INDIAN HEAD, Md. — Matthew Konschak, Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division (NSWC IHD) Emergency Management Division Director, was recognized with the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award, Dec. 8. The award is the third highest Navy civilian award and presented to employees in the Department of the Navy for meritorious service or contributions resulting in high value or benefits for the Navy or the Marine Corps.

Konschak came onboard as NSWC IHD’s Director of Security in 2010, having previously served as Chief of the Counterintelligence Enterprise Development Branch for the Department of Defense Counterintelligence Field Activity. Prior to this, he served for 22 years in the U.S. Air Force.

In his current role as Emergency Management Director, Konschak is on call 24/7 as the commanding officer’s crisis response and command duty officer, ensuring NSWC IHD continuously executes its science and engineering mission essential functions and emergency action plans. Most recently, he led the COVID-19 Command Crisis Action Team (CCAT) — a multifunctional team of command employees dedicated to pursuing a coordinated response to COVID-19-related issues. The group has three main goals: perform mission essential functions to support the fleet, ensure employees are paid, and make sure the workforce has access to the information they need 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In early March, when numerous states began implementing mandatory quarantines and lockdowns, Konschak established the CCAT in a matter of days and included a diverse group of subject matter experts and volunteers from across the command. Even with NSWC IHD in a maximum telework status, he continues to come on-site every day to personally manage an extensive drumbeat of meetings and reports.

Konschak also coordinated stringent cleanings of potentially contaminated buildings, interpreted dozens of policy documents and naval messages, and identified potential shortfalls in the command’s COVID-19 response. Of note, he launched the Workplace Response and Protection Team and Operation Spartan Helmet to guarantee every employee had sufficient face coverings, hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes.

Konschak has maintained a high level of transparency, providing more than 20 Command Leadership Board presentations, writing a leadership article in NSWC IHD’s employee newsletter, and responding to numerous requests for information and guidance.

“Matt truly is one of a kind and an invaluable asset to the command,” NSWC IHD Technical Director Ashley Johnson said. “When the pandemic hit the nation hard, Matt was a beacon of calm in a frenzy of panic. His level head allowed us to better make sense of what was going on locally and nationally, and map out a plan of action from there. I know that I can count on him to manage and mitigate any sort of crisis.”