Dr. Herbert Eppert Receives Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive

6/28/2005 - 33-05r
Contact: Public Affairs Office, (202) 767-2541

Dr. Herbert C. Eppert, Jr., superintendent of the Naval Research Laboratory's Marine Geosciences Division, is a recipient of the 2004 Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive. Each year, the President recognizes and celebrates a small group of career Senior Executives with the President's Rank Award for exceptional long-term accomplishments. Dr. Eppert's distinguished leadership in the field of marine geosciences has had, and continues to have, a very profound impact on the Navy, the Department of Defense (DoD), and nation and internationally. His vision and leadership have created an internationally recognized group of scientists and engineers with cutting edge programs, access to world-class facilities, and dedication to serving the needs of a wide range of Naval programs as well as a multitude of other DoD, national and international interests. Dr. Eppert's nomination notes that "without his unrelenting dedication and perseverance, this outstanding organization and coalition of cooperative interests could not have been achieved."

Starting with the establishment of the Naval Oceanographic Research and Development Activity (NORDA) at Stennis Space Center, Mississippi, through the merger with the Naval Environmental Research and Prediction Facility to form NOARL and the NOARL merger with NRL in 1992 and continuing today, Dr. Eppert has provided continuous leadership in establishing new organizational structures; directing science, technology and applied research; recruiting young research scientists and engineers, world class researchers in ocean sciences; strategic planning; financial management; and acquisition of state-of-the-art facilities and instrumentation. In 1992, Dr. Eppert, working with senior NRL leadership, developed and implemented plans establishing two new NRL divisions, Oceanography and Marine Geosciences. The Marine Geosciences Division consisted of branches at both Stennis Space Center, Mississippi, and Washington, DC. Dr. Eppert's leadership was crucial to the successful integration and development of a cohesive division with a high level of morale and shared goals. In addition, Dr. Eppert assumed responsibilities for the Office of Research Support Services at NRL SSC, which provides administrative support such as security, safety, facilities, and public affairs for all NRL personnel located at Stennis Space Center.

The end of the cold war led to significant changes in the emphasis of the Navy shifting from deep water Anti-Submarine Warfare as the highest priority research area to operations in shallow water and coastal regions. Dr. Eppert led the development of an entire new science, technology and applied research program focused on understanding, characterizing and predicting, the change in seafloor (shape and underlying sediments) in nearshore and coastal regions. New scientific expertise was recruited and unique instrumentation for ocean and laboratory experiments were acquired. The goals were to provide the Navy and Marine Corp technology leading to an advance capability to detect mines (particularly mines buried in the seafloor) and conduct safe and timely amphibious landings through the surf zone to the beach. New techniques and algorithms are being developed to improve navigation capabilities for unmanned underwater vehicles during hydrographic surveying and Naval reconnaissance and surveillance operations. Advanced video imaging techniques are providing critical parameters for the prediction of surf zone dynamics and beach change. The capabilities to map and characterize the seafloor in denied areas using combat sensors was successfully demonstrated and is scheduled for integration into the Fleet in the near term. The Marine Geosciences Division is a world leader in methane hydrate research and is deploying advance acoustic imaging systems for understanding impact of methane on seafloor stability and acoustic propagation. The research accomplishments also benefit coastal zone planning and management, beach restoration, fisheries, charting for safe ship navigation, and other national coastal and near shore interest.

Dr. Eppert is a member of the Marine Technology Society, The Oceanography Society, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, American Geophysical Union, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and Society for Sedimentary Geology. He was recently elected President of the Society for Counter-Ordnance Technology. He represents NRL on the Stennis Space Center Executive Council and Policy Board for the Center of Higher Learning - coordinator of all educational activities at Stennis Space Center.

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