January 18, 2019

Johnson Is Keynote at Winter Commencement

Winter Commencement

Ashley Johnson, technical director of the Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division, will be the keynote speaker for the 19th Winter Commencement at the College of Southern Maryland on Jan. 18, 2018. CSM will recognize candidates for degrees and certificates at the La Plata Campus in the PE Building.

Mr. Johnson directs a multi-site workforce of about 1,900 employees with annual operations of more than $1 billion. His message to graduates will highlight the value of failure in the learning process, he said.

“My advice is this: Don’t be afraid to fail. Expect failure. Embrace it. But most importantly, learn from it. I believe there is just as much knowledge in failure as there is in success,” he said.

The college and NSWC in Indian Head have strengthened their bonds this past year, partly by moving forward with plans to open the Velocity Center in Indian Head, a partnership that will offer opportunities for CSM students to work with and learn from world-class scientists at NSWC. CSM has been associated with Indian Head since 1960, when an apprentice program was first established at the Naval Ordnance Station, Indian Head. The close association has continued throughout the college’s history.

“The collaboration between the College of Southern Maryland and my command to establish the Velocity Center in the town of Indian Head, Maryland, was extraordinary,” Mr. Johnson said. “One of the challenges I face as technical director is the speed of the government’s acquisition cycle. Developing a new technology and getting it into the hands of the warfighter is an incredibly long and sometimes arduous process. … The Velocity Center will help speed up that process, while proving other incredible benefits to the command, the college and the community.

Mr. Johnson’s division leads the US Department of Navy in providing energetics, ordnance and EOD technical capabilities for all DoD interests through research, development, testing, evaluation, engineering, manufacturing and in-service support. He began his career in 1987 at the former NSWC Indian Head Division and spent the next 12 years managing the command’s manufacturing operations for missile, torpedo and projectile warhead production. From 1999 to 2001, he managed and directed facilities and personnel within the command’s Surface Weapons and Ammunition Program. Mr. Johnson served as the Navy’s official spokesman for the scale-up and production of nitramine gun propellants during the Gulf War.

From 2006 to 2012, Mr. Johnson served as the department head for the Office of Naval Research’s Hybrid Complex Warfare Science Division, where he managed and directed the integration of a science and technology program consisting of basic and applied research, advanced technology development and other efforts. He also served as the applications director in the Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism S&T Department, where he oversaw both the Future Naval Capability and Exploration and Development programs.

His other assignments included a tour as the S&T adviser at US Marine Corps Forces Pacific, where he served with the US Marine Corps Forces Central Command to include a deployment with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Commencement Details

CSM’s winter commencement activities Jan. 18 will start with the Nursing Recognition Ceremony at 1 pm in the Physical Education Center on the La Plata Campus, followed by a reception. The commencement ceremony will begin at 6 pm in the PE Center and tickets are required. Ticketholders are encouraged to arrive at least 30 minutes before the ceremony begins.

For those who wish to see the ceremony but do not have a ticket, video will be live streamed in the Fine Arts Center.

In the event of inclement weather, a decision will be announced and posted at www.csmd.edu if commencement activities will be held on an alternate date. Graduates and guests may also call the inclement weather hotline at 301-369-1999 or 800-650-4023.

For information on commencement, visit CSM’s website.

For more about the College of Southern Maryland, visit its Leader member page.

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