NEWS | May 10, 2010

Dr. Marshall Orr Receives Meritorious Civilian Service Award

By Amanda Bowie

Dr. Marshall H. Orr, Associate Superintendent of the Naval Research Laboratory's Acoustics Division received the Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award for his service as Technical Director, Senior Scientist and Program Manager of the Ballistic Missile Submarine Nuclear (SSBN) Security Technology Program (SSTP).

For his numerous roles on the staff of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Integration of Capabilities and Resources from March 2005 to December 2008, Dr. Orr's award citation reads in part,

Dr. Orr superbly performed his duties in an outstanding manner combining unique technical and managerial skills and training. He astutely managed day-to-day operations of the SSBN Security Technology Program (SSTP). Through his close involvement and keen resource management, he maximized $40 million per year budget and its approximately 100 scientists and engineers from 16 different universities, government agencies and private contractors. His work at the strategic level helped to define, prioritize and develop the annual SSTP classified projects. His hands-on leadership ensured that project managers overcame obstacles and extracted the maximum information available from every project. He drove significant changes in broader Navy operational plans and investment at U.S. Strategic Command, including operational guidance to the security of the Nation's sea-based strategic deterrent for the next fifty-plus years. His exceptional professionalism, personal initiative, and loyal devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

As the manager who provided technical direction to the SSTP, Dr. Orr was responsible for defining and quantifying future technological and operational vulnerabilities for the following technologies: integrated in-situ oceanographic sensor systems; acoustic and geophysical sensor systems; aircraft and spacecraft borne magnetic field, radar and electro-optical sensor systems. Dr. Orr initiated a Cueing Team to define SSBN vulnerability to an integrated system of individual sensor systems, and a Red Team to identify culturally unique anti-submarine warfare (ASW) technology threats to guided missile submarines (SSGN) and nuclear powered attack submarines (SSN) in forward deployed areas.

Dr. Orr began his scientific career as an instructor of physics at the University of Maine (1967-1968). Upon earning his Ph.D. in nuclear structure physics at the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) he became an assistant professor in the PSU Physics Department (Shenango Valley Campus) (1972-1973). He joined the PSU Applied Physics Laboratory in1973 to perform full time research in the physics of underwater acoustic propagation and its application to Navy systems.

From 1974 to 1981 Dr. Orr worked in the Ocean Engineering Department at The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (Assistant Scientist (1974-1978)/Associate Scientist (1978-1981) where he conducted research in long range deep water acoustics propagation and developed an acoustics research program to study small-scale fluid processes using high frequency acoustic scattering techniques. In 1981, he became a senior research geophysicist for the Gulf Oil Research and Development Company and in 1983 joined the Standard Oil of Ohio Production Company as a staff geophysicist. In1987 he joined the Office of Naval Research's Ocean Acoustics Program and was selected as the Program Manager shortly after. In that role, he defined and implemented a long-term basic research program focused on meeting the Navy's ASW and MCM research needs. The program funded a broad section of the academic community and as a result maintained and developed a manpower pool educated in aspects of theoretical and experimental ocean acoustics propagation and scattering physics.

Dr. Orr joined NRL in 1992, and served as the Branch Head of the Acoustic Signal Processing Branch until he became Technical Director, Senior Scientist and Program Manager of the Ballistic Missile Submarine Nuclear (SSBN) Security Technology Program in 2005. He returned to NRL in 2008 as a Senior Scientist and Consultant in the Acoustics Division and was appointed as the Division's Associate Superintendent in 2009. At NRL, his research has focused on the impact of ocean fluid dynamic processes on the physics of phase coherent acoustic signal propagation and the performance of acoustic arrays in the Navy's littoral operating areas.

He earned a bachelor of science in physics from The University of Rhode Island in 1965, a master of science in physics from the University of Maine in 1967, and doctor of philosophy in low energy nuclear structure physics from The Pennsylvania State University in 1972.

Dr. Orr is a member of the American Geophysical Union and is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA). He has served on the ASA Acoustical Oceanography and Underwater Acoustics Technical Committees. He has authored or coauthored 26 referred publications, 57 papers and 28 scientific and technical reports; been elected to Sigma Pi Sigma and Sigma Xi and was a recipient of the Alan Berman Research Publication Award in 2004.

Dr. Orr served as Chairman of the 39th Navy Symposium on Underwater Acoustics in May 1994; Session Chair of the Experimental Ocean Acoustics II, 121st Acoustical Society of America Meeting in 1991; was an Associate Editor for the U.S. Navy Journal of Underwater Sound from 1988 to 1992; elected to the staff committee of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution from 1980 to 1982; served as a panel member for the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment from 1980 to 1981; and served as a local chairman for the Second International Ocean Dumping Symposium at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1980.