Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and pay tribute to an outstanding public servant, Wilmot N. Summerall III, for his more than 33 years of service within the civilian leadership of the Department of Defense. It is my great pleasure to recognize his achievements and to thank him and his family for their service to the Navy and our nation.
Mr. Summerall began his public service as a mining engineer with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and is concluding his career as Executive Director for the Combatants Office, Program Executive Office, Ships, where he oversees one of the most complex acquisition portfolios in the Navy--including more than $36 billion in new construction programs, encompassing $16 billion currently under contract and $20 billion in future programming. Highly respected throughout the DoD acquisition community for his unsurpassed knowledge, unwavering perseverance, and the courage of his convictions, he leaves a long and lasting legacy to our nation--both through his unparalleled contributions to the strength and flexibility of our Navy's surface forces and through the generation of professionals that he has mentored during his time in federal service.
Mr. Summerall has a long and distinguished career of innovative thinking and aggressive execution of shipbuilding programs across the entire spectrum of naval shipbuilding. Since joining the federal service in 1978, which includes becoming a member of the Senior Executive Service in 2004, he has held a variety of key leadership roles, including senior positions with the Naval Sea Systems Command and the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Financial Management and Comptroller. A visionary leader and revered expert in the field of defense acquisition, Mr. Summerall has led the Navy's surface combatant shipbuilding activities through some of the most challenging and dynamic times of our modern Navy--with vision, insight, and determination. Challenged to help build the Surface Fleet of the future in a profoundly austere fiscal environment, he has worked relentlessly to foster support and understanding for leading edge ship programs at the highest levels of the Navy, Defense, and Congress. He truly leads by example, consistently compelled to do the right thing on behalf of our nation's Sailors and Marines--America's sons and daughters--who serve on the products he has tirelessly supported. His efforts have helped result in a monumental leap forward in the strength and capability of the Navy's current and future Surface Fleet.
In 2004, Mr. Summerall joined the Program Executive Office, Ships, where he played a critical role in defining and fielding the Navy's future Surface Fleet. During his tenure and as a result of his sound stewardship, the Navy has commissioned 19 surface combatants into the Fleet, including the nation's first two Littoral Combat Ships; restarted production of the Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) Class guided missile destroyers; and begun design and construction of the Navy's next generation destroyer, the Zumwalt (DDG 1000) Class. In 2011 alone, he oversaw contract awards and options for an additional 26 ships, valued at $12 billion. He has consistently encouraged innovation while driving implementation of best practices across his programs, resulting in the introduction of hybrid electric drive, common class-wide acquisition management processes, bold changes to acquisition strategies, major increases in design maturity, more efficient work sequencing, increased competition and smart buying practices. At the heart of his efforts has been a relentless drive to improve the strength, capability, and flexibility of our operating forces at the best possible value to the American public.
Mr. Summerall's contributions to our nation extend far beyond his material achievements and programmatic accomplishments. His unique ability to recognize talent and to foster respect and camaraderie throughout the workforce has had an enormous influence on our nation's next generation acquisition professionals and will continue to steer the course of our Navy well into the future.
Throughout his distinguished federal service career, Mr. Summerall has been honored with numerous awards for his service, including the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award, the Department of Defense Value Engineering Award and the Department of the Navy Competition and Procurement Excellence Award.
Mr. Summerall's tireless leadership and lifelong commitment to the Navy's shipbuilding capability have earned him the deep respect of his peers and shipmates throughout the Navy acquisition and fleet support communities. It is, therefore, a pleasure to recognize him for his many contributions in a life devoted to our nation's security. I know my colleagues join me in wishing him and his wife Linda much happiness and fair winds and following seas as they begin a new chapter in their lives together.
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