NSIN’s Director of Operations received the Army Civilian Service Achievement Medal in recognition of his servant leadership in defense innovation.

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and the Department of the Army recently awarded Matt Merighi, National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) Director of Operations, with the Army Civilian Service Achievement Medal for his contributions to the Massachusetts National Guard (MANG) and ARL.

Brig. Gen. Pete Green, MANG Guard Assistant Adjutant General-Air, and Brig. Gen. John Driscoll, MANG Land Component Commander- co-chairs of MANG’s Innovation Team (MANGIT)- presented Merighi with the medal at a ceremony on March 6, 2022, recognizing his work helping Massachusetts become one the leading states in innovation for the National Guard.

“His direct support accelerated MANGIT’s work to identify and implement creative solutions and boosted the Commonwealth to one of the top two states in the entire National Guard demonstrating exemplary innovative initiatives,” said Maj. John Macuga, member of MANGIT. “Mr. Merighi’s stellar coordination with MANGIT and regional partners exemplify NSIN’s mission in action.”

Merighi Honored by the Army for Innovation Leadership

From left to right: Brig. Gen. Green, Matt Merighi, and Brig. Gen. Driscoll.

Over the last two years, Merighi advanced the National Guard’s only state-level innovation competition, MANG’s Patriot Pitch. These pitches generated 20 innovative ideas from MANG soldiers and airmen to increase collaboration between DoD partners and solve national security problems in new ways. For example, one soldier presented a solution for 3-D printing capabilities at MANG.

Merighi assisted in implementing this idea through the National Guard Bureau’s Additive Manufacturing Tech Hub and also through collaboration with the Army Future Command’s 75th Innovation Command. Merighi’s efforts for this soldier’s idea contributed to MANG receiving a 3-D printer, valued at nearly $150,000, through an Air National Guard ARCWERX proposal. This printer now helps lower the cost and time of producing training equipment for the Army, freeing resources to invest elsewhere.

The award also recognized Merighi’s servant leadership in building trust and partnerships between the DoD, academia, and venture communities. His zeal for helping others led three graduate students to participate in internships with senior leaders at MANG and bring fresh ideas and approaches to solve Army obstacles. Some students’ research and recommendations found ways MANG could provide additional health coverage to over 800 soldiers who were either uninsured or underinsured. Another student’s analysis informed senior leaders on transitioning a project from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to MANG for the Kenya Defense Forces through the State Partnership Program.

In addition, the commendation acknowledged Merighi’s work building a community amongst DoD mission partners and shared opportunities to highlight their efforts. At a regional innovation meeting in Massachusetts for the National Guard Bureau J8’s, Merighi impressed the J8’s with a successful forum for NSIN, ARL-Northeast, Defense Innovation Unit, and Department of the Air Force/Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Accelerator leaders to showcase their joint-initiatives occurring across New England.

About NSIN

The National Security Innovation Network is a program of the U.S. Department of Defense that collaborates with major universities and the venture community to develop solutions that drive national security innovation. We operate three portfolios of programs and services: National Service, Collaboration, and Acceleration. Together, these portfolios form a pipeline of activities and solutions that accelerate the pace of defense innovation.

About the Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service

The Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service honors contributions made by civilians or qualifying foreign nationals in support of military forces. Determination of eligibility rests with commanders but generally entails the performance of courageous acts in the event of an emergency on behalf of the government; work in the field of public relations or communications to portray the Armed Forces in a positive light; evidence of strong leadership qualities to enhance the overall performance of a unit; contributions resulting in improved protocols, procedures, or equipment; or general exemplary conduct in all duties.