NEWS | Nov. 27, 2012

David Lalejini Receives Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award

By Donna McKinney

David Lalejini, a physical scientist working at the Naval Research Laboratory-Stennis, has received the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award. Mr. Lalejini is recognized for meritorious performance of service as research and development lead in transitioning a Piracy Attack Risk Surface product during the period from January 2010 through April 2011.

With the goal of identifying the areas that are at the greatest risk of pirate attack, the Piracy Attack Risk Surface product, designed by NRL's Dr. James Hansen, dynamically couples shipping, pirate behavior, and meteorology and oceanography. This product enables task force commanders and others who police piracy to make the best choices in placing their assets so that they can successfully deter and interdict pirate activities. This sophisticated piracy model uses pirate operational and tactical input parameters available from the Office of Naval Intelligence, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces supporting anti-piracy operations.

Mr. Lalejini's technical proficiency in geospatial systems, programming languages, and analysis enabled him to rapidly test and implement the piracy behavior model in the Piracy Attack Risk Surface product at the Naval Oceanographic Office. The award nomination describes how he was relentless in applying scientific rigor while transitioning the Piracy Attack Risk Surface, assuring all algorithms performed as documented in the operational environment to assure the output product was technically sound. Mr. Lalejini identified logic issues in the program code that were targeted for improvement. These enhancements directly improved the probabilities of piracy activity. He also provided critical support in loading testing algorithms in various configurations on operational systems.

With Mr. Lalejini's improvements, the software run time has decreased from 40+ hours to ten minutes. He has led the Navy into a superior approach where the intelligence and Meteorological and Oceanographic (METOC) communities unite to present actionable information to the warfighter. In Naval Oceanography's operational concept Battle Space on Demand, this Tier III product will be the model in which other complex METOC and intelligence problems are presented to the warfighter for decisions.

Mr. Lalejini received his bachelor's degree in physics from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1992 and his master's degree in geography from University of Southern Mississippi in 2008. He currently serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve and is a recipient of the Bronze Star medal. From 1996 to 2008, he worked for the Naval Oceanographic Office. In 2008 he came to NRL, working in the Sediment Dynamics Section of the Marine Geosciences Division.

The Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award is awarded to civilian employees in the Department of the Navy for meritorious service or contributions resulting in high value or benefits for the Navy or the Marine Corps.