ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Donald F. McCormack, former Executive Director of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Warfare Centers, was named a 2020 recipient of the Distinguished Civilian Award by the Naval Submarine League (NSL) for his lifetime of commitment to the submarine force. This award recognizes individuals whose work has had significant importance for the advancement of our nation’s undersea warfare capabilities. No more than two of these prestigious awards are given out each year.
McCormack spent more than 35 years in federal government service advocating for the undersea warfare community. He began his career as an Electronics Engineer in 1985 where he was involved in a variety of engineering programs essential to Navy undersea capabilities, including research and development, test and evaluation, rapid prototyping, and life cycle support. For 15 years, he served as the Executive Director of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, where he implemented improvements to the Center’s business operations, products, and services and also led the development of an undersea warfare vision for the Navy focused on warfare from under the sea versus submarine platform-centric operations. In 2012, he became the Executive Director of all Naval Surface and Undersea Warfare Centers and within 7 years, he grew the workforce from 17,000 to 27,500 employees and doubled the business base from $4.5 to $9.9 billion.
His noteworthy accomplishments have earned McCormack an outstanding reputation as an effective leader and problem solver, providing critical strategic technical and business operations across multiple geographically dispersed divisions. As stated in the award citation, his leadership in the areas of “exploratory and advanced development, test and evaluation, fleet introduction, and complete life cycle support” directly contributed to enhanced capabilities for the fleet and the future development of Navy combat and undersea weapons systems. He successfully led his teams to ensure the warfighter had the best technical and timely undersea warfare solutions to meet current operational fleet needs.
McCormack is a native of Massachusetts and retired from government service in 2020. He currently resides in Dartmouth and serves as Director of Strategy and Business Development at McLaughlin Research Corporation in Middletown, RI.
Because of COVID restrictions, 2020 recipients of the Distinguished Civilian Award were initially honored during a virtual event held November 16, 2020, during the NSL’s 38th Annual Symposium and Industry Update. McCormack was recently presented his award during an in-person ceremony at the 2021 NSL Banquet held on November 18, 2021, in Alexandria, VA.
Upon receiving the award, McCormack thanked the NSL and reiterated the importance of, as well as his commitment to, promoting undersea warfare advancement through cross-organizational collaborative partnerships. As he stated during his acceptance speech, “The teaming of military and civilians in the Warfare Centers has been an awesome experience. It allows the connection of what we are working on to how it is being used in the fleet, which to this day still inspires me to support the Navy Mission. I encourage all the members of the Submarine Force and NSL to speak with the civilian workforce in the Warfare Centers and industry to help them make that connection.”