Charter class of Army senior fellows to graduate
July 24, 2009
ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, July 24, 2009) -- With the July 31 graduation of 19 senior fellows, the Army marks completion of its premier initiative to enhance the executive skills of senior civilians in a two-year tailor-made education and experience program.
The graduation of the first class of Army Senior Fellows shows that the Army is "serious about preparing civilians to lead in this era of persistent conflict," said Raymond T. Horoho, executive director of the Civilian Senior Leader Development Office.
In addition, the Army has benefited from the fellows serving in positions of great responsibility and challenge - grooming and molding the agile and interchangeable leaders the Army needs, he said.
The Army Senior Fellows Program, initiated in 2007 by the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of the Army, provides an intense regimen of education, executive leadership assignments and mentoring.
The program strengthens participants' executive core qualifications and grooms candidates for senior leadership positions. To supplement the professional experiences, fellows are offered educational opportunities at institutions such as the Industrial College of Armed Forces, Army War College, Naval War College and Tufts-Fletcher University.
While the Army has demonstrated end-to-end commitment to the development of senior civilians, the charter class of Army senior fellows found ways to give back.
During her executive assignment, senior fellow Lisa Shaler-Clark was able to assist in standing up a new organization - from the "painful logistical minutia" to the "honor of transforming the strategic vision of the secretary of the Army into an operation." Serving as deputy to the executive director of the Civilian Senior Leader Development Office, Shaler-Clark credits her leadership experience with helping her gain insight into the challenges and opportunities of collaborating with key players on the Army staff.
"I appreciated the opportunity to build a community of future senior leaders for the Army and the Department of Defense," she said. "We had so much to offer each other - and we all became better collaborators."
As her tenure as a senior fellow draws to a close, Shaler-Clark is taking doctoral courses with plans to complete a Base Realignment and Closure project retirement model. Her work examines how Army civilians expect to retire - taking into account variables such as changing economic factors and housing prices. With her doctoral work funded by the Fellows program, Shaler-Clark is excited about being able to give back to the Army through the valuable information that her research provides.
"Giving back" is often what senior fellows try to do, as they are given unique leadership opportunities, usually into uncharted terrain. Senior fellow Charles Fritz developed the first concept of operations for operational contract support while serving a developmental assignment with the logistics directorate of the Joint Staff (J4).
During his second leadership assignment as a fellow at the Headquarters, Department of the Army, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (G4), Fritz helped pave the way for a revamped "reset" process, cutting 20 percent off the time it had taken to return units and equipment from Iraq.
For some fellows, the unknown territory they explore can be a project with another government agency. Senior Fellow David Williams served an executive assignment with the Department of Energy, where his responsibility was to assess how DOE meets its customers' needs. Through a reshaping of business processes and coordination with customers - including the Department of Defense - Williams said he ultimately generated more business for DOE.
The success of this first Army Senior Fellows class has allowed for two more classes of fellows, selected in 2008 and 2009 - which will sustain the Army's bench of diverse and interchangeable senior leaders, said Bobbie Galford, acting executive director for the program.
Four members of the Army Senior Fellows charter class have already accepted offers for Senior Executive Service positions. Galford said she expects the entire class of graduates to be placed in senior leadership positions by the end of August.
"It is so great to see the Civilian Senior Leader Development Office move from an entrepreneurial startup to a fully capable organization," Shaler-Clark said. "So much was accomplished in the space of just two years. It is amazing."
(Ashley Jordan serves in the Civilian Senior Leader Development Office)