REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (July 6, 2022) – For Miranda Oden, taking over as acting director of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center’s Software, Simulation, Systems Engineering and Integration Directorate isn’t her biggest role of the summer.
That would be mother of the bride.
Oden’s daughter will be getting married in August and it would be understandable if Oden had concerns when learning she would be succeeding Dr. Jim Kirsch as S3I director. Kirsch is filling in as DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center acting director while Jeff Langhout serves a six-month rotation as deputy to the commander for DEVCOM. But Oden knew that at AvMC, while the mission is paramount, family remains first.
“My leadership, counterparts and S3I team that I get the fortune of being a team member with – they all know the importance of family,” Oden said. “You can’t be a single point of failure. You have to trust the people around you to execute when you can’t be there. I am blessed to work with such a dedicated group of people.”
That culture of taking care of the team is just one of the reasons that Oden, from Section, Alabama, has spent her entire engineering career at AvMC. From her early days on the Stinger Missile Program to later working with the Missile Defense Agency to build the Sea-Based X-Band Radar, AvMC has provided Oden an opportunity to work on unique projects and unprecedented challenges – the latter being, “How do you put a 13-story radar on top of an oil rig platform?” she said.
Oden said that she has always had a drive to solve problems and make things better, which led her to choose an industrial engineering major while studying at Auburn University. She later obtained a degree in management from the Florida Institute of Technology.
“When I was researching engineering careers, I knew that I would not be the person designing the next space shuttle,” she said. “But I knew that I could determine how to build the next space shuttle. I enjoy figuring out how to improve processes - how to get things fielded quicker.”
After Oden left SBX, she transitioned to the Prototype Integration Facility as the team lead for Utility Helicopter projects. While new to aviation, Oden wanted to diversify her skills, both technical and leadership. She would later take over as PIF associate director before moving to her most recent position as technical deputy for life cycle engineering at S3I.
“Miranda’s diverse professional background will serve her well in leading an organization with a mission as large and broad as S3I’s,” Kirsch said. “Her personal experience on the customer side enables her to understand what is important to our customers and what is important to our Warfighters. She is passionate about people and is always open to helping our workforce achieve their individual career goals. I have complete confidence in her ability to effectively lead S3I in my absence.”
In a career spent focusing on not just supporting programs but also supporting the people working on those programs, Oden said that her leadership style is to stay away from needless negativity while helping her team do the best job they can.
“I don’t like to say, ‘We have a problem.’ I would rather say, ‘We have an opportunity.’ Yes, it is a problem but it is also an opportunity for us to collectively figure out a solution.”
The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.