Since 2012 the Army has placed an emphasis on civilian leader development. As a result, there are now many programs designed with a primary goal of producing a more "flexible and adaptable" civilian cohort to better support Army goals and missions today and in the future.

The Program Executive Office for Aviation has developed its own initiatives to help create a bench of experienced and trained Army enterprise leaders ready for leadership positions with a goal to build a workforce that is focused on delivering value to the warfighter.

One of those initiations is the Leader Development Program, which kicked off in January, and is designed to develop senior leader skills for operating at the strategic and operational levels and successfully direct multi-disciplinary teams and solve cross-organizational challenges at the project level.

The program, a collaborative effort between PEO Aviation and the Defense Acquisition University, includes learning sessions with experienced DAU staff, retired Senior Executive Service members and other professionals. The DAU built the program around a set of seven key leader competencies: Fundamentals, Leading Change, Leading People, Results Driven, Business Acumen, Building Coalitions and an Enterprise-wide Perspective.

The 12 month program includes five sessions lasting two to four days, depending on the number of topics covered during that particular session. The program's inaugural group, as new supervisors, were nominated by their respective project managers to participate in the program, and includes Kimberly Baker, Matthew Bentley, Steve Chisgar, Eric Garrison, Kelsey Haynes, Shane Lege, Steven Miller, Anthony Samuels, Charles Silver, Travis Sinclair and Jennifer Varga.

The third session, held July 24-26, opened with remarks by Brig. Gen. Thomas Todd, program executive officer for aviation, at the DAU South campus in Research Park. Todd received feedback from the participants on their impressions of the program thus far, answered their questions and shared his leadership philosophy and techniques that he has used throughout his career.

"You should exercise what you believe, because you will not be measured just off of whether you're a great leader," Todd said. "You're measured on whether you are a person of principles and do what you said you'd do.

"We want leaders with competency and character -- not one or the other. If you're not inspiring your teams to follow you, you're not a leader."

"I look forward to what each and every one of you do in our formation," he added. "I have complete faith and trust in you. You've earned it… you deserve it."

In addition to the Leader Development Program, a six month Mentoring Program initiative has been implemented at PEO Aviation. Each mentor and mentee will meet monthly, with the option of continuing a mentorship relationship at the conclusion of the program. The program is based on AMRDEC's mentoring model/program and will utilize the tools they created to make the PEO Aviation mentoring program a success.