By April Smith
National Reconnaissance Office
National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) officers and teams were recognized at the Fiscal Year 2018 Intelligence Community (IC) Acquisition, Facilities, and Logistics Awards ceremony held on May 6 at the IC Campus, in Bethesda, Maryland. This year saw more than double the number of nominations of previous years, resulting in 27 awards recognizing the work of 18 individuals and nine teams across the IC.
Major Brandon Vogt, U.S. Air Force, was awarded the IC Acquisition Award for Systems Engineering. Major Vogt designed an innovative multimillion-dollar intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance satellite capability to address a high-priority national intelligence gap, which accelerated on-orbit capability by five years. This advanced technology satellite demonstration enabled a multiple-spacecraft upgrade program. Major Vogt was also a critical actor in driving more than one billion dollars of state-of-the-art signals intelligence and resiliency upgrades into the technical baseline of a multi-billion dollar space reconnaissance program, providing robust space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability for decades to come.
Major Christopher McGrath accepted the 2018 IC Acquisition Program of the Year Award on behalf of the GEOINT Directorate’s Wolfpack Team. The Wolfpack Team was praised for “delivering the NRO’s multibillion-dollar next-generation overhead system that delivers improved mission performance” and using an innovative acquisition approach to ensure “unprecedented warfighting capability ahead of schedule and at an affordable, realistic cost.”
The joint Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) Agile Team, made up of team members from National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and NRO, was awarded the IC Team Innovation Award for outstanding performance in the last fiscal year. The OPIR Agile team demonstrated superior acquisition accomplishments by “restructuring and modernizing their organization and processes to respond to evolving user requirements.” The team’s acquisition activities aligned numerous external organizations’ equities to deliver major enhancements to the OPIR ground architecture.
Mr. Jeff Winkeljohn, Deputy Director for IC Procurement in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event. Mr. Kevin Meiners, Deputy Director of Enterprise Capacity in ODNI, Dr. Roy Pettis, Assistant Deputy of National Intelligence for Acquisition, Procurement, and Facilities in ODNI, and Mr. Bryan Albers, Director of IC Acquisition in ODNI, all made remarks. Mr. Meiners praised the award recipients for “balancing the demands of fiscal responsibility, public trust, and technological challenges against the unrelenting urgency of mission pace.”
Eight IC agencies sent in nominations for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 awards: Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, NRO, National Security Agency, and U.S. Air Force. Dr. Pettis encouraged even more competition across the IC for next year’s event, and teased that because Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency were tied for awards at eight each, the FY2019 ceremony would reveal the “clear winner”. Mr. Meiners thanked the families and friends who were able to attend the award ceremony and subsequent reception, acknowledging that their loved ones “choose to do this important work because it is hard, and it has real impact to the safety and security of all Americans.”