YOKOSUKA, Japan - A U.S. 7th Fleet Staff officer was among the 2019 Copernicus Award recipients.
7th Fleet Communications Officer Lt. Christopher R. Jennings, from Joplin, Missouri, a prior enlisted Sailor who ascended through the ranks to become a Chief Petty Officer before being commissioned, has served 22 years in the U.S. Navy. His diverse experiences serving and working with Sailors as part of the Navy team is what he describes as the pillars of technical expertise.
The Copernicus Award recognizes individual contributions to Naval Warfare in the disciplines of Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I), Information Systems or Information Warfare (IW).
As Fleet Communications Officer at 7th Fleet Staff, Jennings was chosen for the award based on his sustained superior performance in a C4I/IT-related job. He led a team that “Coordinated the efforts of about 100 communicators throughout the fleet in order to ensure that we have IT services and communication, ensuring they all have what they need to succeed,” said Jennings.
The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) and the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) selected Jennings as one of 17 individuals from across the Department of Defense to receive this award.
”What we do directly supports the mission by giving the decision makers; the admiral, and the commanders, the tools they need to command and control, both above, below, and across the force,” said Jennings.
Naval communications is not easy. It takes a team to make it successful. The ships, task forces, and the fleets are all working extremely hard and awards like the Copernicus Award recognizes the whole team’s effort, Jennings said.
“Winning such a prestigious award shows that he has the proven skill set, knowledge and ability to excel as a leader in the Information Warfare Community at large,” said Capt. Tracy Hines, 7th Fleet N6, assistant chief of staff. “Lt. Jennings is at the forefront of Information Warfare Leadership and innovation to ensure we succeed in the community, in the future.”
Early in January Jennings, and other Department of Defense awardees were flown to San Diego and recognized for their contributions at an awards reception and presentation ceremony held during the AFCEA/USNI WEST 2019 conference in the San Diego Convention Center.
Moving forward, Jennings recommends Sailors try to raise their level of performance by making sure, first, that they understand their role, or position in the organization and how to fit into it, and secondly, urging Sailors to perform to the best of their ability. “Know your job, cross train other people in what you do, then move on to other things to help raise the level of the organization,” said Jennings.
“We are so proud of Lt. Jennings and this is no surprise to me, he has served in several billets within the N6 Directorate to include acting N6,” said Hines. “He excels in any endeavor and I look forward to his future success as a naval officer.”