedule resulted in a remarkable 100% pass rate during the certification assessment of seven personnel.



Capt Paulo Alves, USMC

II Marine Expeditionary Force, Regional Command Southwest, Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan

Captain Alves provides oversight on all facets of the non-secure but sensitive Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNET), Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET), and Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange Systems (CENTRIX) – International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). As the senior Marine Cyber Network Operations Engineer in theater, Captain Alves drove several major improvements to the Regional Command Southwest data networks. His efforts included an in-stride migration from Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP) to Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) on the SIPRNET, an upgrade to Server 2008 R2 domain controllers, and implementation of System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), enabling effective command and control across the battle space. Through systematic monitoring and mapping, Captain Alves gained positive controls of three networks (with 38,000 users, 15,000 workstations, and 522 servers), which not only experienced tremendous growth over the past year, but transformed the Regional Command’s data network management from reactive to proactive, capable of heading off potential issues before they become critical situations or outages. Captain Alves also corrected a serious problem with SIPRNET network traffic routing, accomplished during the height of the Afghanistan fighting season. Simultaneously, he directed the cleanup of router configuration, which led to a dramatic decrease in routing failures that cascaded throughout the network. As a result of moving to BGP, warfighters at the forward edge of the battlefield experienced a vastly more reliable communications network.



CDR Kenneth D. Bates, USN

Naval Network Warfare Command – Virginia Beach

Commander Bates, as Deputy Director, Space Operations leads two different divisions supporting Fleet Space Operations and Fleet Satellite Communications (SATCOM) by ensuring all afloat units’ connectivity to the Global Information Grid (GIG) as well as the effective employment of myriad command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) resources. Commander Bates ensured the successful integration of the U.S. Air Force 527th Space Aggressor Squadron into strike group training events, as well as applying these efforts in authoring a “Re-energizing Navy Space” white paper for the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), identifying 11 specific actions for various echelons of command achievable within the current resource-constrained fiscal environment. The paper not only went wholly unedited to the CNO, but all 11 actions were subsequently assigned to space-related sponsors for completion. Commander Bates also authored much of the Fleet Space Effects CONOPS as well as led the Fleet Space Operations team in wholly revising the Space Operations course content and delivery. Initial offerings of the course showed a 200% increase in attendance over previous years. Capitalizing on this course work, the Fleet Space Operations division has improved their Space Effects Packages, raising the staff’s ability to understand and leverage these space products. His efforts to formalize doctrine and revitalize space training and support have ensured a broader understanding of space and the simultaneous detailed application of billions of dollars of on-orbit C4ISR assets for the Navy.



ET1 Edwin T. Benken, USN

Riverine Squadron One – Virginia Beach

Electronics Technician First Class Benken is Riverine Squadron One’s Leading Petty Officer and its Technical C4ISR Manager for Combat Craft Detachment Two. He expertly managed operations during the final Riverine deployment to U.S. Division South (Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation New Dawn), managing the detachment’s sole data and voice link to the Global Information Grid in two austere Southern Iraqi combat zones. Daily oversight of this $145K C4ISR suite facilitated the Commander Task Group’s uninterrupted coordination of critical convoy operations spanning 135 miles of insurgency-controlled roadways. Petty Officer Benken coordinated with the Echelon IV C4ISR department to complete a much needed upgrade to the Forward Looking Infrared ISR (FLIR) system. He provided exceptional systems analysis, identifying 17 critical hardware, software, and firmware discrepancies on four FLIR systems, returning $896K in assets to full mission capability in support of Riverine Warfighter requirements and littoral waterways ISR. As detachment Electronic Key Management System (EKMS) Custodian, he led 54 personnel in maintaining unsurpassed accountability of $729K of geographically dispersed secret and below keying material and controlled cryptographic items without incident. His meticulous management of EKMS across eight tactical vehicles and four combat craft resulted in 100% secure command and control of convoy and Riverine boat operations. In addition, Petty Officer Benken managed the overhaul of $880K in counter radio-controlled improvised explosive devices, electronic warfare, and vehicle receiver/jammer systems prior to urgent redistribution to deploying troops. He also de-conflicted frequency spectrum configurations, validated electronic warfare directives and refurbished $12K in spectrum analysis equipment to ensure the timely and effective reallocation of 12 receiver/jammer units to deploying Iraq U.S. Warfighters.



