2018 Awards

2018 Defense Acquisition Workforce Award Winners

The Defense Acquisition Workforce Award recipients represent the best of the best across our acquisition community. Photos and accomplishments of the winners will be on display for one year in the Pentagon on the Defense Acquisition Workforce Wall of Recognition display.

2018 Photo Gallery

Defense Acquisition Workforce Individual Achievement Award Winners

Maj Jenny Ji Portrait

Maj Jenny Ji
U.S. Air Force

Maj Jenny Ji led and executed NATO-funded projects totaling $42 million, ensuring the unimpeded flow of materials and expert advisors supporting the Afghan National Army and Police. Maj Ji’s technical knowledge averted a 1-year delay in the upgrade of a $60 million Biometrics Identification system, protecting more than 9,000 U.S. and coalition warfighters. Her leadership ensured sustainable police forensics and military intelligence capabilities throughout Afghanistan.

Mr. Paul Lefevor Portrait

Mr. Paul Lefevor
Defense Contract Audit Agency

Mr. Paul Lefevor achieved net savings for the DoD and the taxpayer of more than $51 million. He managed and provided technical guidance in the successful completion of 42 years of final indirect rate assignments, enabling the DoD to close hundreds of open contracts. He ensured customer needs were met throughout the audit process as well as during negotiations. Mr. Lefevor’s leadership and innovative approaches in aligning resources to meet requirements were essential to achieving successful acquisition outcomes.

Ms. Doneise Lamb Portrait

Ms. Doneise Lamb
National Security Agency

Ms. Doneise Lamb leads the largest contracting division of the National Security Agency (NSA) and a portfolio valued at $1.8 billion. Ms. Lamb improved acquisition processes, strengthened partnerships with industry, and increased the quality of support. She led one of NSA’s major analytics modernization initiatives, successfully employing joint government and contractor agile software development. Ms. Lamb has been a catalyst within NSA’s contracting organization, focusing her energy on training and developing the next generation of NSA acquisition professionals needed to assure the security of U.S. operations, data, and information.

Mr. John Stedge Portrait

Mr. John Stedge
U.S. Air Force

Mr. John Stedge’s leadership directly improved business procedures, resulting in process enhancements and analysis that supported a new Air Force nuclear weapon system acquisition valued at more than $83 billion. Mr. Stedge shepherded the organization through a massive institutional change focused on improving cost analysis and financial requirements generation, data-driven decision support, risk-based resource allocation, and innovative Cost Capability Tradeoff Analysis. This major cost reorganization effort saved the Air Force $2 billion.

Lt Col Bennet Burton Portrait

Lt Col Bennet Burton
U.S. Air Force

Lt Col Bennet Burton established a metrics-based award fee plan for an operations and sustainment contract and drove an urgent modification for a $130 million asset, creating a detailed schedule plan and doubling combat options. He created unique scheduling efforts ensuring the successful procurement of a $13 billion high-priority system. His leadership drove the utilization of earned-value quantifiable backup data techniques to force accountability and reduce open items by 30 percent. His approach saved $130 million and added up to 9 years of operational capability to this high-priority system.

Mr. James Kettner Portrait

Mr. James Kettner
U.S. Army

Mr. James Kettner delivered an initial capability to the warfighter in only 11 months, while saving more than $14 million in hardware, operations, and support costs for the U.S. Army Cyber Command. He engineered and delivered the Rapid Cyber Development Network and the Cyber-Tool Development Environment and Platform. His leadership gave the Army a capability that radically improves operational responsiveness and relevancy in the cyber warfare domain.

Mr. Robert Fox Portrait

Mr. Robert Fox
U.S. Army

Mr. Robert Fox supported a $2.9 billion Army program for U.S. and foreign military sales. He executed 82 contract actions, of which 69 were awarded, for an estimated $100 million. He developed seven new indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity contracts, for approximately $267 million, and developed the Afghanistan Military Cost Book. As a result of his leadership, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers accelerated support to the warfighter while achieving cost savings and reduced procurement lead time.

Ms. Cassandra Simmons-Brown Portrait

Ms. Cassandra Simmons-Brown
U.S. Army

Ms. Cassandra Simmons-Brown led a team responsible for establishing and monitoring the business practices across five Army program offices. She executed $1.7 billion spanning three funding sources, multiple appropriations, and multiple accounting systems. Her leadership resulted in the effective transformation and merger of the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense’s Business Operations, Audit Management, and Financial Systems Integration into one high-functioning directorate.

Maj Giacomo Sauceda Portrait

Maj Giacomo Sauceda
U.S. Air Force

Maj Giacomo Sauceda protected U.S. and allies' use of the Global Positioning System against evolving cyber threats. He overhauled a volatile command and control system design, reducing cyber engineering processing time by 3 months, and averting a 9-month, $60 million schedule overrun. His leadership and warfighter mentality increased the responsiveness, security, and integrity of this vital worldwide utility for 2 billion users.

Mr. Billy McCain Portrait

Mr. Billy McCain
U.S. Army

Mr. Billy McCain migrated more than 20,000 Army units from the legacy Standard Army Management Information Systems to the Global Combat Support System-Army. He converted property valued at more than $356 billion, issued more than 1 million certificates of training, and fielded more than 21,000 hand-held terminals. His leadership resulted in the successful management of the turbulent fielding schedule, delivery of New Equipment Training in multiple business areas, and enabled the institutional training transition.

