Tech. Sgt. Tim Donnan, (center left) is congratulated by Commander, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Maj. Gen Tom Wilcox, (far right), during Wilcox’s visit to NSWC IHD, Nov. 5.

INDIAN HEAD, Md. – Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division (NSWC IHD) isn’t known for their expansive runways; this Navy command that sits on the banks of the Potomac River does not even have a single aircraft. But that doesn’t mean the United States Air Force contingent connected to the command isn’t getting things done. In fact, it’s just the opposite.

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal (JEOD) Technology Division at NSWC IHD was recently recognized as the Air Force Material Command’s nominee for a 2020 Gears of Government Award. The team is responsible for testing and publishing Joint Service EOD procedures, and conducts research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) for emergent equipment technologies and concepts to support joint force EOD technicians.

The Gears of Government Awards program recognizes individuals and teams across the federal workforce whose dedication supports exceptional delivery of key outcomes for the American people, specifically: Mission Results, Customer Service and Accountable Stewardship.

“This award is a testament to the critical work of our JEOD Technology Division team,” said Maj. Patrick Kucera, Chief, Joint EOD Technology Division and the Air Force Officer in Charge for the EOD Military Technical Acceptance Board (MTAB). “This nomination would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the determination, capability to innovate and subject matter expertise of our JEOD team.”

The EOD MTAB leads the Department of Defense’s pursuit of EOD technology solutions to support both the National Defense and National Military Strategies. Acting as the chair for both the JEOD Technology Board and the Equipment Review Board, the AFCEC division guides researchers to execute a $674 million RDT&E budget in support of five flag officers’ vision for the JEOD program.

From July 2019 through June 2020, the division directed over 70 developmental material solution efforts among more than 20 defense contractors, 10 program managers, and three major development teams. They led research into emerging great power competition threats, while identifying 56 critical military capability challenges and developing solutions to maintain readiness. The division also focused on the survivability and lethality for approximately 7,500 joint EOD forces stationed, deployed and operating around the globe.

Among their other accomplishments leading to this award were:

• Identifying an issue within NATO policy which led to an unexploded ordnance disposal challenge for insensitive munitions. These munitions could not be disposed of using fielded EOD tools or techniques, so the division studied alternatives and conducted research and developmental efforts — resulting in the repurposing of a U.S. Marine Corps explosive breaching tool. 

• Impacting base recovery missions for two Combatant Commands when they recognized an emerging threat from a “Near Peer “adversary with no technology or tactical countermeasure. The team leveraged their interagency partners to identify solutions and employed test and evaluation efforts to determine the feasibility of success. This effort bolstered each Combatant Command’s ability to quickly recover from attack and return to the fight.

• Leading a unique multiservice JEOD Program Management Office alignment conference to reduce duplicative efforts across service branches and save taxpayer dollars. The team gathered members from five program offices across all four services to review technology initiatives and determined there were seven overlapping developmental areas that would be beneficial to collaborate on.

“This is important work your group is doing here and I wanted to personally thank you for it,” said Commander, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Maj. Gen. Tom Wilcox, during his visit to NSWC IHD to congratulate the group. “I’d ask that you all keep charging and continue doing what you are doing. You are absolutely making a difference.”

NSWC IHD — a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command and part of the Navy’s Science and Engineering Establishment — is the leader in ordnance, energetics, and EOD solutions. The Division focuses on energetics research, development, testing, evaluation, in-service support, and disposal; and provides warfighters solutions to detect, locate, access, identify, render safe, recover, exploit, and dispose of explosive ordnance threats.