Robert J. Bianchi Receives DoD Distinguished Civilian Service Award


Bianchi was honored in a ceremony with Lisa W. Hershman, deputy chief management officer of the DoD, and Robert L. Woods, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for manpower and Reserve affairs. –photo by Darrell Hudson

Retired Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi, chief executive officer of the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) and Department of Defense (DoD) special assistant to ASD (M&RA) for Commissary Operations was honored with the DoD Distinguished Civilian Service Award at the 64th Annual Distinguished Civilian Service Award ceremony held at the Pentagon on Nov. 14.

Bianchi was recognized for his ongoing exceptional efforts and unparalleled leadership across two global organizations, the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) and the NEXCOM Enterprise, which has a combined global workforce of 29,000 employees and annual budget of $10 billion. He continues to serve in both roles and remains committed to their missions.

“I am honored to have received this award on behalf of all the personnel who work for both NEXCOM and DeCA,” said Bianchi. “I feel very fortunate that the work we continue to do each and every day directly impacts the quality of life for our service members and their families around the world. I’m excited for the opportunities that lie ahead as we continue to cultivate new ideas and bring our deserving customer the benefits they’ve earned.”

Bianchi has grown NEXCOM’s eCommerce business by 20% through stronger online penetration, overseas sales focus, a ship-to-store program, investment in key brands and enhanced and targeted digital marketing. His ability to leverage technology to improve the customer experience resulted in a 43% increase in social media engagements, a 38% increase in online accounts and 42% growth in email listings. Additionally, under his leadership, NEXCOM has contributed more than $269 million to Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR), with over $56.1 million being contributed since 2017.

As the current DOD special assistant for commissary operations, Bianchi is credited with leading the agency that provides a commissary benefit for an estimated 5.4 million authorized recipients. Commissary patrons echoed the benefit’s value when they responded to a Consumer Reports readership survey that ranked commissaries among the best grocery retailers in the USA. Commissaries received stellar marks for competitiveness of prices, store cleanliness and variety of international products. They were also noted for checkout speed, meat and poultry quality and store brand quality. Bianchi’s leadership enabled the commissary to increase patron savings from 23.7% to 26% in the third quarter of FY 2019.

The DoD Distinguished Civilian Service Award is the highest recognition DoD can award an employee. It is presented to a small number of civilian employees whose careers reflect exceptional devotion to duty and significant contributions of broad scope in policy, scientific, technical or administrative fields that increase effectiveness and efficiency.