DoD Distinguished Civilian Service Award Given to Navy Scientist

Story Number: NNS141110-16Release Date: 11/10/2014 9:29:00 PM
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By Katie Ellis-Warfield, Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division, Public Affairs

WEST BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- Dr. John Holmes, a senior scientist with Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD), was awarded the Department of Defense (DoD) Distinguished Civilian Service Award at the Pentagon Nov. 7 for his groundbreaking contributions in stealth technology.

In his 37-year DoD career, Holmes, who works in the Underwater Electromagnetic Signatures and Technology Division, transformed the underwater electromagnetic signature field into a fully integrated program of modeling, measurement, design and implementation of signature reduction technologies.

"This award is the highest honor given by the Secretary of Defense to a DoD civilian and considering there are roughly 718,000 civilian employees across the DoD, this is a huge honor and achievement," said Don McCormack, executive director of Naval Surface and Underwater Warfare Centers.

Holmes is the Navy's technical expert in electromagnetic silencing and his achievements have allowed the Navy to significantly lower its signatures levels and susceptibilities to electromagnetic threats for the first time since World War II.

"It is a special privilege to congratulate one of our own for being recognized at the DoD level for technical excellence in their scope of work. This was an incredible achievement just to be nominated," said NSWCCD Technical Director Dr. Tim Arcano. Six awardees were selected out of 15 nominations (three each from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff).

Holmes has been a driving force in understanding the mechanisms that create underwater electromagnetic signatures and developing countermeasures to reduce them. He is an international expert in electromagnetic field theory and wave propagation throughout the ultra-low frequency/extremely-low frequency band.

"John has done a lot of seminal work in his field that has laid the foundation for ship designs," said Dr. Paul Shang, NSWCCD Ship Signatures Department head. "Not only does he perform great technical work here on base, but he also goes into the field to participate in testing. He actively takes the time to mentor our young engineers and scientists. He is a tremendous asset to the Navy."

Holmes said that he feels very honored and humbled.

"It's only because of the great people I work with that I was able to get this award. I'm very flattered and proud, not only for myself, but for our division and the Navy to be able to get recognition like this," said Holmes.

Holmes received his Bachelor of Science (1973), Master of Science (1974) and doctorate (1977) degrees in electrical engineering from West Virginia University. After completing his doctorate, he started work at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division as an electronics engineer. In 1984, he transferred to NSWCCD and was promoted to senior scientist in 2004.

Over the course of his career, Holmes has been awarded Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research and Development Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year Award in 2011; Carderock Division Rear Adm. David W. Taylor Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement in 2010; NAVSEA Teaming Award for High Temperature Superconducting Degaussing Coils in 2009; Teaming Awards for SSN 774 Calibration in 2008; NAVSEA Scientist of the Year Award in 2006; David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award in 1999; Operation Desert Storm Award in 1991; and Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 1986.

Holmes has authored or co-authored 38 peer-reviewed papers and magazine articles, 14 patents and 81 technical reports. He has also written three books on the modeling, reduction and exploitation of a ship's magnetic signature.

NSWCCD, a field activity of the NAVSEA, leads the Navy in hull, mechanical and electrical engineering. Headquartered in West Bethesda, Maryland, NSWCCD employs approximately 3,600 scientists, engineers, technicians and support personnel and includes the Ship Systems Engineering Station located in Philadelphia, as well as detachments in Norfolk, Virginia; Cape Canaveral, Florida; Andros Island, Bahamas; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Memphis, Tennessee; Bangor, Washington; Ketchikan, Alaska; and Bayview, Idaho.

For more news from Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock, visit

Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica Wright congratulates Dr. John Holmes, a senior scientist
141107-N-ZZ999-001 WASHINGTON (Nov. 7, 2014) Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica Wright congratulates Dr. John Holmes, a senior scientist in the Underwater Electromagnetic Signatures and Technology Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division, after awarding him the Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Anne Davis looks on, at the Pentagon. This award is the highest honor that a Defense Department civilian employee can receive. (U.S. Navy photo)
November 13, 2014
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