IT1 Tyler D. Breidenbach, USN

Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station, Naples

Information Systems Technician Petty Officer First Class Breidenbach had the lead in establishing a Defensive Cyberspace Operations (DOC) Center at U.S. Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station (NCTS) Naples, Italy. He was responsible for the planning, integration and implementation of cyber incident handling for Navy networks in the European Theater. Petty Officer Breidenbach successfully trained and supervised a 24/7 watch that reduced ticket response times by 75%. In addition, with minimal assistance, he established working relationships with Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command and Navy Information Operations Command-Maryland that then provided attack sensing and warning, indication and warning, and forensic support. To ensure this endeavor’s success, Petty Officer Breidenbach instituted an innovative procedure that allowed technicians not familiar with local procedures to quickly gain proficiency and begin managing and investigating incidents with minimal training. In addition, he led a team responsible for 100% inventory of $1.6 million in ONE-NET assets, the resolution of 1,350 trouble tickets and the completion of 352 move/add/change requests on or ahead of schedule. Petty Officer Breidenbach’s mentoring activities led to: 100% retention rate; 10 Information Dominance Warfare-qualified Sailors; 1 Sailor earning her Certified Information Systems Security Professional accreditation and Bachelor’s degree; 1 Sailor earning her Associates Degree; and 7 Sailors earning their A+ certifications. Petty Officer Breindenbach’s work ethic and mentoring have led to a higher level of readiness, ensuring Fifth and Sixth Fleet Commanders were able to execute their vital warfighting missions from a technologically secure environment.



LT John M. Cady, USN

Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Zero

Lieutenant Cady led the development test of the Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system for all Navy and Marine Corps systems and platforms. His team of more than 40 Navy personnel and more than 200 military, civil service, and contractor personnel representing the Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard accomplished all test objectives on schedule and on budget. He coordinated and served as the test conductor for a highly successful multi-service Mode 5 Technical Evaluation of systems for 9 different platforms from all four services. The event included 22 aircraft, 3 guided-missile destroyers, and 3 land-based test sites. He administered a five million dollar budget and achieved all planned objectives, directly supporting critical milestone decisions for Navy and Joint acquisition. This effort culminated in the publication of the Mode 5 Operational Test Readiness Report, enabling program transition to initial operational Test and Evaluation. In response to a Central Command’s Urgent Operational Needs Statement, he led a team of 20 military, civil service, and contractor personnel to develop an Iridium-based SIPRNET chat capability for the E-2C. In less than six months, the system was fabricated, installed, and tested, culminating with a three-node operational check. He accompanied the installation team and provided training to the Fleet. As a result of his efforts as the project officer, the system received a flight clearance and was installed in four VAW-113 E-2C aircraft in time for operational deployment in January 2011.



LT John D. Ciccocioppi, USN

Patrol Squadron Eight

Lieutenant Ciccocioppi, as a P-3C Instructor Tactical Coordinator/Mission Commander/Squadron C4I Subject Matter Expert (SME), identified and resolved a long-standing software error that consistently inhibited the APS-149 Littoral Surveillance Radar System (LSRS) from integrating into the established LINK-16 architecture. This software error severely degraded the capabilities of the P-3C Block Mod Upgrade Plus (BMUP +) aircraft to provide reliable, near real-time, mission-critical sensor information to joint, multi-national and interagency decision makers engaged in combat operations as well as degraded the LSRS system’s ability to provide relevant combat information to Joint Force Commanders. Lieutenant Ciccocioppi invested countless hours of methodical trouble-shooting and conducted detailed step-by-step analysis and component-by-component diagnosis of the entire P-3C BMUP+ aircraft LINK-16 system. After isolating the software problem, Lieutenant Ciccocioppi created a software workaround that ensured the proper numerical value assignment to the affected cryptographic keys. He coordinated testing with BMUP+ hardware at multiple locations and worked with the LSRS program office for testing and coordinating on the fix. In turn, the program office codified his work and released it to the fleet for immediate implementation. The resolution of this long-standing discrepancy enabled LSRS assets to fully integrate into command and control architectures within the U.S. Central and Pacific Commands and across the Fleet. Lieutenant Ciccocioppi’s actions markedly improved battle space awareness supporting combat operations and training exercised in every theater and enabled the continued maturation of LSRS’s employment.



