The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command has implemented a Commander Shadow Program as part of its roster of leadership development opportunities.

As the commander of the USAMRMC and Fort Detrick and the chief of the Army Nurse Corps, Maj. Gen. Barbara R. Holcomb has a full calendar of commitments. The Shadow Program allows the participants to see first-hand the skills necessary to lead at senior levels in the Army.

The USAMRMC Shadow Program is open to mid-level civilians that demonstrate exceptional character, commitment, potential for growth, and future leadership capability within the command. Quarterly a call goes out within the command for applications to the program for selection.

According to Secretary of the General Staff Maj. Sara Harmon, Holcomb has successfully used the Shadow Program at her previous commands as a tool to help develop Army leaders.

"The Shadow Program helps the staff understand the breadth and depth of topics that Maj. Gen. Holcomb encounters every day," said Harmon. "Participants have all shared how much they have learned about the command since taking part in the program."

Shadow Program participant Dr. Jonathan Miller, deputy of the Defense Health Program (Research and Technology) Office of the Principal Assistant for Research and Technology, thought that the experience enhanced his understanding of how the command operates.

"The opportunity to shadow Maj. Gen. Holcomb was very rewarding as it enhanced my understanding of the operations of the command," shared Miller. "In doing so, I have a firmer grasp of the diversity of information presented to Maj. Gen. Holcomb and how decisions are made to support command operations. This experience demonstrated the importance of being well-informed about issues outside of the command that are currently impacting the total Army and Army Medicine. Being well-informed of issues impacting the Army outside of the command will assist in developing strategies that identify and mitigate risks to command operations."

Mary Ann Beach, a paralegal specialist at the Staff Judge Advocate Office concurred that taking part in the Shadow Program brought to light a new understanding of the command.

"It was truly eye-opening. I have been around the Army since 1994, and I thought I knew quite a bit about the Army and its processes. By shadowing Maj. Gen. Holcomb, it was a more intimate view of how the command operates on a high level but even more so the small details that are briefed with the general that I would not have thought would be addressed at that level," said Beach. "The program allows you to see more hands on the mission that we have here at MRMC, and how truly important it is to the Army but more importantly to the Warfighter."