By Devon L. SuitsMarch 12, 2018
WASHINGTON -- Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper officially welcomed Bruce D. Jette back to the Army during a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony Friday at the Pentagon.
Jette was officially sworn in as the assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology in early January. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and served in the Army for 28 years.
The Army's secretary said Jette's experience in uniform will inform his role as the service's senior acquisition official.
"[Dr. Bruce Jette] comes in understanding the importance of what we do in the Army," Esper said.
"He has children and relatives who are in the fight. He knows how important it is to send them out as well prepared as possible. He is someone who is reform-minded, and he takes a look at something and focuses on the outcome of the product, not the process," Esper said.
Blessed to have the opportunity to serve once again, Jette got emotional as he thanked his wife and family for being the foundation on which he stands. Jette also thanked everyone that helped prepare him for the long road that lies ahead.
In his new role as ASA(ALT), Jette will serve as the Army's acquisition executive, the senior procurement executive, the science advisor to the secretary of the Army, and the Army's senior research and development official. Additionally, Jette has the added responsibility for all Department of the Army matters related to logistics, Esper said.
"It's fair to say that he is charged with the future readiness of the Army," Esper said. "I know he's determined to reform the acquisition system and make it far better to meet current, emerging and long-term threats."
Before his confirmation, Jette served as the president and chief executive officer for a company he founded to provide management and technical consulting, engineering services, and project management in support of military and governmental agencies, as well as commercial industry.
"I know how this intellectual property works. That's one of my charges that I take on: to try and improve our ability to manage intellectual property negotiations in our contracts so that we get better value to the taxpayer and better results for the Soldier in battle," Jette said.
Additionally, his previous acquisition service includes founding the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force.
"He's the right man, for the right job, at the right time," Esper said.
PROUD TO SERVE
Jette retired as a colonel after serving 28 years on active duty in the Army.
Even at 5 years old, Jette said he had wanted to become an Army officer. "I was watching an episode of The West Point Story ... [and] I remember telling [my dad] I was going to go," he said. "That TV show put the mark on the wall. I never took my eyes off."
As Jette progressed through his grade school years, his teachers cultivated his natural talent for math and science. And when presented with the opportunity to gain some field training experience through the Boy Scouts of America, Jette happily accepted.
It was his time with the Scouts that eventually granted him an opportunity to visit West Point.
"While I was there, I accosted this major who was just walking out of the library and said, 'I want to go to West Point'; I think I was 12. He was kind enough to stop what he was doing and take this kid's name and address. He gave me a weekend at West Point," Jette said.
The major's lasting impression sealed the deal. Jette worked hard and was later accepted into the U.S. Military Academy, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in nuclear engineering and chemistry. In addition, the new ASA(ALT) also holds both a Master of Science degree and a doctorate in electronic materials from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
As Jette progressed through his career, he commanded several armor and cavalry companies and held various staff assignments at the battalion and brigade levels. Furthermore, he served two overseas tours and had more than two years of operational deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait.
"Cathy [Jette], thank you for standing alongside him for all these years," Esper said, commenting on the Jette's 41 years of marriage. "We're going to borrow him for a few more [years] ... I know that at the end of the day the Army will be far better off with Bruce here in this assignment, doing what he does best."