CTR1 Monica M. Evans, USN

USS Donald Cook (DDG-75)

Petty Officer First Class Evans, as the Ship’s Signal Exploitation Space (SSES) Leading Petty Officer on board USS Donald Cook (DDG-75), is responsible for the Navy’s first Ship’s Signal Exploitation Equipment (SSEE) Increment F Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) system which she leads 5 sailors in operation. Upon the installation of the SSEE Increment F system on board the Donald Cook, she recognized a critical training gap between the fleet training school and practical afloat operational employment. Subsequently, Petty Officer Evans supervised the collaborative writing efforts of the Navy’s first Job Qualification Requirements (JQR) for SSEE Increment F. Petty Officer Evans dedicated more than 200 hours to drafting, refining, and perfecting both operator and supervisor JQRs, which laid the foundation for the Donald Cook’s SSEE Training Program. Also, as the enlisted subject matter expert, Petty Officer Evans provided invaluable input from the surface cryptology perspective during SSEE Increment F LRIP Job Duty Task Analysis and Curriculum Review working groups. She was key in establishing planning and execution guidelines, and training development to support SSEE Increment F Full Rate Protection. Petty Officer Evans also served as the Assistant Command Special Security Officer. In this position, she managed ship access for more than 5,000 contractors during a two month Selected Restricted Availability period, as well as maintaining, updating, and researching clearances for more than 250 of the Donald Cook Sailors.



LT Ervin B. Hatcher, USN

Defense Information Systems Agency Pacific

Lieutenant Hatcher is assigned as the Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services (EMSS) Gateway Deputy, where he leads a diverse collection of 42 joint service military, government civilian and contract personnel in planning, operating, and supporting the global secure mobile satellite communication requirement of combat commanders and other government agencies. He is also the Facilities Operating Officer, overseeing all aspects of Gateway operations, while serving as DISA’s foremost military expert in all facets of Iridium satellite communication. In these positions, he has managed three projects totaling $15 million: (1) replacing the aging radomes of the Gateway’s three earth terminals; (2) upgrading the message delivery service to a dramatically new database architecture; and (3) replacing the Gateway’s core 120K user, carrier class voice and data switch. The switch replacement was the most complex project accomplished by the EMSS Gateway. Lieutenant Hatcher authored the Global Distributed Tactical Communications System (DTCS) NetOps CONOPS which supported operations of 6,000+ DTCS handsets in the Central Command’s area of responsibility, and is in the process of defining the overall architecture and systems requirements for the next generation of DTCS handsets that will provide users with classified DTCS capabilities. He led his network engineering team through a rigorous certification and accreditation review, which the EMSS Gateway soared through with the best results to date. Also, his establishment of a formal Configuration Control Board (CCB) process, which he chairs as CCB president, has led to a significant improvement in configuration management controls and a 99.99% Gateway availability rating.



