Navy SSP Employee Receives 2022 Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Leadership Award > United States Navy > News-Stories

Recently promoted to captain, Thomas was one of two recipients of the Stockdale Award, given annually to recognize two commanding officers who demonstrate inspirational leadership in their personal and professional endeavors while shaping and enhancing the leadership of the Marine. Thomas was the recipient of the Atlantic Fleet and was joined by Cmdr. John “Jake” Keefe, recipient of the Pacific Fleet.

Thomas won this award for his outstanding leadership as a former crew commander of the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Alaska (SSBN 732) Gold. His appointment was endorsed by – not one – but eight other commanders of Submarine Squadron 20 Commander.

“For his accomplishments while in command, for his mentorship of fellow commanders on the waterfront, and for his ‘many contributions to the improvement of the ballistic missile submarine fleet’, Adam was nominated for the Stockdale price,” Gilday said.

During the ceremony, Gilday described how SSBN readiness and operations are hallmarks of the nation’s most critical mission: strategic nuclear deterrence. The USS Alaska, originally built for a 30-year lifespan, was extended to 42 years by the Navy. Because of this updated life requirement, an extended overhaul period of one year is typically required once a decade during which boats undergo major system and equipment refits. As Commanding Officer, Thomas was responsible for managing Alaska’s crew and its operations during the overhaul while dealing with the adversities posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite this enormous pressure, Thomas rose to the challenge by motivating his team – and ensuring their interests were among his top priorities – facilitating the timely completion of this detail-driven technical process. At the end of the maintenance period, her flawless execution of duty ensured that the boat and her crew were well equipped to successfully complete their first deployment.

The USS Alaska not only deployed, it did so reflecting the same exceptionalism demonstrated by Thomas in his leadership.

“In the first year back in service, Alaska made the first transit to the Mediterranean Sea and first port of call in Gibraltar in more than two decades,” Gilday said.

“They earned 20 Submarine Squadron ‘E’ Battle for achieving the highest overall readiness for their warfare mission. And they also won the US Strategic Command’s ‘Omaha Trophy’ as the ‘Best Navy Ballistic Missile Submarine’.

Thomas is now bringing this well-earned experience to the SSP, where he serves as Chief of the Operations, Assessments and Training Branch (SP205). His work supports operational testing of the SSBN’s Strategic Weapons Systems (SWS) and related personnel training to ensure SSBN SWS readiness and credibility for the SSP’s Sea-Based Strategic Deterrence (SBSD), the largest branch of the SSBN. strongest member of the country’s nuclear triad. His leadership provides a guiding light for his peers and for the development of other leaders who will serve the national security mission of the SSP.

“Being a submariner brings the expertise to conduct missile flight test operations and to provide operational equipment and training to improve the combat readiness of the fleet,” he said.

“Doing this job is also the most fun I can have without being on a submarine because I can improve both our submarines and the lives of our sailors on a daily basis.”

Thomas took office on April 26, 2002, after graduating from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Michigan. A career submariner, he conducted sea excursions on four ships and also conducted shore excursions with the Department of Energy and at U.S. Strategic Command in Nebraska.

“In my experience on submarines, I have always been able to apply the teachings of Admiral Stockdale,” Thomas said.

“We can control our response to events and react calmly and win – something I often told my crews,” recalls Thomas, who noted how being approachable and humble in response to bad news is key to improvement. constant.

“Admiral Stockdale always said, ‘Never confuse the faith that you will eventually prevail – that you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to face the most brutal facts of your current reality’. which was a guiding principle for me during my command tour.

In an era challenged by increasing global strategic competition, American national security rests in the hands of leaders, like Thomas, who are skilled at shaping, developing, and advancing critical missions. SSP is built on a culture of excellence that leverages its people and empowers them to successfully design, develop, produce, maintain and operate its strategic capabilities into the future.

“I am proud of the work Adam has done throughout his career in support of the critical mission of strategic deterrence at sea,” the SSP Deputy Director said. Adm. Johnny R. Wolfe Jr.

“The SSP is privileged to have such quality leaders in its ranks who ardently support our efforts to modernize strategic weapons systems – with visionary leadership – that help us counter emerging and future threats.

Recently celebrating his 67th birthdaye anniversary, SSP is immersed in the efforts necessary to support the next generation of SBSD operations as it begins development of the Trident II D5LE2 missile system. The modernized missile system will be deployed on the Columbia-class SSBN from Hull 9, and initial work has begun to ensure the D5LE2 system is ready to meet the requirements in time.

“The SSBN is the most powerful warship ever created,” Thomas said.

“We face new challenges as we deploy the Columbia class and D5LE2. What makes us the greatest submarine force in the world is our ability to adapt quickly and overcome challenges.

Along with other SSP leaders, Thomas is ready to take on high-stakes responsibility as an agent of change within the organization and the Navy. Adm. Gilday, underscored the character of such a leader during Thursday’s awards ceremony with a closing note on the courage of each winner.

“Communicate fearlessly up your chain of command, be honest with the sailors who work for you, the Marines who work for you, and be willing to accept their feedback, while having the courage to make decisions for yourself in difficult situations. — you have to be able to separate what is important from what is urgent.

“Only the commander can separate the two and make those decisions. These two did it.

More photos from the event are available here.