Seven Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) teams and individuals were recognized as winners at the Department of the Navy’s (DoN) Acquisition Excellence Awards ceremony Nov. 3.

HEADQUARTERS, NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md.-Seven Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) teams and individuals were recognized as winners at the Department of the Navy’s (DoN) Acquisition Excellence Awards ceremony Nov. 3.

“This is a great Navy Marine Corps day to celebrate some really great accomplishments of our team, both our sustainment and acquisition teams,” said Jay Stefany, performing the duties of assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development, and acquisition. “We’re talking about some really great accomplishments over the last year but those accomplishments are even more significant given the world situation we were in; inflation hitting every program that we have, supply chain issues and the pandemic. The 60 nomination packages with 16 awardees are all outstanding teams or individuals all overcoming not only the normal barriers but additional barriers that were in place this year.”

The annual DoN Acquisition Excellence Awards recognize individuals and teams who have made outstanding contributions in enhancing competition and promoting innovation throughout the acquisition lifecycle in support of Navy and Marine Corps acquisition programs. To watch the awards ceremony, click here.

Below is a list of the NAVAIR winners:

Program Manager of the Year – ACAT III/IV: Capt. Daniel Papp, PEO(A), PMA-264

Capt. Daniel Papp was the Air Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Systems program manager (PMA-264) from 2019-2022. Papp provided outstanding management of numerous developmental and production efforts with a total obligated authority of $2.3 billion. He demonstrated superior leadership and acquisition acumen addressing current capacity and future capability requirements. He applied innovative techniques in the prototyping and demonstration of next generation undersea warfighting capabilities by implementing a path forward to increase capacity and introduce competition in future sonobuoy production. Additionally, he oversaw development and fielding of the Multi-static Active Coherent capability that has become the Navy’s premier airborne wide-area search system and has revolutionized air ASW operations. Papp’s collaborative, team-building approach focusing on optimum agility and diversity of thought and ideas resulted in numerous program achievements during his time as program manager.

Acquisition Professional of the Year: Andy Wilkinson, PEO(CS), PMA-226   

Andy Wilkinson’s leadership resulted in cost-effective readiness and capability improvements across the PMA-226 adversary aircraft portfolio, increasing the number of aircraft at reduced cost, adding improved avionics and necessary safety upgrades while using innovative contracting strategies to enable affordable, relevant air-to-air adversary capability well into the 2030s. He expanded the Contracted Air Services (CAS) competitive industrial base by increasing opportunities for competition in PMA-226 contracts while successfully supporting the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and international partner aircraft. With a portfolio of 15 platforms in seven countries and responsibility for 54 CAS platforms’ airworthiness, his efforts doubled the previous mission-capable rate and delivered modernized aircraft at a 78 percent reduced cost.

Dr. Al Somoroff Acquisition Award: Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Services Team, PEO(U&W), PMA-263

The Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance team provided unparalleled support to forward deployed forces in five geographical combatant commands. Creative contracting acquisition management and engineering support allowed for the awarding of $200 million in urgently needed unmanned aircraft systems support contracts, and generated considerable leverage for the United States, allies and coalition forces ashore and at sea.

Field Acquisition Activity AwardE-2 Support Equipment Team, NAWCAD

NAWCAD Lakehurst’s E-2 Support Equipment (SE) team was recognized for exemplifying the highest qualities of leadership, team-building, collaboration and ethics in DoN acquisition.

The E-2 SE team provides technical, logistical, and program management expertise for the entire portfolio of Common Support Equipment and Peculiar Support Equipment required to support all PMA-231 aircraft platforms, including the C-2, E-2C, and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft.

The team overcame challenging contractual and legal issues associated with SE deliveries, provided positive impacts to SE development and procurement processes to improve cost and schedule metrics, and provided team members with the highest level of training and guidance to ensure they operate as a cohesive unit.

Innovation Excellence Acquisition Team of the YearUndersea Warfare Training Ranges Team, PEO(CS), PMA-205

The PMA-205 Undersea Warfare Training Ranges team’s innovative business approach to recapitalizing and constructing six undersea ranges resulted in $339 million in cost savings and eliminated five duplicative contract actions last year. The contract used an off-the-shelf technical data package, merged and shared training and test and evaluation range expertise, and implemented collaborative contract document approaches to enable a full and open competition source selection process to award in only six months. This commonality will greatly reduce the lifecycle costs in the sustainment of these ranges, which will increase the design operational life to span more than two decades. The new multifaceted contract delivers six underwater training ranges, including four deep water range recapitalizations and two shallow water range new constructions, all scheduled to deliver 17 months early.

Supply Chain Acquisition Professional of the YearMark Vernetti, NAVAIR Sustainment Group

NAVAIR International Transportation Team Lead Mark Vernetti was recognized for his efforts that quickly and effectively met U.S. international partners’ mission requirements. Under Vernetti’s leadership, the team shipped more than 3,000 Defense Articles internationally, all delivered on schedule, within budget and in compliance with international regulations and policies. Vernetti was also recognized for his demonstrated business acumen, saving an international partner more than $1 million in delivery costs through coordination and consolidation of three separate Special Assigned Airlift Mission component deliveries.

Vernetti credits his achievement to the experiences he gained during his 24-year career in the Marine Corps and sees the opportunities provided by his current position as continuing in the same vein. “I served in many positions and locations while attached to the operating forces, finishing my career on the Commandant of the Marine Corps Staff as a senior enlisted advisor. Those assignments, both in the field and in a staff billet, gave me firsthand experience working with, and for some of this country’s greatest men and women, and also provided a non-stop school in leadership,” he said.

Supply Chain Acquisition Team of the Year: P-8A Supply Team, PEO(A), PMA-290

The Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Office (PMA-290) P-8A Poseidon supply team had a major positive impact on the P-8A fleet readiness by reducing non-mission capable supply aircraft by 36 percent from calendar year 2021 to calendar year 2022 (quarterly average).

The team provided the acquisition and sustainment supply services, allowing the P-8A Poseidon fleet to continuously exceed mission capable (MC) objectives and achieve full mission capable (FMC) goals as set by commander, Naval Air Forces. The team’s efforts have enabled the greatest readiness rates in the program’s history. The team’s relentless collaboration, efforts to maintain MC targets, concentrated focus on achieving FMC, and agility to address immediate supply challenges have resulted in the fleet achieving an all-time high of 56 FMC aircraft in July 2021.

During the ceremony, former Program Executive Officer for Air ASW, Assault and Special Mission Programs (PEO(A)) Maj. Gen. Gregory Masiello was presented the Rear Admiral Wayne E. Meyer Memorial Award.

Masiello was PEO(A) from 2018 to 2022. He was not only honored for his achievements as PEO(A) but for his career success in the U.S. Marine Corps. Masiello oversaw 30 naval aviation platforms, sonobuoys, and airborne sensors while assisting in every milestone, fleet introduction, test and contract award. Over his four years as PEO(A), he consistently built partnerships, led programs to initial operational capability, established competitive procurement environments for multiple award delivery contract orders, and delivered 134 foreign military sales cases to over 30 countries. Masiello’s leadership and commitment led to precise execution of programs and driving government and aerospace industry to provide advanced capabilities to the Navy and Marine Corps.

Bravo Zulu to all the 2022 Department of the Navy Acquisition Excellence Awards recipients and nominees for their dedication and hard work supporting the acquisition mission.

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