Ms. Christina Fontanos Portrait

Ms. Christina Fontanos
U.S. Navy

Ms. Christina Fontanos has demonstrated a commitment to furthering the professionalism of the Navy's Production, Quality, and Manufacturing community. She developed a comprehensive Production, Quality, and Manufacturing training pipeline that expedited the development of skill sets necessary for the Naval Aviation Enterprise junior workforce. Ms. Fontanos also supervised review of production contract proposals on a complex missile program, leading the team through technical evaluations of 71 supplier proposals and Basis of Estimates for a $453 million defense contract. Her leadership saved the government $104 million.

Lt Col Ellen Ellis Portrait

Lt Col Ellen Ellis
National Reconnaissance Office

Lt Col Ellen Ellis expertly managed two National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) Acquisition Category I equivalent programs that modernized NRO imagery processing in a service-oriented architecture on commercial Cloud infrastructure. Her leadership sustained four operational baselines maintaining an operational availability of 99.8 percent, ensuring processing and delivery of more than 12,000 imagery products per day to both national-level and theater-level analysts and warfighters.

CDR Jake Haff Portrait

CDR Jake Haff
U.S. Special Operations Command

CDR Jake Haff successfully analyzed, validated, and approved 15 Combat Mission Needs Statements providing battlefield capability that prevented cataclysm and loss of life for deployed National and Theater Special Operations Forces. His leadership proved vital to aligning the U.S. Special Operations Command’s acquisition capability against dynamic operational challenges facing the Special Operations Forces Component and Theater Special Operations Commands on the battlefield.

Mr. Michael Hogan Portrait

Mr. Michael Hogan
U.S. Air Force

Mr. Michael Hogan led a team that successfully launched the Air Force Operationally Responsive Space 5 Sensor Satellite to meet an urgent need in space situational awareness within challenging cost constraints in an unprecedented 3 years. The mission served as a pathfinder for small satellite technology and procurement. The satellite was the first to operate on the Multi-Mission Satellite Operations Center 2.1 ground system and was the first Minotaur IV to launch from Cape Canaveral. His leadership ensured rapid issue resolution while maintaining program schedule and cost.

1st Lt Christian Todd Portrait

1st Lt Christian Todd
U.S. Air Force

First Lieutenant Christian Todd provided critical leadership for the engineering Air Force Systems Engineering and Integration contract rebaseline effort, in which he overhauled 481 obsolescent requirements. He delivered $241 million dollars in essential services enabling Assured Access to Space for the U.S. Government on five National Security Space missions valued at more than $4 billion. First Lieutenant Todd’s leadership was also instrumental in executing the first Launch Enterprise engineering contract industry day for a potential multi-million-dollar follow-on contract.

Mr. Anthony Aldrich Portrait

Mr. Anthony Aldrich
U.S. Special Operations Command

Mr. Anthony Aldrich, program manager for the U.S. Special Operations Command Small Business Innovative Research program, achieved a 139 percent increase in small business awards, almost a 50 percent increase in Total Obligation Authority, and a 247 percent increase in small business participation. He increased the number of awards to small businesses by streamlining acquisition procedures and using innovative techniques that provide flexibilities similar to Other Transaction Agreements. Mr. Aldrich’s leadership established new customer alliances and developed vendors that will drive Special Forces toward their next generation solutions.

Mr. Daniel Ensminger Portrait

Mr. Daniel Ensminger
U.S. Navy

Mr. Daniel Ensminger routinely challenged institutional norms to create a streamlined test strategy as the Test and Evaluation Working Integrated Product Team Lead for the Navy Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile Program. His use of Modeling and Simulation and Capabilities-Based Test and Evaluation allowed the test team to rapidly execute the test program, provide data supporting a viable Fleet envelope, and produce cost savings of over $500 million by reducing the number of live test flights. Mr. Ensminger’s leadership paved the way for getting a crucial weapon to the warfighter in record time, setting the standard for future rapid acquisition and test efforts.

Flexibility in Contracting Award Winner

Air Force Materiel Command Federal Acquisition Regulation 16.5 High Performance Team Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio seal

Air Force Materiel Command Federal Acquisition Regulation 16.5 High Performance Team Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio

The Federal Acquisition Regulation 16.5 High Performance Team provided strategy advice to the $985 million C-17 simulator program, shaving 75 days off the acquisition and $66 million off the predecessor contract. The team assisted an IT service effort reducing cycle times by 43 percent and saving $1.1 million. The team’s innovation and leadership saved an average 84 days, 48 percent, and $5.8 million in acquisition lead time and costs.

Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Innovation Award Winners


Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic North Charleston, South Carolina

The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic launched the Cyber Education and Certification Readiness Facility. The creation of this training facility bolstered Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic's success in mastering the cyber space domain and yielded a cost-savings of more than $2 million. The creativity and innovation of the Cyber Education and Certification Readiness Facility represents a major step forward in the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic’s investment in credentialing its technical workforce and developing cybersecurity specialists to improve the fleet information system.


United States Naval Test Pilot School, Patuxent River, Maryland

The United States Naval Test Pilot School trained 72 Test Pilots, Flight Officers, and Flight Test Engineers through a rigorous 11-month course and trained an additional 195 flight test personnel and aircrew via rapid targeted flight test courses to improve the competency and quality of Test and Evaluation personnel. The United States Naval Test Pilot School directly improved the professionalism of the Test and Evaluation community by establishing a research cell, hosting a multinational Test Pilot conference, and training personnel from other federal agencies and partnering countries. Through their leadership, they refined the optimal mix of classroom, simulation lab, inflight instruction, and active feedback, critical to the successful execution of complex developmental test programs supporting the delivery of enhanced capabilities to warfighters.