By Kari HawkinsFebruary 12, 2018
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- When John Dugan was notified of his induction into the Army Materiel Command's Hall of Fame, it reminded him of the leaders and mentors he worked with during his 35-year career.
"I started thinking about all the leaders who influenced me and all the great leaders from the past whose contributions continue to move AMC forward," he said. "You have to know your history and the contributions of people through history to truly understand the organization."
For Dugan, his Feb. 6 induction at AMC headquarters is not only an honor for him, but also for those who mentored and worked with him. He retired in 2008 as the deputy to the commander of the Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, ending an Army civilian career that began as a trainee at the Red River Intern Training Center, Texas, and continued, briefly, in Kuwait after retirement.
"I actually retired twice," Dugan said, with a chuckle. "After my retirement, Lieutenant General (James) Pillsbury called me back a few months later as the deputy of the Responsible Reset Task Force. I served for about 16 months from the task force headquarters at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, and traveled throughout places like Qatar and Bahrain as we withdrew equipment from Iraq, and provided equipment to Afghanistan."
Ensuring the right equipment at the right time for Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines defines Dugan's civilian career. In his TACOM role, Dugan led contracting, logistics, depot maintenance and manufacturing operations in support of Army ground and support systems. He oversaw 21,000 employees at nine major locations and 79 smaller locations.
His most critical duty was to ensure that the entire spectrum of resources available to the TACOM community were focused on providing the highest levels of readiness for TACOM equipment used by deployed forces and to ensure reset of each unit's equipment upon return from deployment.
But Dugan's focus on improving TACOM capabilities began well before his deputy commander role. In the mid-1990s, he was instrumental in standing up TACOM's Integrated Materiel Management Center as a way to integrate acquisition, logistics and technology.
"We broke down functional stove pipes in the logistical community. We developed fully integrated teams for supply and maintenance, and co-located these teams with product lines within the program executive offices and program management offices," Dugan said.
Building teams was the foundation for the integration and synchronization within the TACOM life cycle management command. The team framework initiative resulted in a sound Soldier and ground systems management strategy; strong public and private partnering; and a continuous improvement culture throughout the command.
Dugan received a 2009 Presidential Rank Award for leading the successful fielding of more than 29,000 tactical wheeled vehicles, returning more than 45,000 pieces of Army equipment, including 800 combat vehicles, to optimal condition after redeployment. Using the discipline and continuous improvement philosophy of Lean Six Sigma, Dugan reduced redundant operations, and improved the quality and timeliness of products while reducing direct costs and overhead. His efforts to incorporate Lean Six Sigma into every business aspect within TACOM garnered more than $125 million in validated cost savings/avoidance during fiscal 2008 alone.
When he wasn't working on TACOM's logistical challenges, Dugan focused on the strategic management of human resources, incorporating upward mobility intern programs, minority co-op programs and a veterans outreach program as well as a Senior Service College Fellows program that meets Defense Acquisition University requirements and provides a master's degree in global leadership.
"We wanted to spread leadership skills across the broad spectrum of TACOM," Dugan said. "When you look at the history of government service, there was a time when, due to budget reductions, we didn't really have a continuous flow of employees moving up into leadership positions. We wanted to develop leaders with a more global vision that could carry TACOM into the future."
Although the TACOM enterprise involved leading a $32.9 billion operation and maintenance program for the Army, Dugan never lost sight of the Army's true asset - the people who make up its workforce and its fighting force.
"I always wanted to make sure the workforce understood how their actions contributed to the joint warfighter," Dugan said. "The true benchmark is if what you do on a daily basis has a positive impact on the joint warfighter.
"The question I always asked myself when I left work was 'Did the decisions I made today have a positive influence on Soldiers?' At Red River Army Depot, they have Soldier silhouettes posted with the saying 'Build it like your life depends on it. Theirs does.' We all need to think the same way. We need to make decisions like our life depends on it."