WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) honored five special agents and four non-agent employees during the 2010 Special Agents (SA) and Civilians of the Year ceremony at NCIS Headquarters in Washington, D.C., Dec. 2.
The five special agents selected were: SA Michael J. Wright, 2010 Special Agent of the Year for Operational Support; SA Erin K. Michaels, 2010 Special Agent of the Year for Economic Crimes Investigations; SA Jeremy J. Hauck, 2010 Special Agent of the Year for General Crimes Investigations; SA John B. Beliveau, Jr., 2010 Special Agent of the Year in Combating Terrorism; and SA Mark Franco, 2010 Special Agent of the Year in Counterintelligence.
The four civilians selected were: Stanley Postlewait, 2010 Operational Support Civilian of the Year; Denise Alexander, 2010 Administrative Support Civilian of the Year; Sarah Mehlhaff, 2010 Operational Employee of the Year in Analysis; and Todd Worthington, 2010 Operational Employee of the Year in Collections.
Under Secretary of the Navy Robert Work served as the keynote speaker at the event for the second year in a row. Work said it is a "great treat" for him to attend NCIS events due to the organization's outstanding reputation.
"Every year NCIS steps up its game," said Work. "Every year NCIS gets better. You're not ones to rest on your laurels. You are a true expeditionary law enforcement organization.
"You're on the front lines wherever there are Sailors and Marines. You're in the foxholes in Afghanistan and Iraq. You're on ships at sea. You're in ports all over the world, and you're preventing terrorism, protecting our secrets, and reducing crime."
Work said he's been most impressed with NCIS' efforts during the past year in the Horn of Africa combating piracy. He specifically mentioned the agency's involvement in seven piracy convictions in Kenyan courts, the Maersk Alabama hostage incident, and the recent convictions for the attack on USS Nicholas (FFG 47).
"It's an honor and privilege for me to be here today for you awardees," said Work. "You represent the best of the best, the civilians and special agents who represent this great organization. I can't tell you how proud [Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus] and I are of not only the organization, but especially of you and your accomplishments. I congratulate all of you."
NCIS Director Mark Clookie said the honorees were selected from a workforce pool of more than 2,000 employees.
"The selection process is well structured and quite rigorous to ensure we have selected the very best," said Clookie. "The competition was tough, as it has been every year."
Wright is a special agent assigned to the NCIS Polygraph Services Division. He was recognized for his excellence in conducting polygraph examinations supporting the on going war, the NCIS criminal investigative mission, and national security.
His efforts contributed directly to protecting the lives of deployed U.S. and coalition forces, promoting the safety and operational readiness of naval forces, and putting pedophiles behind bars. He completed his fourth wartime deployment in 2010, conducting polygraph examinations in support of highly classified missions in remote and dangerous locations in Afghanistan.
Wright also obtained a confession in a case in which a government contractor was accused of falsifying weld inspection reports during the construction of nuclear submarines, which could have caused catastrophic equipment failure and the deaths of those on board.
Michaels is a special agent assigned to the NCIS Washington, D.C. Field Office Economic Crimes Squad.
She was recognized for her dedication to combating acquisition fraud in the Navy.
Two of her investigations were product substitution cases that have national security implications and have received national media attention. To date, these investigations have resulted in a total of seven federal search warrants, five arrest warrants, and the seizure of more than 400 boxes of evidence and more than $2.2 million in assets.
Michaels' efforts have increased awareness of the potentially catastrophic consequences of using counterfeit components in U.S. defense systems, and will help in identifying and mitigating the existence of counterfeit microcircuits throughout the defense supply chain.
Hauck is assigned to the NCIS Special Agent Afloat (SAA) Program, Northwest Field Office. He was recognized for pursuing more than 50 criminal investigations across the spectrum of case categories. His efforts also include developing a suspect in a shooting in an off-base dance club, exposing a steroid ring, conducting sexual assault investigations, utilizing cooperating sources to target drug users, and ensuring that force protection requirements were met during numerous port visits. Independent of his duties as SAA, Hauck also helped resolve a cold case homicide that had been an active investigation since 1980, when the body of an active duty Sailor was found along the Willamette River in Portland, Ore.
Beliveau is assigned to the NCIS Combating Terrorism Directorate, Singapore Field Office. As the primary country referent for Timor Leste, Beliveau provided support in the area of combating terrorism to U.S. military forces operating in country. His sustained, continuous engagement with officials in Timor Leste directly impacted foreign policies and procedures, generated numerous operationally valuable intelligence information reports, opened the country to increased U.S. engagement, and directly supported the maritime domain awareness and strategic partnership objectives set forth for the country by U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) and the U.S. Ambassador to Timor Leste.
