Three years ago, Lt. Jake Lunday’s wife bought him a 3D printer for Christmas. The first time it proved to be useful was when the family’s carpet cleaner broke. Instead of buying a new one, he was able to reverse engineer the part that failed, print a replacement, and install it — all within an hour. It was an event that not only secured support from his wife on his new hobby, it also was the beginning of a career shaping interest.
As a civilian, Lunday is a director of manufacturing engineering in the food and beverage industry and in the Navy Reserve, he is an engineering duty officer with the Deputy Chief of Naval Operation for Fleet Readiness and Logisitics in Norfolk, Virginia. So, it was no surprise for his wife when her husband expressed interest in learning about 3D printing.
“It was meant to augment my small hobby machine shop in the garage,” Lunday said. “However, it quickly became my preferred piece of equipment for projects.”
As a manufacturing engineer, Lunday has seen how additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, has begun to reshape the traditional ways of manufacturing.
“The technology brings the ability to rapid prototype, quickly deliver equipment repairs, and improve designs,” Lunday said.
With his newfound skillset, Lunday decided to include the information online under his “My Civilian Skills” profile on the Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System. The Navy Reserve saw the update and immediately wanted to put his skills to use. He has since taken orders to assist Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, Naval Sea Systems Command, and Naval Air Systems Command with 3D printing projects.
“I’ve been fortunate to be plugged into so many exciting projects,” Lunday said. “The civilian skillsets database definitely enabled me to provide support and I am grateful the Navy Reserve team is embracing the pairing of civilian skillsets with our military roles.”
Lt. Cmdr. James Tilden, the Navy Reserve assistant director for personnel policy, says over the past year the Navy Reserve has seen a large increase in demand from units requesting Sailors with specific skills.
Through the database of civilian skills, commands have been able to easily identify Reserve Sailors who have the needed skills and who are willing to step in and fill the role. They have called up Sailors like Cmdr. Brian Hall, who works in cyber assessments in his civilian job and volunteered for orders assessing the cybersecurity of aircraft carriers, and Lt. Cmdr. Rob Liu, who leveraged his background as a data scientist to lead in the development, planning, assessment and accountability efforts with the newly established Digital Warfare Office — a unique in-house capability that would normally need to be contracted out.
Whether an IT programmer, first responder, business owner or licensed professional, the Navy has long benefited from the civilian expertise of Reserve Sailors, according to Tilden. “The My Civilian Skills site is an important part of continuing to develop the holistic way we retrieve critical civilian skills that can be leveraged toward a dynamic total force impact,” he said.
The desire to employ Reservists according to their expertise is a balancing act of sorts as DoD policy prohibits the involuntary mobilization or activation of Reserve Sailors based on civilian skills. But Tilden says the balance is necessary.
“The information is important because it delineates critical civilian skills that could be outside one’s rate or designator and may be essential in support of national disasters or civil unrest,” he said.
But for Lunday, he sees the Navy’s desire to account for the civilian expertise available in their midst as an opportunity to put his skills and interests to good use.
“The civilian skillset database is an incredible tool for Reservists to get plugged into active duty projects. I strongly recommend continuing to build this program since it provides incredible value to the Navy and provides great opportunities to the Sailors.”
Navy Reserve Sailors can enter their civilian skills and expertise online on the Civilian Employment Information portal on NSIPS at: https://nsipsprod-sdni.nmci.navy.mil <https://nsipsprod-sdni.nmci.navy.mil/> . From the NSIPS Main Menu navigate to Electronic Service Record/Tasks/My Civilian Skills.