Editor’s note: The following is from a press release.
PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — Navigating Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport’s myriad opportunities can be challenging. With so many departments, programs and projects, it could take years to find the right career path.
Three NUWC Newport logisticians recently found their career paths through the Naval Acquisition Development Program (NADP). These paid entry-level and journeyman internships offer the ability to rotate through different departments and positions with the added bonus of travel and rapid advancement for those interested in the acquisition, logistics and technology programs that support of the Navy.
Phil Campo Jr. of Warwick, Rhode Island, and Taylor Velasco, of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, both in the Undersea Warfare Weapons, Vehicles, and Defensive Systems Department and Veronica LaFleur, of Acushnet, Mass., who works in the Sensors and Sonar Systems Department, are about to graduate from the two-year, entry-level NADP internship.
Marie Bussiere, head of the Undersea Warfare Combat Systems Department, guided them as NUWC Newport’s career field manager for the NADP.
Velasco graduated from Northeastern University in 2011 and began working at NUWC Newport’s Undersea Warfare Weapons, Vehicles, and Defensive Systems Department as a contractor. After a few years, his branch head suggested the NADP internship as a way of getting a government job. He applied, was accepted into the two-year program in 2017, and will graduate in March.
“The way the program works is you can end up anywhere,” Velasco said. “There’s a lot going on at NUWC, and you may never see it. This program lets you see what’s happening.”
After graduating from the University of Rhode Island in 2013, Campo began working at Ocean State Job Lot headquarters doing work in systems engineering. He found out about the NADP from his father, who is a NUWC employee. He was accepted as an intern and began working in NUWC Newport’s Undersea Defense and Intelligence Support Division doing logistics support for surface ship torpedo defense, which includes warehousing, sparing and inventory.
“I’ve become very familiar with the pillars of logistics,” Campo said.
After working as an Army logistician for 20 years, Veronica LaFleur got a job at Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton, Massachusetts. She found work in the private sector to be a big adjustment after military work. Her sister-in-law, a NUWC employee and former NADP intern, alerted her to the NADP internship opportunity, and soon LaFleur was accepted into the program and working in the towed array depot in NUWC Newport’s Sensors and Sonar Systems Department.
All three interns agree that the experience of rotating through different departments was invaluable.
“The biggest thing for me was the rotation in the Ranges, Engineering and Analysis Department and seeing how different the departments operate,” Velasco said. “It’s different hardware and a different way of doing things. With the Ranges, Engineering and Analysis Department, I got to do some research and development on projects and some onsite testing at Dodge Pond, located in New York.”
Both Velasco and Campo did a rotation in the Undersea Warfare Combat Systems Department that brought them to facilities in Groton and New London, Connecticut, where they got to see more in-depth work on the construction of a Virginia-class submarine.
“The Undersea Warfare Combat Systems took us to the shipyard in Groton and to Electric Boat in New London, and they took us to Quonset so you can see — start to finish — the module for a submarine,” Campo said. “There’s no way we’d get to see that unless we were in this program.”
“My work was in Mark 48 heavyweight torpedoes, but then when you see how much goes into building an actual submarine onsite at Electric Boat – it puts it all into perspective,” Velasco said.
LaFleur, meanwhile, felt right at home working for the towed array depot.
“As a former supply sergeant, I was used to getting what everyone needed for now or yesterday. I understand how the government ordering process works. I did have to learn a new supply system – we don’t have ERP [Enterprise Resource Planning] in the Army, but I picked it up pretty quickly.”
LaFleur did one of her rotations in the contracts department where she learned their policies and procedures and got to work with branch heads, negotiators and contracting officers.
“I got to know why they do what they do,” said LaFleur.
Campo now works on the Razorback unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) program, which is a newer program, and supporting logistics for UUVs is sometimes unchartered territory.
“I’ll be there awhile,” said Campo. “I started in UUV logistics and will be with Razorback until is succeeds or doesn’t succeed.”
At the end of their internships, LaFleur will remain in the towed array depot, and Velasco will continue his work with the Mark 48 heavyweight torpedo.
“My highlights from this program are the rotations and being able to learn new work and learn about the warfare center,” Velasco said. “It’s a no-brainer. Assuming you don’t have a better offer, there’s no better opportunity for logistics.”
LaFleur agreed. “I have an appreciation for what everyone else does,” she said. “You don’t have blinders on. You can learn what other people do with the freedom to move around. If something is not a fit, you know it’s not permanent, and you can find somewhere else to go.”
The interns said that the two-year program goes by quickly as they complete their rotations and the NADP requirements such as Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) training and competencies in their Individual Development Plans.
“Your job is to go out and learn,” Velasco said. “While the bread and butter of NUWC is engineering, logistics is a necessary part of the center.”
“They’re learning that they need more logistics,” LaFleur said. “It’s not Amazon. It takes a while to get a purchase order. And we have to be the good stewards of taxpayer money.”
Upon graduating from the program, interns give a presentation of what they learned in the program. LaFleur briefed an experience she had working in the towed array depot that she called “The Perfect Storm” – when she had items to purchase but had to do so under three extenuating circumstances: a contract dispute, a change to a new procurement system and operating under a continuing resolution. Her NADP outbrief detailed what she learned as a logistician.
Campo and Velasco will graduate in March and will give presentations on the Razorback program and the Mark 48 obsolescence plan, respectively.
An added bonus to being a part of the NADP is the alumni network. Logisticians continue to meet after they’ve complete the program to share ideas and best practices, and they will serve as mentors to the next group of interns.
“The program finds where you might suit the warfare center best,” Campo said.
NUWC Division Newport, part of the Naval Sea System Command, is one of two divisions of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. NUWC Division Newport’s mission is to provide research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, undersea offensive and defensive weapons systems, and countermeasures. NUWC’s other division is located in Keyport, Wash.