Corps of Engineers employee earns prestigious award for service in Ukraine

Col. Christopher A Hussin, Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District, presents Edward N. Johnson (center) the Meritorious Civilian Service Award for his performance while serving as a senior strategic communications advisor to Ukraine’s Minster of Defense from 2016 to 2017. Johnson’s father Harvey (left) was also in attendance during the ceremony. The Meritorious Civilian Service Award is the second highest award granted by the Secretary of the Army or a major Army commander to civilian personnel.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employee Edward N. Johnson was presented the Meritorious Civilian Service Award by Col. Christopher A Hussin here Sept. 12, for his accomplishments while deployed as a senior strategic communications advisor to the Ukrainian Minister of Defense from 2016 to 2017.

The Meritorious Civilian Service Award is the second highest award granted by the Secretary of the Army or a major Army commander to civilian personnel.

According to Dr. Coyt Hargus, a former Army Special Forces commander and Senior U.S. Defense Advisor in Ukraine, Johnson was well deserving of the award for his success in leading U.S. efforts to strengthen the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ strategic communication’s capacity to counter Russian-backed hybrid warfare operations.

Edward N. Johnson (fourth from the right, front) poses for a group photo with Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel and members of the local community in the City of Mangush, Ukraine, July 31, 2017, following a day of strategic communications training. The purpose of the event was to provide advice and assistance to Ukrainian military personnel on tactics and techniques to counter Russian-backed hybrid warfare operations in the region.

“Mr. Johnson provided outstanding support and strategic communications expertise to Ukraine’s Minister of Defense as well as members of their Presidential Administration and front-line commanders during his 12-month tour of duty in Ukraine,” said Hargus. “His tireless efforts and commitment to the mission had a direct impact in helping bolster Ukraine’s ability to defend its territorial integrity while combating Russian aggression in the information domain.”

Johnson, who has since returned to his stateside job as public affairs officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District, expressed great pride in being part of the advisory group sent to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Edward N. Johnson, Chief, Public Affairs, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District

“I couldn’t be more proud of the work we accomplished in partnership with our Ukrainian counterparts,” said Johnson. “It was a once in a lifetime experience and I would definitely encourage anyone considering a deployment to Ukraine to go for it.”

Since Johnson’s return from Ukraine, the U.S. Department of Defense announced it will provide an additional $200 million in security cooperation funds for training, equipment and advisory efforts to help build the defensive capacity of Ukraine’s armed forces.

This announcement reaffirms the long-standing defense relationship between the United States and Ukraine and brings the total U.S. security sector assistance to Ukraine to more than $1 billion since 2014.