TULSA, Okla. - 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.

"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.

"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.