Two female acquisition officers to get second star
September 6, 2011
By Kris Osborn
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 1, 2011) -- Two female general officers have been tapped for promotion to the rank of major general by virtue of their many accomplishments, dedication to Soldiers and commitment to Army excellence.
"The fact that they are accomplished in their respective fields is the key point. They just happen to be women Soldiers," said Heidi Shyu, acting assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology. "Both of them have done tremendously well in their careers. Talking to both of them, you realize their dedication and their focus on doing the right thing for Soldiers."
Brig. Gen. Camille M. Nichols, Program Executive Officer-Soldier, and Brig. Gen. N. Lee S. Price, Program Executive Officer-Command, Control and Communications-Tactical, were nominated for promotion by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta in June.
The accomplishments of these two female generals are a testament to core Army values of excellence and diversity, said Lt. Gen. Bill Phillips, the military deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Acquisition, Logistics and Technology.
Phillips praised Nichols' ongoing work to harness technologies to provide improved Soldier protection and also cited Price's outstanding work with the Afghan Mission Network, a communications apparatus set up in Afghanistan to foster data sharing across the coalition.
"Both of them represent our acquisition corps with distinction," Phillips said. "They are disciplined, they are driven and they are mission-oriented."
Shyu, a distinguished female Army leader herself, praised Nichols for her work to get technologies quickly in the hands of Soldiers and acknowledged Price's work on the effort to streamline operational and intelligence information systems.
Nichols has embodied values of Army excellence throughout numerous leadership positions during her career. A graduate of West Point in 1981, Nichols has more than twenty years of experience in Department of Defense acquisition.
"I enlisted in the Army to 'be all that I could be', and I have been both blessed and amazed by the institution's ability to see potential in me and provide me the opportunity to work with and for such great people," Nichols said. "I am honored and humbled to be in this position and am committed to serve our Army and work tirelessly to honor the memory of those who have sacrificed so much for our country."
As the PEO Soldier, Nichols has been immersed in a range of key developmental programs such as the Improved Carbine competition, Individual Gunshot Detection, body armor technologies and ongoing efforts to lighten the load Soldiers carry in theater.
"Our Army is the best in the world because of our outstanding Soldiers," said Nichols. "I value the opportunity to help ensure our Soldiers remain dominant, decisive and lethal on the battlefield. My dedication to help protect our Soldiers, who are our strength and our purpose, is unwavering."
Nichols enlisted in the United States Army in 1975 from her hometown of Niagara Falls, New York.
An effective leader is one who inspires individuals to excel as a team member, Price said.
"For me, it has always been about the team," Price said. "I truly believe that if you take care of people, then the people will take care of the mission. The mission comes first and it is the number one thing that we are judged by. But it takes people -- the Army is people."
Price, has spent 36 years in the Army, and is the only female selected for the rank of general officer while serving the special operations community.
Recently as the PEO C3T, Price has been managing the acquisition and development of a host of key communications programs and emerging technologies. Her office was heavily involved in successfully integrating technologies for the recent network integration exercise this past July, where six programs were placed under formal test and as many as 29 emerging technologies were evaluated from a system-of-systems perspective.
Price began her military career in 1975 as a private first class in the Alabama National Guard. After being commissioned through Officer Candidate School, she was transferred to the Signal Corps. She entered active duty in October 1981.
Early on in her military career, Price thrived knowing she could excel by supporting those who relied upon her.
"The ability to help others achieve their dreams and reach their potential really hooked me," she said.
Price's roots have always remained planted in the Army's core values -- the foundation for a Soldier's career.
"It is the core values that got us here, so we have been able to build off of that successfully for our entire career," she said. "I can tell you that every general officer has this in common: it's not about us, it's about what we can do in the position, the lives we can touch and how we can enrich Soldiers' lives, so they can go on to greater service."
_Army Female Role Models_
Both Shyu and Phillips praised the individual merit of the two generals while also pointing out that, not too long ago, there were not as many women general officers in the Army ranks.
"What's important to know is they didn't get a lower bar to jump over. They met the same bar and they have succeeded in their careers as a result of it," said Shyu, who pointed out that there were not as many female leaders when she began her own career.
In fact, in 1990 there were only four female GO's in the entire Army. Last year, there were 44. Today, there are six female major generals on active duty in the Army, two lieutenant generals and one general. The National Guard has two female two-stars and the Army Reserve has one female two-star.
(Kris Osborn writes for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology)