GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – Leaders aren’t born. They’re developed. And U.S. Army Sustainment Command has an incredibly successful program of collaborative instruction and leader development that helps shape ASC’s future force of Army leaders.
David Saenz is a living, breathing, walking and talking testament to the success of ASC’s Journey to Leadership program.
The chief of plans and operations at the 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s Logistics Readiness Center Bavaria recently graduated JTL Level III in Washington, D.C., along with 12 other ASC personnel from around the world. The ASC executive director and deputy to the commanding general, Matthew Sannito, was the honored guest at their graduation.
The JLT program is designed to prepare high-potential future leaders for key positions through mission overviews, contact with senior leaders, coaching and networking. The program has three levels. They are Level I for entry level employees (GS9-11), Level II for mid-level and journeymen (GS11-13), and Level III for supervisors and managers (GS13-15). The JTL program was created by ASC to select and develop high-potential individuals ready to fill future leadership positions.
Saenz, a retired chief warrant officer 4 Blackhawk pilot, attended Level II in 2015-2016 while assigned to the 407th AFSB’s LRC Fort Carson in Colorado. When he got the call from ASC to attend Level III, he immediately begin setting up a flight path to success. Saenz talked with his supervisor and received authorization from the 405th AFSB to attend the next session.
The course began in August 2020 and included several weeks of syllabus and multiple opportunities to experience various leadership styles and methods, to include a week-long trip to Washington, D.C., to complete the course.
During that final week, Saenz participated in collaborative discussions and a culminating class project, which was briefed to the ASC deputy to the commanding general. He and his fellow JTL III participants were also afforded an opportunity to speak to two members of U.S. Congress.
The program of instruction included graduate level discussions on different aspects of collaborative effort as well as written and oral communications skills. It also included taking a 360 self-assessment from the perspective of subordinates, peers and upper-level leadership, said Saenz.
“It kind of gave me an idea of what other people think of me as a leader,” said Saenz, “which gives me the ability to be able to improve on some of my weaknesses as well as explore some of my strengths.”
The course included strategic thinking, higher levels of leadership, book reports and lengthy group discussions, said Saenz. The end state of the program is to develop senior leaders who will bring back the skills they’ve learned and improved upon during the course and disseminate this information and these ideas to their units and people.
Saenz said he gained “a lot of great tools to help with my development professionally and more importantly bring back to my organization.”
And his team at LRC Bavaria are already on board. Four employees from LRC Bavaria have completed the program – one local national employee attended Level I, two employees recently graduated Level II, and Saenz graduated Level III May 14. Another LRC Bavaria employee is planning to attend the next Level II course in the coming months.
The 405th AFSB is assigned to ASC and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging the U.S. Army Materiel Command materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website at www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook site at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.