It takes determined leadership to bring a culture of innovation to large and historic institutions like the U.S. Navy. Regarded as a successful leader in electromagnetic systems certification at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD), Jillian Berry is passionate about her work, displaying a high level of expertise everyday on the job.

The Department of Navy selected Berry as the 2022 recipient for the prestigious Civilian Service Commendation Medal (CSCM) in recognition of her exceptional work, dedication, and innovative approach to electromagnetic certification for the fleet.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Berry and the shipboard electromagnetic compatibility improvement programs (SEMCIP) team faced challenging situations while providing support and developmental efforts related to shipboard electromagnetic certification. Serving as head of the Electromagnetic Measurements and Engineering Branch from March 2020 to December 2021, Berry led a branch team of 30 government scientists and engineers as well as 70 contractors to tackle those challenges.

Under Berry’s leadership, the SEMCIP team kept Navy shipboard systems on track for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) certification while public health restrictions upended traditional work patterns during the pandemic. The team provided capabilities to prevent, identify, characterize, quantify and mitigate surface ship electromagnetic interface (EMI) problems and worked diligently to eliminate any compliance lapse in the certification process. Berry’s team was empowered to respond with innovative and daring response measures. The SEMCIP team immediately launched the development and implementation of a proactive and flexible virtual solution that continued efforts in supporting, troubleshooting and providing viable solutions for EMI setbacks.

The virtual electromagnetic compatibility (V-EMC) certification concept brought about the capability to manage a multitude of logistical and safety related issues associated with conducting shipboard events. By using V-EMC certification as an essential certification tool, Berry and the SEMCIP team addressed many of the challenges hindering the certification process.

When the pandemic restricted civilians’ presence aboard many Navy ships, the V-EMC certification efforts kept verification testing in support of certification on course.

Additionally, V-EMC certification continued to perform successfully when applied to various scenarios related to limited test options and distance support to ship personnel. The V-EMC certification concept had an added effect of reducing travel burdens and labor expenses on 20 ships, with a total estimated value of $138,000. “[V-EMC certification] is an excellent tool for the SEMCIP team to regularly utilize, not just for COVID-19 related concerns, but also to close out certifications more efficiently and without incurring additional costs,” said Berry. “This is just another tool in the toolbox of the SEMCIP team to continue doing great work that supports the Navy and fleet.”

When referring to V-EMC certification, senior leadership at NSWCDD and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) described the tool as “an excellent example of the NAVSEA culture of affordability in action.”

Berry’s ability to encourage and enable solution based tactics and innovative thinking created an ideal environment for the SEMCIP team to maintain focus in order to continue upholding technical rigor, resulting in a seemingly effortless transition during a critical time. “I am really proud of the team for bringing this innovative tool into fruition. This honor truly goes to them,” said Berry.

According to the CSCM award citation, “Berry’s leadership and guidance had a direct impact on a critical certification requirement for the U.S. Navy.” The citation continued stating, “Berry’s guidance and development of personnel resulted in high-performing teams that consistently strove to improve capabilities for the fleet and will continue to do so well into the future.”

Berry currently serves as branch head for the Special Systems Branch in the Weapons Control and Integration Department at NSWCDD.
The Department of Navy selects CSCM award recipients from a pool of exemplary Navy and U.S. Marine Corps civilian employees who demonstrate an elevated high level performance exceeding expectations and superior expertise in their respected field.

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