Two from Lincoln Laboratory receive U.S. Army Commander's Award for Public Service
The award recognizes exceptional work on a homeland protection course for military and government leaders.
By Dorothy Ryan | Communications and Community Outreach Office
Diane Jamrog, assistant leader in MIT Lincoln Laboratory's Chemical and Biological Defense Systems Group, and Joanne Zukowski, administrative assistant in the Homeland Protection and Air Traffic Control Division, received the U.S. Army's Commander's Award for Public Service, one of the highest honors the Army bestows on civilians.
For the past four years, Jamrog and Zukowski have coordinated the Laboratory's Homeland Protection Course, a multiday program affiliated with the National Guard Homeland Security Institute. The course introduces military officers and civilian government staff to the advanced technologies that can be applied to homeland security problems.
The Commander's Award certificates commend the outstanding dedication and effort that Jamrog and Zukowski have exhibited in providing an important educational experience for military and civilian leaders tasked with responsibilities for homeland protection. Jamrog has served as the course's overall technical program lead, developing the curriculum and working with more than two dozen staff members to prepare the course lectures. Zukowski has managed the many and varied logistics for hosting the course at the Laboratory.
"It was an unexpected surprise and honor to receive the Commander's Award and medal for public service," said Zukowski. "There is a lot of work in preparing for these events at the Lab, and even though it's our job, it was really good to have that hard work and dedication recognized and appreciated."
This year's course, held from 27 to 30 June at Lincoln Laboratory in conjunction with its Homeland Protection Series of workshops, was divided into four topical sessions: air, border, and maritime defense; chemical, biological, and explosives defense; technologies for humanitarian aid and disaster response; and two hands-on exercises—one using the Next-Generation Incident Command System, a software platform that provides first responders with situational awareness and real-time collaboration tools, and the other using a gaming platform that challenges players to find evidence across disparate datasets, such as surveillance video, to protect critical infrastructure.
The 62 course participants came from 32 U.S. states and represented organizations that included the Army and Air National Guards, U.S. Northern Command, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The hands-on exercises were particularly well received; several of the National Guard attendees praised these sessions in their course evaluations. "The critical infrastructure protection exercise was fascinating," said one participant, who then asked, "How do I get it [the serious game] back to my state?"
On the other three days, course participants joined the larger community of attendees at the Homeland Protection Series workshops, which offered seminars, discussions, and poster sessions. "While I am personally honored to receive this award, I also see it as recognition of the quality of the technical material we presented and of the value that material has for people involved in homeland protection missions," said Jamrog, who added that, unlike similar conferences that emphasize the planning and agency collaboration needed for homeland security operations, this workshop series and course focus on how advanced technologies can be applied to improve the effectiveness of homeland security missions. "I believe this year's format provided attendees with deeper technical content;" Jamrog's assessment was validated by the attendee who wrote, "This is a unique course, giving NG [National Guard] personnel direct access to cutting-edge information."
Posted September 2016
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