CAPT Cloyes R. Hoover, USN

Program Executive Office, Integrated Warfare Systems

Captain Hoover is assigned as the Major Program Manager (MPM) for the Command and Control Program Office. He is the Navy’s expert on sensor netting and tracking with extensive experience in C4I engineering, interoperability, and acquisition. As the MPM for the IWS 6.0, Captain Hoover led the initiative to conduct system interoperability testing throughout 2010 and 2011 which resulted in the collection of important interoperability related data and a subsequent three-phase solution plan. In December 2010, Captain Hoover began a cross-PEO, cross-program initiative to develop a plan to correct the Navy’s most serious interoperability issues, correcting track identification issues for the USS John C. Stennis (CVN- 74) Carrier Strike Group prior to deployment. This near-term solution was complete in just 18 months and is scheduled for installation in all carrier strike groups by March 2012. Captain Hoover and his team are also on track to deliver the first “core solution” across six programs that will correct the Fleet “Big 6” interoperability issues. The core solution will be demonstrated during the Trident Warrior Exercise in 2012, 18 months ahead of schedule. At the joint level, Captain Hoover led the Navy’s effort in developing the Joint Track Management Capability (JTMC) bridge between Navy Integrated Fire Control and Army Integrated Fire Control systems. This is the first Single Integrated Air Picture at the fused track management level for use by the joint services.



CTR1 Patrick J. Kennedy, USN

Navy Information Operations Command – Whidbey Island

Cryptologic Technician (Collection) Petty Officer First Class Kennedy, as the leading technical and operational nodal analyst for Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Whidbey Island under specific tasking from Commander Tenth Fleet, established himself as the lead instructor for the standardization of qualifications, certifications, and augmentation requirements for all Navy Enlisted Classification code (NEC) 9105s. His efforts have resulted in the initial comprehensive creation of standardized NEC 9105 personnel qualification standards to be used for all afloat and shore-based nodal analysts. He implemented a five-level progressive qualification and certification process for all commands to ensure the most qualified technicians were deployed to fulfill fleet and national augmentation requirements. Petty Officer Kennedy initiated development of an unprecedented multi-stage communications electronic attack exercise for three electronic attack squadrons (VAQs) which facilitated training events that challenged tactics, techniques, and procedures in a complex expeditionary-style deployment scenario. He also created three new expeditionary battle problems, which train and evaluate nodal analysts on real-world applicable scenarios for information operations mission planning and electronic warfare implementation. Deployed for 91 days on board USS Boxer (LHD-4) and USS George Washington (CVN-73), Petty Officer Kennedy led four sailors in cryptologic analysis support element operations, providing long-term trend analysis to the battle group. These efforts resulted in a successful pass and certification of all elements of Tier 2 Navy Mission Essential Task List. His efforts on board the George Washington identified critical communications nodes and led to the restructure of tracking adversarial primary targets of interest for a Pacific Fleet high-priority area of responsibility.



LT Ryan A. Kowalske, USCG

First Coast Guard District

Lieutenant Kowalske, the Living Marine Resource (LMR) manager, oversees the at-sea enforcement of 20 Fishery Management Plans that comprise a commercial catch value of over $1 billion and $13 billion in regional economic impacts. He single-handedly designed, fielded, and provided technical support for an automated, risk-based approach to the LMR enforcement mission through the creation of the Operational and Tactical Information Driving Enforcement (OPTIDE) program. Lieutenant Kowalske not only merged disparate Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) law enforcement data streams, but he developed fisheries experience-based screening algorithms, as well as integrated all this information into a user friendly, real-time geographic information system (GIS) display. The algorithms Lieutenant Kowalske created used a scoring matrix to prioritize all underway commercial fishing vessels, based on risk, to more effectively direct operational assets to board those fishing vessels that present the greatest threats to fisheries’ resources and safety. This allows even novice fisheries operational planners to immediately start targeting the highest profile vessels, simplifying the enforcement decision-making process for underway and shore based units, decreasing resource hours expended sorting target, and strengthening public trust by decreasing the law enforcement contact rate with routinely compliant vessels. Coast Guard units immediately benefited from OPTIDE, shifting fisheries mission paradigms from random compliance boardings to targeted LMR enforcement efforts. These efforts led to impressive results, including a focused holiday operation that yielded more than 100 boardings of high-risk commercial fishing vessels in seven days. The real-time positioning information reduced the resource hours required to locate and sort targets by more than 66% and increased the probability of detecting a violation by 191%. Since its implementation, 500% more significant fisheries violations have been detected in the First Coast Guard District by keeping focusing boarding effort on high-risk vessels.



