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McKenna takes DoD's top honor

Jason McKenna

Jason McKenna

Dr. Jason McKenna, a senior research geophysicist in the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory (GSL) at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, has been named a recipient of the 54th-annual Department of Defense (DoD) Distinguished Civilian Service Award. The award is the highest given by DoD to civilian career employees who make significant contributions to the Defense Department.

McKenna was cited for significant contributions to the safety and welfare of defense personnel worldwide from Aug. 2005 though March 2009.  His research and development of products for detecting and defeating clandestine tunneling have ensured security at America’s borders and helped protect the interests of U.S. government assets and allies worldwide. He also helped improve sensor/armor efficacy against improvised explosive devices.

McKenna is the technical manager for the first-ever DoD and Department of Homeland Security co-sponsored Joint Capability Technology Demonstration, “Rapid Reaction Tunnel Detection and Defeat.”

A 14-year ERDC employee, McKenna has a bachelor’s from the University of California Santa Barbara and a master’s and doctorate from Southern Methodist University, all in geophysics. Past awards for McKenna include the Department of the Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service, the Department of the Army Superior Civilian Service Award, multiple ERDC Performance Awards, the ERDC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Technology Transfer, the ERDC Award for Excellence in Operational Support and the ERDC Herbert Vogel Award for Scientist of the Year. He was also a repeat winner of the student-voted Southern Methodist University Rotunda Professor of the Year.


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