DoD Honors Top Civilian Employees in Pentagon Ceremony

Nov. 16, 2017 | BY Terri Moon Cronk , DOD News
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Eight Defense Department employees received top departmental honors for their service, dedication and professionalism, and one of the honorees received the coveted DoD David O. Cook Excellence in Public Administration Award in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes today.

The ceremony marked DoD’s 62nd annual awards for the Distinguished Civilian Service Awards, which honored seven employees, and the 13th annual award of DoD’s David O. Cooke Excellence in Public Administration Award, honoring one individual.

Anthony M. Kurta, performing the duties of the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness was the keynote speaker at the ceremony.

“While each recipient has made individual and unique contributions to the Department of Defense throughout their careers, they all share a common dedication to public service, which we are here today to recognize amongst colleagues, friends and family,” Kurta said in his prepared remarks.

Noteworthy Characteristics, Skills

Kurta said the David O. Cooke award recognizes a DoD employee with three to ten years of federal service who occupies a non-managerial position and displays noteworthy characteristics and skills that he said will “guide federal government, more specifically, this department, into the future.”

“Doc” Cooke “served under 12 secretaries of defense over 45 years,” Kurta said of the award’s namesake. “Often called the ‘Mayor of the Pentagon,’ he was the department’s highest-ranking career civil servant.”

Kurta said Cooke was an extraordinary leader who’d served generations of Pentagon employees and championed a cooperative spirit and improved overall operations.

“Today we recognize outstanding public servants who embody his legacy and carry his commitment to excellence into the future,” Kurta said.

Exceptional Devotion to Duty

The second award, the Distinguished Civilian Service Award, recognizes DoD civilian employees whose service reflects exceptional devotion to their duty, he explained.

“Each nominee was evaluated on their extraordinary commitment to public service and demonstration of an inspiring degree of personal and professional ethics,” Kurta said. “Their contributions are notable because they have increased efficiencies and significantly improved operations within the department.”


2017 David O. Cooke Excellence In Public Administration Award

-- Hallie L. Balkin, Naval Supply Systems Command, Fleet Logistics Command

2017 Distinguished Civilian Service Awards recipients

-- Robert L. Charles, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command;

-- Sheri L. Ferguson, Evans Army Community Hospital;

-- John M. Hayter II, Naval Air Systems Command;

-- Mitchel B. Miller, Integration and Weapon System Cyber Resiliency;

-- Kristina Harrington, National Reconnaissance Office, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence;

-- Richard A. Ritter, Missile Defense Agency, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics; and

-- Paul H. Vosti, Asian and Pacific Affairs, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy.

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)