By Mrs. Miriam U Rodriguez (ATEC)July 31, 2019
White Sands Missile Range welcomed incoming WSMR Commander Col. David C. Trybula during a Change of Command ceremony July 17. In the following interview he talks about his priorities, expectations and the role WSMR will play in the Army's future.
"I am thrilled to be here and I am really looking forward to working with and getting to know the workforce and their families, as well as members of the surrounding communities," he said. "This is probably the biggest small town I've ever been at."
Trybula said he and his family, his wife Jill and son Justin, are thrilled to be at WSMR. "New Mexico is beautiful and it is truly the Land of Enchantment. It is well beyond expectations," he said.
On Military Service --
Trybula comes from a family where service to community and the nation is important. That, coupled with the fact that he didn't want his parents paying for his college education, led him to join the Army.
Not knowing that he would spend his career in the military, Trybula said he went in with the expectation that he was going to give his best and see what opportunities where there.
"As long as there were opportunities in the military that were mutually beneficial I would continue serving."
Home is now White Sands Missile Range. Growing up, his dad worked in research and development, and every time there was a recession he was out of a job and the family was moving. "The longest I've lived anywhere growing up was the four years I spent at West Point."
His last assignment was helping to stand up Army Futures Command. He divided his time between Austin, Texas and the Washington, D.C. area.
On Army Futures Command -
Trybula said WSMR is an integral part of ATEC and as such is in direct support of AFC.
"We need to ensure AFC understands WSMR's and ATEC's capabilities."
Trybula said his time at AFC gave him a better understanding of how both WSMR and ATEC will help support what the Army is trying to do with AFC, which is to get needed capabilities into formations that Soldiers are using across the Department of Defense.
"The bottom line is - how are we helping AFC create the future that enables Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines to never have to fight a fair fight."
On his Vision and Priorities for WSMR -
His vision is to help change the world thru the team of teams that is White Sands Missile Range.
"If you ask people what the future is right now in terms of our national security, there are serious concerns over potential adversaries, whether they are today's adversaries or future adversaries and whether or not we are on a path to maintain overmatch," Trybula said.
When talking about changing the world in terms of the mission for White Sands as a major range and test facility, the question according to Trybula is how do we mature technologies, how do we allow for testing that demonstrates capabilities of either technologies or equipment that are then put into a formation.
"What are we doing to enhance the capability of those for the future?"
And it is those capabilities that are part of how DoD is going to change the world for the good.
"ATEC has the incredibly important responsibility of both ensuring the materiel solutions we are providing Soldiers will function to meet their requirements and simultaneously help scientists, engineers, and innovators work with Soldiers to create new solutions. These are fundamental to ensuring national security and ensuring our Soldiers can accomplish their mission while taking care of them," he said.
His vision for WSMR is to be the premier open air test range, for U.S. and Allied customers, delivering superior testing, evaluation, research, exercises, training, innovative products, and venues through a highly skilled and adaptive workforce. Always the best value; focusing on affordability and stewardship of resources, providing results that consistently exceed customer expectations while providing a high quality of life for our service members, civilians, and families.
Overall, readiness remains the top priority.
"We will continue to enhance and support today's readiness for our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines. Simultaneously, we must be ready for the future, which means we must modernize."
Trybula said WSMR is a key enabler to achieve modernization. Indeed, we are part of the critical path for at least two of the Army's six modernization priorities.
On Leadership -
From his leadership roles Trybula has learned that you will always be surprised. Also important is that you need situational awareness and communication to be effective.
"Knowing that there is a difference between crisis management and leading in a crisis," he said. "The more you can take the time to focus on the important and the strategic, the better the organization will be set."
Trybula said it is critical to understand the importance of leveraging the right people to be able to get things done.
"It is not about how hard you work, it's about being able to be productive and get the mission done," he said. "I am a firm believer in enabling and empowering subordinates to race towards and past goals with a common vision for the future, while trusting and verifying."
On communication --
Trybula believes communication is a multi-faceted approach. He feels that most people don't have only one means of communication.
"Thinking that we are going to be able to communicate using one way and be able to effectively communicate is asking for failure," Trybula said. "So the question is -- how do we use all the different assets that are available in a way that is mutually reinforcing without being unnecessarily redundant?"
His plan -- to use as many mediums of communication and use them often. This includes Facebook, WSMR's web page, Town Hall meetings, email and walking around and talking to people face to face.
"Are we going to get it wrong (at times)? Absolutely," said Trybula.
"Saying something is not necessarily communicating, it is transmitting. It is as much art as it is science."
On organizational change at WSMR -
At a macro level, Trybula said WSMR is in the process of putting the finishing touches on assessing whether or not organizational changes need to be made when it comes to WSMR and the Test Center.
"I want to go with the processes that are in place to see how they work…until we assess and see whether or not adjustments would be beneficial," he said. "We are not looking to change for change sake."
When talking about situational awareness Trybula said he doesn't want to jump in and assume that he knows the answer, especially if he doesn't know the situation.
To be able to do that he needs to get to know people, know their strengths, weaknesses, what's going on.
"I'm a firm believer that they (employees) are focused on doing a mission here, it takes the whole person to be able to do that. So there needs to be a balance," he said. "And it is not all about the work but how they take care of themselves, morally, physically, and spiritually to be able to perform and to be able to have a fulfilling life. That means investing in people to develop them as well as having those conversations."
On Workforce Expectations --
Trybula is a firm believer that success is much more likely when the right individual is in the right job as part of a symbiotic team.
He said he expects people to work hard but value productivity; what has been accomplished and its impact.
"This has to be accomplished within a work-life balance that ensures folks are fit physically, mentally, and spiritually; this means getting sufficient sleep, eating right, taking vacations, and talking to people."
He also expects people to look out for each other.
"Do what your higher headquarters' directs and what you know should be done."
On work and life balance -
His goal is to ensure that folks have a balance. "Balance doesn't mean equal pieces."
He believes balance is different for different folks.
"I certainly want to reinforce and promote the efforts that are in place."
On Community Relations --
Trybula said that from what he can tell Gen. Brady had a fantastic relationship with the local communities. He said he wants to sustain that and moving forward improve on those relationships.
"WSMR cannot perform its mission without the support of the community. Similarly the communities are not the same without WSMR. We have a symbiotic relationship."
On his diverse experience --
Trybula credits the diversity of assignments and jobs he has held with giving him experience in different areas. Since 2002 he has held 22 different jobs.
"Sometimes three at a time." These include:
•Facilitating the establishment of Army Futures Command and standing up its Headquarters in Austin, TX
•Acquisition Reform Working Group Lead, resulting in putting ACOM Commanders at the table at the AROC and setting the stage for acquisition reforms that followed
•Led the team that created and fielded the Medical Readiness Assessment tool, placing up-to-date forecasts of individual Soldier future medical non-deployability in the hands of commanders
•Led the team in Kabul that provided significant portions of the data and analysis that enabled decision-making on what is now Operational Inherent Resolve
•Reorganized the Army Science Board office to better support the Army and the CSA and SECARMY
•Helped fix Arlington National Cemetery
•Led the analysis and provided the policy proposal that led to the current Army Senior Mentor program that enables BCT and higher commanders to gain experience and insights from retired Army Senior Leaders
On his free time --
Trybula said he and his wife are huge college football fans. So, you know where to find him on a Friday night or Saturday during football season.