Future civilian leaders hear from senior executives

Future civilian leaders hear from senior executives

Looking to the future of the Army it is critical for the people who fill senior executive leadership positions have the training and skills to ensure strategic priorities are met.

That’s what the Defense Acquisition University’s Senior Service College Fellowship program is all about, according to fellow Wade McCollin, from the Program Executive Office for Intelligence Electronic Warfare and Sensors.

“As acquisition professionals, the knowledge we have gained as leaders will facilitate our ability to go forth and serve in positions of greater responsibility. Additionally, we will carry forward a broader perspective, at the senior leadership level, on how we can make sure organizations are best postured to support the Army enterprise and strategic priorities over the next 10 to 15 years,” McCollin said.

McCollin and Misty Glover, from the Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, are among this year’s eight fellows from Huntsville. The purpose of SSCF is to provide leadership and acquisition training to prepare senior level civilians for leadership roles such as product and project manager, program executive officer and other key acquisition leadership positions.

After six months in the program, Friday their knowledge and skills were put to the test when they met with members of the Senior Executive Service from Redstone Arsenal for a Senior Leader Forum and Placement Panel. Each fellow gave a presentation and engaged with SES leadership as they work toward preparing for the next phase of their careers.

“To have all of our leaders in one room, interact with them as a means of understanding their experiences, and to have them ask questions, will make us better leaders,” Glover said. “I believe it will make the Army better and the Redstone community better.”

Glover and McCollin stressed the importance of the meeting.

“The leaders who are here today are looking at us to see if we are at a point, from an Army enterprise perspective, to have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to be able to go forth and take on a senior leadership role focused on accomplishing value-added work towards the Army enterprise priorities,” McCollin said. “That’s why they are here and that is what expected of us.”

The annual meeting is a milestone in the 10-month graduate-level program, the only civilian fellowship approved by the Army focused for the acquisition workforce.

“The program teaches us about ourselves, others and then also how we can make the biggest difference to contribute and to field equipment to our warfighters,” Glover said. “We have learned from each other, which is a critical piece not just for those of us in Huntsville, but also our Aberdeen, Picatinny and Detroit brothers and sisters in acquisitions. We have all gained a network that allows us to reach out and learn from each others lessons and experiences.”

Glover and McCollin agreed that the fellowship is an experience “you won’t get anywhere else.”

They recommend any future senior leader take the course because they will learn the importance of the three pillars — strategy, acquisition and leadership — and how to be effective in each area.

The current class of fellows graduates in May and includes Craig Bergquist from Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space; John Holdcraft Jr. from Program Executive Office for Aviation; Paul Lupo from Aviation and Missile Command’s Security Assistance Management Directorate; Jeannie Sommer from CCDC Aviation & Missile Center; Kadee Waterbury from Defense Acquisition University; George Wiggs from CCDC Aviation & Missile Center; Glover and McCollin.

Applications for the 2020-2021 program are currently being accepted. Deadline is March 25. For more information and a complete list of requirements, visit www.dau.edu/training/