By Mr. Jeffrey M Soares (Army Medicine)February 11, 2019
The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command welcomed a very familiar face to its Senior Executive Service staff as Dawn L. Rosarius was honored as the new Principal Assistant for Acquisition during a ceremony held at Fort Detrick, Maryland, February 8. In this role, Rosarius oversees program management and acquisition strategies for the command's medical product development and procurement programs. Officially named to the SES as the USAMRMC PAA on January 6, she becomes only the third person to hold this position, and the first woman from the USAMRMC to be selected for the SES.
Supporting the USAMRMC for the past 25 years, Rosarius served as the Civilian Deputy to the PAA since 2013, and most recently held the position of Acting PAA upon the retirement of Dr. Kenneth Bertram. Although her resume is very impressive by any standard -- replete with two graduate degrees, multiple supervisory positions, numerous certifications ranging from project management to regulatory affairs to acquisition, as well as various publications -- one might argue that Rosarius' education and experience merely support the one primary trait that makes her the right choice for the SES and this critical leadership role.
Simply put, Rosarius truly cares about others, and this is evident in both her words and her actions.
"I'm really excited to take on this new role," she said. "There are so many great people at MRMC, and so many great solutions that we're developing for our Warfighters, in support of their health and for saving their lives! It brings me great joy to continue to work with our MRMC teams, and now in a leadership role where I can help them with whatever they need to be successful."
Rosarius is a humble person, who would prefer not to recount her own accomplishments. In fact, considering the vast number of mentors, leaders, colleagues, staff members and friends she acknowledged during her closing remarks, one would think the ceremony were for them instead of her.
"It's really not about me," she points out.
However, it takes little research to discover she has received numerous awards over the years, which include the Army Surgeon's General Excalibur Award, the National Defense University President's Strategic Vision Award, the Order of Military Medical Merit, the Superior Civilian Service Award, and Meritorious Civilian Service Award.
In this case, it seems she is right, as these awards are not about her per se -- they are the result of what she has done for others, and how she has helped to advance the USAMRMC mission. Army Maj. Gen. Barbara R. Holcomb, commanding general of USAMRMC and Fort Detrick, supported this claim in her remarks during the ceremony for Rosarius.
"As the Civilian Deputy to the Principal Assistant for Acquisition, and now as the PAA, Dawn's successful leadership has enabled many program accomplishments, including the Emergency Use Authorization for freeze-dried plasma, as well as U.S. Food and Drug Administration approvals for Tafenoquine and the Laboratory Assay for Traumatic Brain Injury," said Holcomb. "These life-saving solutions will greatly improve outcomes by protecting Warfighters from the effects of blood loss and malaria, and by evaluating head trauma closer to point-of-injury."
Along with her role as USAMRMC PAA, Rosarius will also serve as the Milestone Decision Authority for the command, and soon will assume this responsibility from Dr. George Ludwig, USAMRMC's Principal Assistant for Research and Technology. As the MDA, Rosarius will act as the executive-level decision maker, maintaining the authority to approve acquisition program investments, plans and milestones in the product development process.
As if this were not enough, since May 2013 Rosarius has served as the Acquisition Career Management Advocate for the U.S. Army Medical Department. This particular post requires oversight of nearly 1000 members of the Army Acquisition Workforce, to ensure each receives the necessary education and training to remain current on Army Acquisition policies and procedures. Although she will relinquish this role to the next Civilian Deputy to the PAA, Rosarius said she will remain involved to provide oversight and guidance in the years ahead.
Needless to say, this is quite a handful for anyone to manage, but Rosarius continues to do so with a bright smile -- her very recognizable trait. It seems that she welcomes every opportunity to do as much as possible for the command, and perhaps this is why she is where she is today.
Said Holcomb, "Dawn is truly a change agent…she influences organizational change and inspires action… Her actions match her words, and possibly speak louder."
These are certainly great words that describe a great leader -- a leader that truly cares about people.
But caring involves listening, and Holcomb conveyed to the audience Rosarius' skill in this area.
"In addition to engaging in dialog and resolving conflict, she listened," explained Holcomb. "Through motivation she achieved success. Morale increased, staff blossomed."
"Through Dawn's actions," she added, "her staff always knows that she believes in them, just as her supervisors and mentors have believed in her."
As a federal civilian employee for more than two decades, Rosarius has spent the majority of this time focused on the welfare of Service Members and their families, and she certainly values family above all else. During her closing remarks, Rosarius extended her deep appreciation for a long list of family members, beginning with her grandfather, Charles Bidle Palmer, a 102-year-old veteran of World War II who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded the Purple Heart -- clearly, she received her strength and determination from this revered man.
She continued by acknowledging many other family members, including her father and step-mother, her husband, his daughter and son-in-law, their two granddaughters, her brother, her niece and her grandmother, Geneva Alexander Palmer, wife of Charles. With each and every mention of a family member, Rosarius' eyes grew wide, although brimmed with tears, and her smile grew brighter as the sincerity in her heart came through.
Although each family member was honored uniquely, it was the remembrance of her mother that perhaps touched the audience most. Linda Rose Hart Palmer passed away after a battle with cancer when Rosarius was only 16; indeed, the memories of her mother are very special to her.
"She had the hardest job I could imagine, as a homemaker and a mom," she recalled. "She had the biggest heart and always put others first."
Perhaps this particular sentiment rang familiar to the audience, due to the one voicing it.
"She made being a mom look easy," she added. "She is, and forever will be, the number one hero of my life story."
In light of Rosarius' many accomplishments over the years, it would not be difficult to imagine that she may now stand as a hero for many others. Certainly, many area residents will consider her -- a lifelong resident of Frederick County -- as perhaps the "hometown girl" who worked hard to achieve tremendous success within the gates of Fort Detrick. Others within these gates, who have worked with Rosarius and understand her work ethic, simply may consider her new role as USAMRMC PAA the fulfillment of a career trajectory that was destined to be realized.
From any perspective, Rosarius is certainly a hero for what she has done, and will continue to do, for our Service Members and our nation. Our country is fortunate to receive her service.
Yes, very fortunate, as evidenced by the sincerity and passion shown in Rosarius' appreciation of her team members and the important work of the USAMRMC.
"We are all here for a greater purpose, a noble mission -- to serve the Army and take care of our Warfighters, and our teams," said Rosarius. "I believe our future is filled with opportunity, both for the solutions we provide the Warfighter, and the staffs we support. Let's continue to lead positively, support each other, and see all of the opportunities that lie ahead."
As the USAMRMC remains a vital organization for the health and safety of U.S. military forces, most would agree the selection of key leadership within the command is essential to the ongoing success of our country. This group must have the education, experience and acumen to not only accomplish crucial tasks, but to do so while regarding the welfare of all involved.
It is easy to see that Rosarius was certainly the right choice for the job.
With a mission to create, develop, deliver and sustain medical capabilities for Service Members throughout the world, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command was under the umbrella of the U.S. Army Medical Command until October 2018, at which time the USAMRMC began reporting directly to the U.S. Army Materiel Command.