Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division employee Andrew C. Lucas was awarded the Armed Forces Civilian Service Medal (AFCSM) for participating on the Joint Assisted Acquisition (JA2) program that provided the acquisition and technical expertise needed to transition and accelerate the U.S. Government’s ongoing COVID-19 response and pandemic preparedness. Lucas helped to shine a glimmer of light during these dark days.
COVID-19 has killed over one million Americans, and globally, more than six million lives have been lost as a result of the virus. The Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense’s Joint Assisted Acquisition (JPEO-CBRND) JA2 team was established to serve as part of the U.S. government response, working at the forefront of ensuring that global health goals were supported, and that the international community was well-equipped to combat this pandemic.
JA2 is part of the whole-of-government approach, led by the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). JA2 brings together medical specialists and logisticians, cutting edge technology, acquisition experts, agile business practices, and unique authorities that enable the acquisition of lifesaving vaccines and medical countermeasures, protective equipment, critical supplies, and industrial base expansion for the continued domestic production of life saving products for the DOD and the Nation. In May 2021, the DOD signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with HHS that facilitates these activities in support of HHS’ requirements to provide medical countermeasures to the Nation.
Lucas, who is an Acquisition Manager at NSWCPD, served on the JA2 Analytics Team from June 2021 through July 2022.
“It was both exciting and a bit nerve racking as analytics was outside of my professional skillset. Prior to this detail my professional career was primarily focused on Acquisition, Compliance and Supply Chain Management, which turned out to be a benefit as this detail required me to visualize Acquisition and Supply Chain data,” Lucas said.
One of the program’s goals was to increase testing and diagnostics industrial base expansion and ensure supply chain resiliency for current and future industry production. This included ongoing coordination with the Joint Rapid Acceleration Cell (JRAC) Defense Assisted Acquisition (DA2) Cell and HHS Testing and Diagnostics Working Group (TDWG) – totaling ~$5.9 billion+ / 38+ contracts, testing and diagnostic capabilities, and industrial base expansion.
“Throughout my detail I supported multiple Visual Analytics initiatives, however, there were two that I found the most rewarding. The first was creating an application that visualized the President’s initiative of donating 200 million vaccines internationally over a 100-day period. This was not only used by the JA2/JPEO leadership, but also sent to the Executive Office of the President (EOP) to assist them with tracking and reporting. I was excited and surprised to know that something I helped build could make it to that level,” Lucas said.
“The second was supporting the ongoing international donations tracker, which tracked all donations, both adult and more recently pediatrics. This application was used at JA2/JPEO, but was also shared with representatives from HHS, Defense Assisted Acquisition (DA2) Cell and United States Agency for International Development (USAID),” Lucas continued. ”In both cases, I felt I had the easy part of meeting the customers’ analytics requirements while the heavy lifting was handled by the logistic and acquisition teams who ensured the contracts and tracking mechanisms were in place for the visualization to occur.”
The AFCSM was established to recognize the contributions and accomplishments of the U.S. Department of Defense civilian workforce who directly support the military forces, when those members are engaged in military operations of a prolonged peacekeeping or humanitarian nature.
“When the JA2 Chief of Staff and Deputy informed me of this award I was shocked and felt honored. I never expected this type of recognition. I personally felt that I was only a small contributor to the team where I know others played a much more significant role,” Lucas said.
The AFCSM symbolizes the importance the Department of Defense attaches to civilian service and recognizes the value of civilian service in helping to accomplish the U.S. Government's objectives. This award honors those employees who support designated operations under the same or similar conditions as U.S. military members, thereby strengthening the partnership between the civilian services and uniformed services.
“As with all efforts it’s never a one person show … if not for the JPEO Analytics Team who provided support and guidance, the JA2 team who set the standard, and the JA2 Leadership who created a caring and family environment I would not have been successful in my mission. I see this as a team award and if I could share it I would!” Lucas stated.
He continued, “Overall, this was a remarkable opportunity and I’m thankful for being part of the JA2. It was simply amazing how quickly this team was formed, how team members from multiple organizations, commands and backgrounds came together virtually to be successful in a time of crisis. It speaks volumes to what people can do!”
NSWCPD employs approximately 2,800 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel. The NSWCPD team does the research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, and in-service and logistics engineering for the non-nuclear machinery, ship machinery systems, and related equipment and material for Navy surface ships and submarines. NSWCPD is also the lead organization providing cybersecurity for all ship systems.