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Initiative and Ingenuity Define This Enlisted Innovator

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By DON Innovation

U.S. Special Operations Command Emblem

U.S. Special Operations Command Emblem U.S. Special Operations Command Emblem U.S. Special Operations Command Emblem

Many sailors can identify problems. Only a few can claim credit for solving one. And, it is rare is to find a service member who has proven the ability to not only do it, but repeat the feat multiple times.

SCPO Ronald B. Paddack is that sailor. As a seasoned veteran of 15 consecutive years in combat environments, SCPO Paddack is motivated in the need for greater operational impact on the battlefield. All of which provides him a unique perspective on the strengths and, more importantly, the gaps of America’s military capabilities.

Armed with a relentless pursuit to improve a current process or course of action, SCPO Paddack finds status quo to be unacceptable which drives his desire to innovate. Unintentionally, these qualities make him stand out from among his peers.

Last year, after seven years of hard work, SCPO Paddack completed two major development efforts culminating in advancing three groundbreaking, life-saving initiatives to near completion.

SCPO Paddack had the bold vision to employ additive manufacturing techniques, commonly known as 3D printing, which delivered two kinds of modular, extendable carbon-fiber tactical ladders. These lighter, more versatile tools enable forces to conduct operations more efficiently. The result was a more capable and effective fighting force who can plan a wider array of operations safely.

Three ongoing efforts include an advanced communications device, a maritime-based life-saving floatation device, and high-energy laser systems.

Paddack is well-versed in a variety of topics ranging from to operations, strategy, and policy. A student of classic U.S. Air Force Colonel John Boyd, SCPO Paddack
questions his surrounding identifying critical mission gaps and researching a of options in both government and commercial technologies.
Paddack is well-versed in a variety of topics ranging from to operations, strategy, and policy. A student of classic U.S. Air Force Colonel John Boyd, SCPO Paddack

In partnership with the Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), SCPO Paddack took the initiative to experiment with an innovative commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) communications device that could be modified for military application. Once completed, the concept will present special operators—and eventually general-purpose forces—with a less cumbersome and more personalized communications device.

In another effort, SCPO Paddack took it upon himself to find another COTS solution—a programmable, submersible life vest that could be adapted quickly and affordably to alleviate preventable maritime-based, life threatening issues. To accomplish this, SCPO Paddack modified the device’s software for military application. The vest is currently in prototyping and experimentation.

Additionally, SCPO Paddack developed a revolutionary concept of operation to utilize tactical ground and aviation-based high-energy laser systems. Collaborating with leading government labs and industry partners, SCPO Paddack delivered a fully-integrated tactical vehicle for operational assessment—a feat that many experts felt was not achievable.

SCPO Paddack’s has no plans to rest on his accomplishments and is already looking for the next opportunity to innovate and improve capabilities to assist the special operations community and the U.S. Navy.


SCPO Paddack was recognized with honorable mention for the 2016 Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Innovation Award in the Enlisted Innovator category.

The SECNAV Innovation Awards recognize the top innovators within the Department of the Navy (DON). Their accomplishments are remarkable and serve as inspiration for the Navy and Marine Corps to think boldly and solve the fleet and force’s most challenging problems.

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