Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) Technical Director Bob Stephenson was recognized by President Barack Obama during an award ceremony in Washington, D.C., honoring federal workforce leaders, Dec. 9.
Stephenson, a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES), received the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Senior Professional for "sustained accomplishment" during multiple operations and programs.
"Wow, it was amazing to be in a room with so many distinguished leaders," said Stephenson about attending the awards ceremony and being recognized among some of America's finest leaders by the president.
Stephenson was acknowledged for a number of accomplishments involving leadership, development and the implementation of communications technologies, including command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) performance superiority, critical communications technologies supporting major real-world operations, technological advancements within the realm of cyber security and successfully collaborating with national and international organizations and agencies to ensure U.S. communications dominance.
"I want you to wake up every day knowing that the president of the United States appreciates you for making that difference," said Obama to the awardees.
Some of Stephenson's achievements include establishing communications and ensuring interoperability between U.S. forces and the Japanese Self Defense Force as part of the Joint Support Force (JSF) in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. He also served as the JSF science advisor to the commander, recommending surveillance solutions for monitoring radioactive water and its impact on the environment after the subsequent meltdown at the Funakoshi Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
As the technical lead for Operation Rolling Tide, Stephenson led a focused effort to develop a comprehensive cyber strategy that reduced and eliminated threats from a major cyber-attack on Department of the Navy unclassified networks. The procedures and policies he developed to mitigate cyber threats were so successful they were adopted by other services and agencies.
Stephenson oversaw the gathering and incorporation of C4I system performance feedback and recommendations resulting in the improved operational performance of 59 SPAWAR C4I systems. He designed and implemented a network and multi-national data sharing agreement for Combined Maritime Forces Pacific, significantly enhancing coalition information sharing and maritime security for 16 partner nations in the Pacific region.
"This award doesn't just validate the work I did, but it validates the work the FRD does. This is really a team award," said Stephenson.
Stephenson served in the Navy before moving on to work as a civilian analyst for government programs. He was integral to the development of many technical capabilities including the Combat and Control System MKI and Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIXS). He has received many awards for his achievements, including two Navy Superior Civilian Service Awards and the Vice-Presidential Award for Acquisition Reform (Group).
The Presidential Rank Awards program is managed by the Office of Personnel Management. The president recognizes two levels of awards — Distinguished and Meritorious — that are presented to SES, Senior Level (SL) and Scientific Professional federal employees. Competition is tough, with only 5 percent of the senior civilian ranks selected to receive the Meritorious level and one percent receiving the Distinguished-level awards. All federal agencies are allowed to nominate up to 9 percent of their SES, SL and Scientific Professional leadership.
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