By Ms. Kari Hawkins (AMCOM)March 20, 2017
While Col. Charles "Chuck" Worshim's career has been focused on the explosive capabilities of the Army's missile systems, he remains thankful for those in his family who concentrate on the softer things in life.
For as long as he can remember, Worshim's mother has been a quilter. Thanks to her Army son, she's also a collector of fabric from around the world.
"She told me early in my career, 'As you travel, your main job is to look for unique fabric for me and have it mailed back here so I can make quilts,'" said Worshim, a Texas native. "And, I've done my best to fulfill that mission."
Besides keeping mom happy, Worshim has spent his career fulfilling his mission as, first, an Air Defense Artillery officer and now as an Army Acquisition Corps officer. His work has brought him to Redstone Arsenal twice -- in 2007 to serve as the assistant product manager and chief of Ground Test Planning and Operations for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Project Office, Missile Defense Agency, and in the summer of 2016 as the project manager for the Cruise Missile Defense Systems Project Office, Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space.
"I definitely like being back. My family and I liked it here so much the first time, that my wife and son stayed here while I went on to assignments that took me to Orlando, Florida, two D.C. tours and Afghanistan," Worshim said.
"It was a family decision to keep them here. Sometimes it's not all about the Soldier, it's what's best for the family, and that might not always be packing up and moving on. Staying here meant stability for our son who was in the seventh grade when I left MDA and for my wife who has a career in her own right as an educator."
Fast forward, and son Michael is now at West Point and wife, Laura, has taken her career from working as the assistant principal at Grissom High School to now being the principal at McDonnell Elementary School. Worshim's older son Christopher lives in Texas.
And Worshim remains right where he wants to be -- a Soldier delivering warfighting capability in the way of missile systems to win the nation's wars.
"I've always been in this arena, whether on the operational side or the acquisition side," he said.
As project manager of CMDS, Worshim oversees an arsenal of short- and medium-range air defense systems, including Sentinel Radar, Stinger, Avenger and the Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2-Intercept (IFPC INC 2-I).
CMDS systems protect U.S. forces, and coalition and NATO partners against enemy cruise missiles, unmanned aircraft systems, rotary and fixed wing threats, and rockets, mortars and artillery projectiles. Its employees work closely with U.S. forces in the Pacific Command, Central Command, Northern Command and European Command as well as the National Capital Region, and partner with the Aviation and Missile Engineering, Research and Development Center as well as Letterkenny Army Depot, Pennsylvania, and McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, Oklahoma.
"It is a wide ranging portfolio with all the systems contributing to protecting the nation's interests. Right now, though, the Multi-Mission Launcher, which is part of IFPC INC 2-I, is one of our rising stars. It is a new addition to the family and is getting most of the attention right now," Worshim said.
MML is a ground-based air defense launcher that uses existing interceptors, sensors, and command and control to provide 360-degree protection against multiple threats from different azimuths. IFPC INC 2-I just completed its Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction Phase and will move to the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development Phase at the end of 2017.
"We are also focused on milestones with Sentinel radar upgrades, Stinger maneuver short-range air defense capability and the Avenger weapon system," Worshim said. "Our systems span from development all the way to sustainment. Traditionally, you don't get that in a project office, but this project office spans the breadth of the acquisition cycle."
Worshim, who grew up in an Army family and was commissioned as an Army officer in 1992, has been in the acquisition field for 15 of his 25 years of service. He has served with the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas; the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade at Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and the Operational Test Command, Fort Hood.
Between his two assignments at Redstone Arsenal, Worshim served as the product manager of the Combat Training Instrumentation Systems Product Office in Orlando, Florida; as chief of Programs and Analysis in the Deputy Under Secretary of the Army's Office for Test and Evaluation; and as the director of the Contracting Enabler Cell for the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan. In this capacity, he was focused on national procurement reform for the Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces.
"I've been given the opportunity to serve as an operational tester, a requirements developer, an assistant product manager and a product manager. My assignments have created a great breadth of exposure," Worshim said. "But, today, I only look forward to coming to this office and interacting with the workforce and pushing forward with the mission. I'm here to serve the Army in whatever capacity."
Just as Worshim's professional goals have developed since his commissioning, he hopes to assist CMDS's 250 employees in achieving their goals.
"Because our project office is so broad in scope, it allows me the flexibility to develop the workforce through the different projects we manage. The workforce has got to be developed so they understand everything across the life cycle," Worshim said. "We have limited personnel resources. We don't have the luxury to bring on more employees with different skill sets. So, we want to grow and develop from within."
That goal shouldn't be difficult in a project office where employees are known for their innovative, cutting-edge technology, missile system ingenuity, and goal-oriented, high performing capability.
CMDS's employees are "committed to the work they do to provide Warfighter capability to our Soldiers," Worshim said. "I want them to know I am accessible, and that I encourage frank and candid conversation. I believe the workforce appreciates and respects that."
Worshim encourages employees to participate in their career and professional development by seeking out opportunities that challenge their capabilities and give them a level of personal satisfaction.
"When employees feel that leadership cares where their careers are going, they become more productive, and exhibit the creativity and critical thinking that you want in your workforce," he said. "To have actively engaged employees, you have to provide opportunity, experience and exposure. To grow and develop this organization, we have to grow and develop our employees."
The CMDS mission, Worshim said, is challenged by the unpredictable budgeting situation and the current continuing resolution authority that the Army is operating under, which does not allow new investment in system development.
"The continuing resolution makes it difficult to take our projects to the next level. It doesn't afford us the flexibility to accelerate or stay on the glide path we would like to stay on for program execution," he said.
"Our work doesn't go away. It gets pushed out further. Our programs have to re-plan and try to get funds for activities in later years that they are supposed to be doing now. Every project manager is challenged, but we also have the requirement to deliver. The delivery dates for capability never change."
Nevertheless, Worshim said the CMDS workforce continues to manage development and acquisition of funded requirements.
"I'm impressed with the commitment of this workforce," he said. "They know what our mission is. They know what we're here to do and the importance of what we do. I couldn't be more proud to be affiliated with an organization. CMDS leads the way."