Additionally, Beliveau's port visit support, law enforcement efforts, and targeted long-term capacity-building endeavors were critical to increasing local law enforcement and port security capabilities. As a direct result of his work, Beliveau was instrumental in the identification and subsequent dismantling of a local network used as a conduit for human trafficking.
Franco is assigned to the NCIS National Security Operations Department, Counterintelligence Directorate. As a member of a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)-Department of Defense Technology Transfer Task Force, Franco distinguished himself within the counterintelligence community through his development, initiation and execution of several high impact counterintelligence (CI) operations and investigations. Through these operational initiatives, senior Department of the Navy (DON) leadership, combatant commanders and the intelligence community were better able to assess and counter the intelligence activities of our nation's adversaries.
His operational skills and successes helped protect some of the Department of Defense's most sensitive technologies and advanced weapons systems from illegal acquisition by foreign entities. Franco also enhanced NCIS' external relationships with the FBI and other partners at the national level.
Postlewait is assigned to the NCIS Polygraph Services Division. His efforts as a security specialist and polygraph examiner had a significant impact in protecting against insider threats, enhancing national security, fostering the professional development of polygraph personnel, and raising the overall quality of the NCIS polygraph product.
Postlewait used innovative techniques that streamlined the polygraph quality control process, enabling examiners in the field to receive instant feedback and ensure the highest quality product was provided to customers. He resolved complex examinations that other examiners in the division were unable to resolve.
Postlewait mentored numerous examiners, offered guidance and advice on how best to handle difficult situations, and trained examiners in some of the most effective and efficient polygraph techniques. As a result of his expertise, Postlewait was tasked to conduct examinations for the majority of senior U.S. military and NCIS personnel who require them.
Alexander is assigned to the NCIS Europe and Africa Field Office. She was recognized for serving as the financial technician supporting the NCIS Europe and Africa Field Office. Alexander's efforts in managing a budget of $2.5 million allowed the field office to meet all mission requirements.
She responded to several hundred requests for procurement actions; processed TDY travel authorizations and vouchers; and completed funding allocations within the 72-hour requirement while reviewing all requests for procurement for legality and funding availability.
Alexander provided excellent financial and logistical support for the realignment of the NCIS office in Djibouti from the Bahrain Field Office to the NCIS Europe and Africa Field Office, and supported all NCIS resident agencies, resident units, force protection detachments, tech services and other offices within the area of responsibility.
Alexander also conducted liaison between the various embassies and financial analysts from NCIS Headquarters.
Mehlhaff is assigned to the NCIS Directorate of Intelligence and Information Sharing. She was recognized for serving as the lead intelligence analyst supporting the Multiple Threat Alert Center (MTAC) Middle East Division. She provided timely and relevant threat warning and strategic threat analysis for the force protection of DON assets in the Central Command area of responsibility. Her efforts resulted in some of the first solid analytical products in the intelligence community regarding critical threat topics in the Middle East.
She also supported the NCIS Middle East Field Office through a high profile maritime investigation with direct implications for maritime security in a critical U.S. Navy deployment area, while also collaborating with community and international counterparts in disseminating strategic analysis regarding the future impact on maritime interests.
Worthington is assigned to the NCIS Fleet Operations Group (FOG). He was honored for serving as a field operations specialist. His detailed reporting of information on a high-threat country's naval technologies influenced national policy, perceptions and analysis, and directly supported military operational planning and national intelligence estimates.
He produced 91 reports, which received a total of 206 intelligence community evaluations, including 16 "of major significance," 170 "high value," and 69 "of value." He contributed greatly to NCIS' human derived intelligence mission, filling critical gaps in the nation's intelligence requirements.
"Our awardees and their stories remind us of what can be accomplished through hard work and a team effort," said Clookie. "They represent the best of what NCIS can be and reflect the broad scope and significance of our impact on the Department of the Navy. My personal congratulations and thanks to those selected and all those considered. I couldn't be more proud of our workforce."
Clookie also extended a special welcome to the family members of the awardees.
"Thank you so much for being here," said Clookie. "You're not just guests - you are a part of the NCIS extended family.
Along with the recognition from Work, Clookie, and their NCIS coworkers, the awardees received a special video message from the entire cast of the "NCIS: Los Angeles" television show honoring their achievements, admiring their dedication, and honoring the family members who support them.
NCIS is a federal law enforcement agency that protects and defends the U.S. Department of the Navy against terrorism and foreign intelligence threats, investigates major criminal offenses and provides law enforcement and security services to the Navy and Marine Corps on a worldwide basis.
The agency is comprised of approximately 2,400 total employees, including more than 1,200 civilian special agents, in more than 150 locations around the world.
For more news from Naval Criminal Investigative Service, visit www.navy.mil/local/ncis/.