Distinguished Civilian Award

This award recognizes individuals whose work has been of significant importance to the Submarine Force. Some will be in high visibility positions, but of equal importance are those individuals who are less visible but whose work is best understood and appreciated by their associates on the submarine team. The criteria for the Naval Submarine League Distinguished Civilian Award are outlined in COMSUBLANT/COMSUBPAC INSTRUCTION 1650.6D, Enclosure (1), Section 10.

2018 Award Winners: Mr. Fred Harris and Mr. Bill Johnson

2018 Award Winner: Mr. Fred Harris

Citation for Mr. Fred Harris: 

For meritorious service for over 50 years in ship operation, naval engineering, and shipbuilding.

Over the past 43 years, Mr. Harris has made profound contributions to the U.S. Navy. He had a distinguished 33-year career with the General Dynamics Electric Boat Division during which time he was assigned as Senior Vice President and then as President of General Dynamics NASSCO. He is currently a retired President of both NASSCO and Bath Iron Works. His contribution to the overall success of the submarine construction program today is unequaled. Under Mr. Harris’ leadership position at EB, the US Navy saw completion of the Seawolf Program on time and below the congressionally mandated cost cap, completion of preliminary and final design of the Virginia Class submarine, and start of the first seven Virginia Class submarines with the first submarine of the class completed within three months of the original planned delivery date. During this same period under his direction, the design and conversion of the first four Trident ballistic submarines to SSGNs were completed, all ahead of schedule and under budget. He also oversaw the design and construction of the 100-foot-long hull section for the USS JIMMY CARTER. The procedures and management practices instituted under Mr. Harris’s leadership were the key ingredients that allowed cost savings that led to the increased build rate of 2 Virginia Class submarines a year. His dedication, skill, and sacrifices led to the improvements of the submarine force and the greater community of government, industry, and academia and reflect great credit upon himself, the U.S. submarine community, and the U.S. Naval service. His achievement clearly warrants the recognition of the Naval Submarine League Distinguished Civilian Award.

2018 Award Winner: Mr. Bill Johnson

Citation for Mr. Bill Johnson: 

For meritorious weapons system acquisition services as the PEO Submarine’s Sonar Systems Program Manager.

Over the past 30 years, Mr. Johnson has made profound contributions to the U.S. Submarine Force and the U.S. Navy that span the spectrum from solving highly technical issues to improving acquisition execution. In the mid-1990s, the submarine community recognized the impending loss of U.S. technical superiority in submarine acoustics when foreign submarines began to exhibit major reductions in noise signature. This resulted in a critical need to improve acoustic sensing systems to better identify and track foreign submarines. New acquisition processes had to be created to grapple with the need to rapidly increase warfighting performance while continuously decreasing cost. This solution was inspired and driven through the federal bureaucracy by Bill Johnson. The approach was dubbed A-RCI (Acoustic Rapid Commercial Off the Shelf Insertion). Bill Johnson is widely recognized as the Father of A-RCI. With a combination of common sense and stubbornness, he created a new refreshed development philosophy and introduced continuous competition and rivalries while learning to exploit new emerging commercial digital technologies. He overcame bureaucratic inertia as well as lab and industry incumbencies and introduced the best resources that the nation had to offer. The team he developed set the expectations for excellence and his management style encouraged members of the team to think and act like leaders. The structure he put in place remains largely intact 20 years after the program was first initiated. Following his highly successful years within the submarine community, in PEO Integrated Warfare Systems, his concepts were instrumental in improving warfighting capabilities in Naval Integrated Fire Control Systems and Combat Systems Open Architecture. This achievement clearly warrants the recognition of the Naval Submarine League Distinguished Civilian Award..

Past Distinguished Civilian Award Winners

2017     Mr. G. Daniel Tyler
2016     Dr. Edward G. Liszka
2015     Mr. Richard R. McNamara
2014     Mr. Thomas C. Conran
2013     Mr. Phillip E. Lantz
2012     Mr. Andrew (Jerry) Razmus and The Honorable John W. Warner
2011     Dr. Robert M. Snuggs
2010     Mr. Walter P. Kitonis III
2009     Mr. Michael Toner
2008     Mr. Thomas C. Schievelbein and Mr. John Welch
2007     Mr. Franklin C. Miller
2006     Mr. Andrew W. Marshall
2005     Dr. David Stanford
2004     Mr. Thomas R. Nutter
2003     Dr. William Browning
2002     Mr. James E. Turner
2001     Dr. John E. Sirmalis
2000     Mr. Richard L. Haver
1999     Mr. Carl H. Schmitt
1998     Dr. John P. Craven and Dr. Waldo K Lyons (posthumously)