By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs

Before finishing his visit to NUWC Division Newport on June 28, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday had to get one more look at Director of Undersea Warfare Eugene Hackney’s poster board outlining Project Overmatch and its alignment in the undersea domain.

The goal of Project Overmatch is to create a network of ships, sensors, weapons and platforms to allow the Navy to better connect its operations in real time.

“This is critical for the future,” Gilday said to Hackney before turning to address the group gathered in the Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) Laboratory. “Thank you for what you’re doing. This is really impressive — outstanding.”

The poster session began with Division Newport Technical Director Ron Vien and Commanding Officer Capt. Chad Hennings welcoming Gilday. They discussed the command’s history, current posture and future endeavors.

“If you look at the Navy’s undersea force as a wolf, we here at Division Newport are its senses and teeth,” Hennings said.

Christopher DelMastro, head, Division Newport’s Platform and Payload Integration Department, followed with an overview of UUVs, focusing in particular on the Snakehead large diameter UUV.

“We are accomplishing so many firsts in the Snakehead project,” DelMastro said.

After Hackney’s presentation, Darlene Sullivan, head, Undersea Warfare Electromagnetic Systems Department, briefed Gilday on the Submarine Launched Over the Horizon (SLOTH) Buoy. She explained how the buoy works, as well as how Division Newport scientists and engineers rapidly prototyped and delivered it to the fleet.

Will Roman, anti-surface warfare mission capability manager, and Hector Lopez, head, Undersea Warfare Weapons, Vehicles and Defensive Systems Department, followed with a discussion on weapons engagement and lethality, with Roman talking about targeting and Lopez giving an overview on torpedoes.

“You have the best minds in the world working on this,” Lopez said. “Not that there aren’t challenges, but there are some really bright people addressing this.”

Rebecca Chhim, director of cybersecurity for Undersea Warfare (USW) Combat System Integration for Submarines and USW Systems, was up next and talked about cybersecurity. She discussed the need to be resilient in the cyber-contested environments of today and tomorrow, as well as how it’s at the core of our people, processes and products.

Marie Bussiere, head, Undersea Warfare Combat Systems Department, closed the visit with a presentation on digital engineering transformation and Live Virtual Constructive (LVC) Naval Sandbox initiatives.

“I could deep dive all day in all these arenas,” Gilday said. “What you’ve shown me today is really impressive.

Gilday’s visit to Division Newport was part of a visit to several commands at Naval Station Newport.

Gilday began serving as CNO on Aug. 22, 2019. A surface warfare officer, Gilday is a native of Lowell, Massachusetts, and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. 

At sea, he deployed with USS Chandler (DDG 996), USS Princeton (CG 59) and USS Gettysburg (CG 64). He commanded destroyers USS Higgins (DDG 76) and USS Benfold (DDG 65) and subsequently, commanded Destroyer Squadron 7, serving as sea combat commander for the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group.

As a flag officer, he served as commander Carrier Strike Group 8 embarked aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), and as commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and U.S 10th Fleet.

His staff assignments include the Bureau of Naval Personnel, staff of the Chief of Naval Operations and staff of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. Joint assignments include executive assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and naval aide to the president.

As a flag officer, he served in joint positions as director of operations for NATO’s Joint Force Command Lisbon; as chief of staff for Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO; director of operations, J3, for U.S. Cyber Command; and as director of operations, J3, for the Joint Staff. He recently served as director, Joint Staff.

He has served on teams that have been recognized with numerous awards and is the recipient of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal (four awards), Legion of Merit (three awards), Bronze Star, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat “V,” and the Combat Action Ribbon.

NUWC Division Newport is a shore command of the U.S. Navy within the Naval Sea Systems Command, which engineers, builds and supports America’s fleet of ships and combat systems. NUWC Newport provides research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, undersea offensive and defensive weapons systems, and countermeasures associated with undersea warfare.

NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher’s Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.

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