Two Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) professors have received the highest honorary award bestowed on Navy civilians by the Secretary of the Navy.
Operations research (OR) professors Gerald Brown and Nita Shattuck were presented with the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award (DCSA) at the 86th Military Operations Research Society Symposium in King Auditorium, June 19, in recognition of their research which has had a significant impact on the naval service and the Department of Defense.
NPS president retired Vice Adm. Ronald A. Route presented the awards, noting the honor of recognizing these two faculty in an assembly of their peers.
Shattuck, who holds faculty appointments in both the operations research and system engineering departments, has extensively researched the human body’s natural circadian rhythms, and the effects of fatigue and sleep deprivation on performance.
Years of research into crew endurance has led to a revolution of sorts in how the Navy schedules when Sailors should stand watch. In fact, the Navy’s entire surface force has been directed to implement circadian-based watch schedules, based on Shattuck’s research to improve performance and crew endurance.
“I am so honored and humbled by this,” Shattuck said. “It’s a once in a lifetime kind of achievement, I never expected to receive something like this.”
Shattuck’s DCSA citation specifically commends her “exceptional leadership, unmatched dedication, and business acumen.” Often spending months at sea in austere conditions, through rough seas and sleepless nights, she earned the respect of junior sailors and senior leadership alike.
Yet Shattuck refuses to take sole credit for the prestigious award.
“I have a wonderful team,” she explained. “They’re really the reason I received this because they work so hard alongside me.”
For Brown, an icon in the field, this is the second DCSA for the emeritus distinguished professor. With an operations research career at NPS dating back to 1973, he is known as a “true giant” in the field of military operations research, as Route noted.
His vast and wide-ranging corpus of academic research has had a direct and significant impact across the Navy and the U.S. military at large.
Since 2013, both Fifth and Seventh Fleets have utilized software Brown developed to optimally schedule daily logistical replenishment operations. His capital-planning modeling has influenced billions of dollars in procurement across all services.
“It’s gratifying to be recognized for this most-recent work,” Brown said. “The DCSA is customarily awarded to select retiring senior Navy executives, so to receive this award as a less senior civilian employee – a mere academic with no particular managerial responsibility – at a command far from the Pentagon is recognition of the importance and influence of the work we do at NPS.
Brown’s research also greatly improved the resiliency of the energy supply chain across the Pacific, and his basic and applied research into attacker-defender modeling has changed how the U.S. plans its defense against terrorism.
“I have visited many other universities and laboratories world-wide, and have found nothing to compare with the professionals I work with at NPS and our mission,” he added proudly.