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DoD Civilian Awards Recognize Distinguished Service

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The Defense Department today recognized eight of its more than 800,000 civilian employees with awards for their commitment to public service and their personal and professional integrity.

Jessica L. Wright, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, described the recognition as “monumental” in her remarks at the Pentagon auditorium ceremony, where she presented the 59th annual Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Awards and the 10th annual Department of Defense David O. Cooke Excellence in Public Administration Award.

“You have broad and deep impact on the DoD and the people [who] work at the DoD,” she said.

The Distinguished Civilian Service Award is the highest recognition the Defense Department can give, and is presented to a small number of civilian employees whose careers reflect exceptional devotion to duty and significant contributions of broad scope in policy, scientific, technical or administrative fields that increase effectiveness and efficiency, officials said.

For non-managerial career civilian employees with three to 10 years of civilian federal career service, the David O. Cooke Award recognizes future federal executive potential that exemplifies the namesake’s talents. Cooke’s efforts across his 55-year federal career, which included 45years in DoD, earned recognition as a public official who championed a cooperative spirit and improved operations, officials said.

 Leading With Integrity, Creative Thinking, Passion

Wrightnoted that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently spoke about the importance of attracting, developing and motivating quality people as DoD evolves.

“You lead with integrity, you lead with critical thinking, and you lead with passion,” Wright said to the civilian award winners.

As a 35-year soldier and the first female maneuver brigade commander in the Army, Wright offered her personal thanks for civilians’ “heavy lifting” and dedication. “As a military member, I knew that the military would not be a success without the great civilian workforce of our department,” she said. “Thank you for the support you give the men and women of our armed forces.”

Michael Rhodes, director of administration and management for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, noted each recipient’s unique contributions to the DoD.

“They’ve had distinctive accomplishments throughout their career, regardless of the length of tenure, but they all have that common quality: … their unwavering commitment to public service,” he said.

2014 Award Winners

Audrey M. Goral, operational test engineer at the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California, earned the David O. Cooke Excellence in Public Administration Award.

Distinguished Civilian Service Award recipients are:

-- Juan A. De Jesus, director of electronic commerce, Army Financial Management Command, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army;

-- Terry Duncan, director of communications systems, National Reconnaissance Office;

-- John Holmes, senior scientist, Underwater Electromagnetic Signatures and Technology Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center;

-- Patrick McCormick, director, distribution current operations, Defense Logistics Agency;

-- John Miller, demonstration branch chief, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Office of the Deputy Director for Cyber and Command, Control, Computers and Communication Integration;

-- Dennis Taitano, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for financial operations; and

-- John Wallace, technical director, U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center.

(Follow Amaani Lyle on Twitter: @LyleDoDNews)

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