CWO5 Steven Kubik, USMC

II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward)/ Regional Command Southwest

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Kubik is assigned as the Tactical Communications Engineering Planning Officer (TCEPO) for II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward)/Regional Command Southwest (RC[SW]), Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan. As the senior Marine TCEPO in theater, he provides oversight on all facets of tactical communication planning, mentorship, leadership and direction to all subordinate Marines and contractors tasked to operate and maintain the RC(SW) tactical communication networks. His efforts have resulted in major improvements to RC(SW) including reengineered time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) and Frequency-Division Multiple Access (FDMA) satellite networks, optimization of terrestrial terminals, and commercialization of RC(SW) terminals. This provided more than 20,000 coalition forces a reliable, redundant transmission backbone to enable ground combat elements effective command and control at all levels of command and across a battle space that spans 60,000 square miles. Working with Theater Network Operations Coordination Center (TNC), CWO5 Kubik reengineered the TDMA satellite networks to simplify the mesh architecture to provide more reliable services. The result of all TDMA network improvements generated enhanced throughput and simplified network routing which greatly improved reliability. He reengineered and reused allocated bandwidth to increase throughput for more critical circuits in the FDMA network in RW(SW), creating a new 8MB satellite link. CWO5 Kubik began coordinating with United States Forces Afghanistan and Regional Command South to commercialize the RC (SW) communications network. He sourced five additional secret/unclassified access point terminals which will replace Marine Corps tactical equipment that are to be retrograded, refurbished, and redistributed to units across the Marine Corps. He also sought and obtained additional Wireless Point to Point link kits, which have allowed ten vehicle mounted digital wideband transmission systems to be retrograded.



Capt Gregory A. Lizak, USMC

13th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Captain Lizak, as the Assistant Communications Officer for the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), is responsible for communication and information systems planning and engineering for shore-based, sea-based, and amphibious operations – i.e., integrating modern Marine Corps communication technologies with amphibious shipping capabilities. He was the vanguard for nonpermanent change (NPC) installations for the most modern class of amphibious shipping, the San Antonio-class amphibious transport docks (LPDs). As a result of Captain Lizak’s work prior to 13th MEU’s Western Pacific 11-1 deployment, the USS Green Bay (LPD-20) is the first LPD-17-class ship to receive approval and subsequent installation of Video Scout, Iridium phone, and two Conical Logarithmic Spiral Mobile (CLSM) antennas. Consequently, multi-thousand dollar top-side studies and ship drawings for the LPD-17 class are now complete, thus paving the way for other LPD-17s to receive the same installations. Captain Lizak led the significant expansion and increased agility of broadband data communications for 13th MEU by harnessing the advancements of other services’ Global Information Grid (GIG) reachback terrestrial nodes (such as Fixed Regional Hub Nodes) and integrating Adaptive Networking Wideband Waveform (ANW2) with current Marine Air-Ground Task Force infrastructure – pioneering the first development of ANW2 with MEU operations in the Central Command. Captain Lizak also led the operational testing and successful operational employment of two new narrowband communication technologies never before employed by a deployed MEU: Integrated Waveform (IW) and Harris Corporation’s Satellite Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) Capability (STC) tactical satellite communications.



