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NIWC Atlantic Navy Veteran Applies Active-Duty Experience, Worldly View to Mission Accomplishment

20 December 2023

From Jerry Sekerak, NIWC Atlantic Public Affairs Office

John Radford grew up in the desert loving the ocean. It was that love for the ocean that eventually led him from his hometown of Carson City, Nevada to pursue a career in the U.S. Navy spanning the globe.
John Radford, NIWC Atlantic Supply Chain Risk Manager (SCRM)
John Radford, NIWC Atlantic Supply Chain Risk Manager (SCRM)
NIWC Atlantic Supply Chain Management Service Center Keeps Rates Steady
John Radford, NIWC Atlantic Supply Chain Risk Manager (SCRM)
Photo By: Jerry Sekerak
VIRIN: 231012-N-WG725-1001

John Radford grew up in the desert loving the ocean. It was that love for the ocean that eventually led him from his hometown of Carson City, Nevada to pursue a career in the U.S. Navy spanning the globe.

This self-described “Intuitive leader with a wide area of technical experience in Navy IT systems focusing on operational capabilities and information security,” who now serves as NIWC Atlantic’s Supply Chain Risk Manager (SCRM) in Hampton Roads, had humble beginnings.

He began his 22-year Navy career in January 1989 as a Data Processing technician and migrated through other enlisted rates including Radioman and Information Systems Technician before he earned a commission as a Chief Warrant Officer.

“Throughout my Navy career, I experienced some significant and memorable experiences including the introduction of personal computers, (limited) satellite connectivity, and e-mail and web access for the fleet, things that are all now commonplace in and out of the Navy,” said Radford. “It was certainly a different time and had its challenges, but I relished every minute of it.”

Radford started his Navy career at the most junior enlisted rank (E-1) as a Data Processing Technician Seaman Recruit (DPSR) aboard the submarine tender USS Proteus (AS 19) forward deployed in Guam, eventually advancing to DPSN (E-3) and serving as Advanced Data Processing Shift Supervisor.

He continued to move up through the ranks from DP3 (E-4) to DP2 (E-5) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) where he worked as PC / Helpdesk support, before migrating to the Enlisted Personnel Management Center (EPMAC) in New Orleans and serving as Database analyst where he advanced to DP1 (E-6).

On board USS Peleliu (LHA 5) in San Diego, Radford changed rates to Information Systems Technician (IT1) and served as Leading Petty Officer, then transferred to Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station (NCTAMS) Pacific in Hawaii where he worked as a Network Operations Center admin, and Joint Forces Tactical Operations Center Watch Officer and achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer (E-7).

He then moved on to Carrier Air Group Seven (CAG-7) in Virginia Beach, Virginia where he earned his commission and the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 2 and served as CAG Advanced Data Processing (ADP) Officer before transitioning to USS Wasp (LHD 1) in Norfolk where he also served as ADP Officer.

Attaining the rank of CWO3, he moved halfway around the world serving as Local Network Support Center Director for ONE NET Guam before completing his active-duty Navy tour in Manama, Bahrain working as Coalition Communications Officer for Commander Fifth Fleet.

“It was rewarding being able to effect change and improvement at the local, battlegroup and enterprise level and being part of the change engine for positive growth,” said Radford. “I’m proud to know that I directly supported world changing events, participated in humanitarian missions and helped make the world safer while protecting our citizens.”

After making the transition from active-duty military to civilian, Radford found his niche at Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic, then Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic, aka SPAWAR.

Once on board (NIWC Atlantic), he served as FBI network upgrade and deployment deputy lead, Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) Developer for Military Sealift Command System Management; and SW2 Development Engineering Subject Matter Expert (SME), progressing over the years in paygrade and assignments.

He went on to serve as Fleet Support Engineering Technician Atlantic Area of Operations Lead; CANES SME for waterfront installations; CANES Unified Services Facility PITCO Lead; and ultimately the CANES Network Integration and Engineering Facility (NIEF) Atlantic Project Manager before progressing to his current assignment as NIWC Atlantic Supply Chain Risk Manager.

“Our role in continuous improvement and focus on the fleet, including new methods and processes to improve quality of products and reduce installation time and complexity, has undoubtedly had a positive impact on the warfighter and on our mission of delivering information warfare,” said Radford.

Radford has experienced numerous successes during his time with NIWC Atlantic, but one of his most memorable and proudest moments was playing a significant role in changing the enterprise culture for CANES Engineering, Sustainment and Installation and providing a stable, repeatable, verifiable CANES (SW4) baseline.

Additionally, his efforts aligning a capability-based organizational structure and merging CANES ILS (Integrated Logistics Support), Training, PITCO, and CB-ISEA (Capability-Based In-Service Systems Engineering Activity) into an Integrated Product Team served as the key enabler to improved, inter-related, enterprise-wide and complex quality of service and products that directly support the fleet from initial install to operation and sustainment.

While he did the heavy lifting, he attributes much of his success to his leaders/mentors for helping him get to this point in his career.

“They encouraged me to accept challenges and helped me break the status quo and think outside of the box,” said Radford. “They pushed me outside of my comfort zone to expand my vision and taught me to always do the right thing for the right reasons. It took, and continues to take, patience to reach the end goal, but it’s important to never give up."

His current team members, including but not limited to, Esther Cushman, Meade Dillion, Pamela Furr, Mike Gurney, Luis Munoz, and Ernie Micks, continue to help him accomplish the mission and support his role at NIWC Atlantic by encouraging him to remain committed to the vision and focusing on the end state.

According to Radford, that type of support is not only important to him, but something he feels he is obligated to share with the younger generation, especially those looking at pursuing a career in the military or government.

“Commit to doing your best every day,” said Radford. “Every improvement no matter how small is a net gain.”

He added that it’s best to focus on providing the best service and continuously seek to improve your project, peers, leaders, command and organization.

“What an amazing journey. I have travelled the seven seas from Australia to Iceland and most places in between, crossed the equator several times, established command centers, enabled foreign countries to fight pirates, helped free countries from hostile forces, built relationships between organizations, saved lives displaced by natural disasters, deployed and operated many IT systems on many ships,” said Radford. “Throughout all, I have stayed focus on the fact that without everything we can do and give to the Navy, this world would be a lesser place and much more dangerous for our families, children and nation.”
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