CTR1 Vincent L. Lopez, USN

Navy Information Operations Command - Whidbey Island

Cryptologic Technician (collection) Petty Officer First Class Lopez, the signals intelligence (SIGINT) lead and senior Global Maritime Aircenter’s analyst for NIOC Whidbey Island under specific tasking from Commander Tenth Fleet, led 11 sailors and 5 civilians for 445 days deployed. During this period his team garnered a 100 % retention rate, a 100% physical fitness assessment pass rate, 76 % advancement rate, one Junior Sailor of the Quarter and two Senior Sailors of the Quarters. Petty Officer Lopez was selected as the Subject Matter Expert, from the ten highly qualified technicians across the Information Dominance Community, to work in lock step with design engineers to initiate preliminary processing capabilities and dissemination procedures for the newly established Mobile Quicklook (MQL) mission and two prototype MQL vans, the first of their kind in SIGINT support capability. In addition, he spearheaded the establishment of the initial processing, exploitation, and dissemination framework of EP-3E mission data for the MQL and organized operational support with signal analyst labs in Texas, Hawaii, and Georgia during pre-deployments workups to execute and support Fleet Airborne Reconnaissance tasking and collection. Petty Officer Lopez led seven analysts in conducting testing and evaluation of the MQL prototype providing feedback and submitted 32 systems trouble reports, resulting in maximized network communication capabilities for future MQL deployments. Petty Officer Lopez drove collection efforts for first MQL deployment to Northern Command’s (NORTHCOM) and Pacific Command’s areas of operations and led the development of signal descriptor files and coverage plans which proved vital to the identification and processing of 81 pieces of critical intelligence and satisfied NORTHCOM’s number one intelligence priority.



LCDR Kelvin B. McGhee, USN

USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77)

Lieutenant Commander McGhee, as the Combat Systems Information Officer (SCIO) in USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77), is responsible for the leadership, management, and mentorship of 308 officer and enlisted personnel as well as a multi-spectrum communications suit. As the designated Communications Control Ship for Carrier Strike Group (CSG) Two, he oversees CVN-77’s implementation of operational task communications and information systems for CSG units. Commander McGhee played a critical role during CVN-77’s first combat deployment, supporting sustained combat operations, managing the ship’s complex combat systems suite, and developing effective working relationships with the Strike Group, Carrier Air Wing Eight, Destroyer Squadron Twenty-Two, and the Sixth, Fifth, and Atlantic Fleets. Commander McGhee pursued the funding that resulted in CVN-77 receiving an ISN Tape Drive that improved reliability for backing up and restoring data. This innovation provided $36,000 in annual savings and resulted in the installation of this system in all CVNs. He established Gatekeeper registration with Hampton Roads, Virginia, from the Fifth Fleet’s area of responsibility, resulting in the first successful unclassified video teleconference between Fifth Fleet afloat units and Hampton Roads. In addition, the George H. W. BushCarrier Strike Group was the first Strike Group to establish high-frequency voice communication with the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh in support of Commander Task Force 50. During the most recent Maintenance Materials Management (3M) Inspection, he reviewed 1,300 individual maintenance actions, resulting in a less than one percent discrepancy rating. His efforts led to Combat Systems Department’s grade of 90.43 percent and CVN-77’s 3M inspection being hailed as the best administrative review in the last seven CVN inspections.



IT1 Mark H. Mercier, USN

USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43)

Information Systems Technician Petty Officer First Class Mercier became the ship’s Information Assurance Manager 1, responsible for overall network security and systems administration, as well as command training and awareness in network security, when Surface Forces Atlantic cross-decked him to Fort McHenryFort McHenry was removed from the Global Information Grid (GIG) for poor security posture and negative policy implementation. Petty Officer Mercier established links from the information systems to the GIG and installed a robust and comprehensive security posture and a command-wide training program to prevent further disruptions to the connections. In preparation for a command cyber security inspection, Petty Officer Mercier scanned, downloaded, and patched more than 150 Information Assurance Vulnerabilities on both classified and unclassified networks. He identified and remediated more than 50 Category I and 70 Category II vulnerabilities that were “inherent” with common operating System Environment (Compose 3.5) and the ISNS D(V) Systems. Petty Officer Mercier also implemented IEEE 802.1x (Network Access Control), a relatively new network security posture in non-wireless environments for all workstations and servers on the shipboard classified network. 802.1x had been previously thought of as an “impossible feat” in a shipboard and ISNS/COMPOSE environment. Because of Petty Officer Mercier’s work, Fort McHenry received the highest grade to date by any afloat unit on the cyber security inspection. His standard operating procedures are expected to be finalized by Naval Network Warfare Command and Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command and sent out to the Fleet to enable all surface vessels to attain a much greater defense-in-defense strategy.



CDR Keith E. Patton, USN

Strategic Communications Wing 1

Commander Patton, the Deputy for Communications, Task Force 124 (TF 124), oversees all aspects of nuclear command, control, and communications for TF 124, as well as ensures continuous C4I over all nuclear forces for the Commander, U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) and three theater Combatant Commanders. He is the task force’s expert for nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3) and nuclear weapons. He was responsible for identifying a critical gap on Residual Capabilities Assessment (RECA) and Nuclear Report Back (NEREP) procedures and doctrine and for spearheading an effort to close that gap. His efforts resulted in improvements in RECA, NEREPs, Nuclear Detonation/Contamination reporting, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Critical Infrastructure reporting and high-frequency connectivity, proficiency, and readiness across the Department of Defense (DOD) and DHS. Commander Patton worked with OSD/NII, DISA, CJCS, STRATCOM, and various companies and agencies to resolve complex issues degrading STRATCOM Airborne Command Posts’ (STRAT ABNCP) ability to participate in World Wide Secure Voice Conferencing Systems. His efforts in identifying hundreds of flights and thousands of data points, and development of migration procedures, resulted in a comprehensive plan with short-, medium-, and long-term strategies to ensure STRAT ABNCP can meet its NC3 mission takings. His leadership led to the development of the first TF 124 mobility communication table of allowance list. This database inventoried more than $19.4 million in communications equipment and established a program of record for TF 124 mobile communications. Commander Patton gave TF 124 the ability to meet previously gapped capabilities and enhanced mission effectiveness. Commander Patton created and managed a concept plan for introduction of NIPR, SIPR, and DCIN-IS Gold to E-6s. This new capability provided airborne internet protocol connectivity for E-6Bs and was successfully demonstrated during Global Thunder 2011.



LCpl Chad A. Podoris, USMC

Headquarters Battalion, Communications Company, 2d Marine Division

Lance Corporal Podoris is a telephone systems personal computer repairer (2847) who also acted as an assistant section head for Wire/Data Maintenance Section, a billet normally filled by a Marine non-commissioned officer. As only one of the two Marines in the company trained in the maintenance of the Division’s Support Wide Area Network (SWAN), Lance Corporal Podoris was relied upon heavily, often after hours, to repair this critical communications component. Lance Corporal Podoris would not only fix the components but he set up classes to teach other Marines how to troubleshoot these assets. Upon the Communications Company’s receiving the new AN/MRC 142C and Tactical Elevated Antenna Masts (TEAMS), Lance Corporal Podoris sought out and arranged for instruction classes to be given by a field service representative. When a critical flaw was discovered with the storage waveguide cable, he was instrumental in resolving the problem and preventing future damage, saving the Marine Corps thousands of dollars in replacements and repairs. He also supported the TEAMS supply support. Realizing the support was not adequate, Lance Corporal Podoris fixed a critical piece of antenna which needed repair. When parts could not be located in the Marine supply system, Lance Corporal Podoris saw to it the Maintenance Company in 2d Marine Maintenance Battalion fabricated the parts. In addition, he became a proficient operator on a variety of complex pieces of communications equipment as well as took it upon himself to bring up future leaders within his MOS. His efforts have allowed Headquarters Battalion, 2d Marine Division, communications readiness to consistently stay above 97%.



SSgt Richard J. Reece, USMC

Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced)

Staff Sergeant Reece is the Spectrum Manager for the First Marine Division within the First Marine Expeditionary Force. During the Division’s last deployment to Helmand Province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, personnel constraints precluded the division from having a qualified spectrum manager assigned. Though not trained as a spectrum manager, Staff Sergeant Reece stepped in and filled the void. He quickly educated himself and coordinated more than 1,500 frequency assignments, 1,000 network identification addresses, and 70 terminal base addresses for the First Marine Division Forward Headquarters, two regimental combat teams, and ten individual infantry battalions. Staff Sergeant Reece’s troubleshooting contributed to the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Regional Satellite Support Center’s (RSSC) ability to identify network programming errors in the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station-Pacific’s (NCTAMS-PAC) Demand Assigned Multiple Access (DAMA) controller in Guam. Staff Sergeant Reece was instrumental in fielding and employing more than 500 AN/PRC-117G Wideband Tactical Radios. The enhanced capability provided by these systems was crucial in extending tactical data network services to platoon and squad-levels on a scale never before seen in the Marine Corps. Staff Sergeant Reece also overcame limited spectrum availability to use broadband channels without interference throughout First Marine Division (Forward)’s area of operations - another first for Marine Corps spectrum managers. These contributions were game-changers in terms of a company’s or platoon’s ability to conduct counter-insurgency operations in a distributed environment. Staff Sergeant Reece further supported counter-insurgency operations by conducting network engineering and frequency analysis for the Afghan National Police.


LCDR Brian L. P. Schulz, USN

Joint Special Operations Command

Lieutenant Commander Schulz is the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) Deputy Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Branch Chief for Operations. He is responsible for all aspects of SIGINT/electronic warfare (EW), including system procurement, data flow, personnel augmentation, intelligence oversight, and SIGINT authorities, as well as advising the JSOC Commander on the national SIGINT system and tactical SIGINT operations. Recognized as the SIGINT subject matter expert, Commander Schulz monitored 300+ joint service personnel conducting worldwide SIGINT/EW operations against our country’s top targets. He authored two ground-breaking concepts of operation (CONOPs), both approved and implemented, for sustained SIGINT operations in support of global counter-terrorism (CT) operations. He also served as a personal representative to the JSOC Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Council, volunteered to stand JSOC Intelligence Operations watches, and managed an 85-billet special access program when serving as JSOC Naval Activities Control Officer. When Commander Schulz deployed to Afghanistan with an elite 4,500-member Joint Task Force (JTF) during the highest surge of operational tempo in Operations Enduring Freedom, he served as that JTF’s SIGINT officer in charge. His efforts while deployed enabled 900+ combat operations, resulting in the capture or killing of more than 1,500 high-value insurgents. In addition, he oversaw all JTF ground-based and airborne SIGINT operations across Afghanistan. He also served as a JTF Liaison Officer, responsible for coordinating with national-level intelligence agencies in support of ultimately successful, time-sensitive, individual targeting opportunities receiving presidential-level attention.



LCDR Daniel E. Walker, USN

Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron

Lieutenant Commander Walker was assigned as the Combined Theater EW Coordination Cell (CTEWCC) Navy EW Staff Officer within Central Command’s (CENTCOM) Combined Air and Space Operations Center (CAOC), Al Udeid, Qatar. His responsibilities included coordination of all EW programing with various intelligence, operation, logistics, and communication agencies. At the same time, he had to interface with Counter Remote Controlled Radio Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare (CREW) program managers, EW Coordination Cells (EWCC), and Information Operation cells at component command and joint task force levels. Although not required by his position, shortly after reporting to a critical Individual augmentee position, Commander Walker sought out and obtained the Army and Air Force Electronic Warfare qualifications necessary to properly manage over 20,000 pieces of counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) equipment. He then identified several redundancies in billets and inefficient practices shared with the CAOC EWCC, which created a systematic delay of critical EW information reaching the warfighter. Quickly, Commander Walker spearheaded the integration of the CTEWCC and CAOC EWCC into a single EW Coordination Cell, resulting in an annual increase in EW support by 174 sorties and 579 hours, a 23% increase in baseline efficiency for airborne electronic attach employment in support of joint and coalition forces, as well as a savings of 17,280 man-hours per year. Because of his work as a Level V Hawkeye instructor in the EWCC, CAOC requested Commander Walker by name to assist in the development of the concept of operations for the newly formed Non-Kinetic Effects Cell. His inputs led to cutting-edge processes which fused electronic attack (EA), electronic warfare support (ES), and information operations (IO) assets and information into a single cell, once again cutting the time from synthesis to support of our warfighters.



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