‘Young Guns’ SMDC G-8 member improves office, self
Dr. Nathan M. LaChance, a program analyst with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command G-8 Program Objective Memorandum Division, began operating as a financial management analyst for the command’s Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation team within the G-8 Integration Division in September. (Photo by Allen Meeks) (Photo Credit: Allen Meeks) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama – When the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command needs financial assistance, it now has a doctor to call for help.

Dr. Nathan M. LaChance, a program analyst with the USASMDC G-8 Program Objective Memorandum Division, began operating as a financial management analyst for the command’s Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation team within the G-8 Integration Division in September.

“In that role, I completed the RDT&E Status of Funds Report daily,” LaChance said. “This report identified how the command is spending against the Office of the Secretary of Defense execution goals. If there were decreases in spending week over week, I assisted in the research to determine why there was a decrease. Additionally, I received, allocated, and helped manage the Fiscal Year 2021 and Fiscal Year 2022 RDT&E funds, comprising approximately 39 programs total.”

Moving to his current position in August, LaChance serves as an analyst and adviser to management on the evaluation of the effectiveness of government programs, providing analysis of these programs to assist in more informed decision making.

“In both capacities, I operate as a data and technology subject matter expert,” LaChance said. “I am always eager to learn and leverage every opportunity to improve reporting efficiencies or to assist in bringing the command to the next level.”

Originally from Henniker, New Hampshire, where he said Henniker is known as “The only Henniker on Earth,” LaChance came to USASMDC from U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany.

“When I first researched SMDC, the mission and vision both resonated with me and intrigued me,” LaChance said. “I wanted to be a part of a ‘People First’ team of professionals that ‘develops and provides current and future global space, missile defense and high altitude capabilities to the Army, joint force and our allies and partners.’ The SMDC G-8 has not fallen short of being a great or compelling place to work.”

He said the best part about working at USASMDC is working within a family-centric team, adding the G-8 team and leadership always foster a ‘People First’ mentality that trickles down from the commanding general and deputy to the commander.

“I look forward to growing with the command to see how it strategically adapts and advances with the exponentially changing technologies of today,” LaChance said.

He said in his job as RDT&E financial management analyst, he makes certain the command plans for and receives adequate funding to support the commanding general’s priorities.

“As Thomas Edison stated, ‘Vision without execution is hallucination,’ LaChance said. “Well, in finance, planning without funding is like daydreaming.”

The USASMDC G8 also provides sufficient surveillance over major subordinate element spending to be able to hold them accountable. These key components make certain that resources reach the warfighter timely and efficiently to accomplish the command’s priority missions.

“Many friends and acquaintances find it weird that I get excited about finance, but I really enjoy what I do,” he added. “I would say the most exciting part is performing the actual analysis over funds; being able to leverage new technological tools to create dashboards and accomplish effective oversight.”

LaChance joined the Army Reserves in October 2008 within the delayed entry program while still in high school. He graduated a half year early that December and was able to head to Basic Combat Training in March 2009. His current rank is staff sergeant and his job is financial management technician. In this capacity, he is a certified finance instructor and teaches the Financial Management Technician Advanced Leader Course to junior non-commissioned officers.

“I joined the military to find purpose and to serve my country,” LaChance said. “I did not exactly know my path right out of high school, so the Army was a great foundation to point me in the right direction. My work colleagues support these efforts as some of them are reservists or retired military themselves; they are always flexible because they understand the call to duty.”

LaChance said the military led him straight down the path to education and a lifetime of learning and added he is a first-generation college graduate and has been going to school full-time from September 2012 until July 2022. On July 13, he successfully defended his dissertation, obtaining his PhD with a concentration in international business from Northcentral University.

“I earned my PhD to assist in preparing me for the next level in my career,” LaChance said. “I wanted to further my knowledge, improve my writing, develop stronger research skills, and stimulate more valuable ideas. I hope that my doctorate will empower me to grow to the operational and strategic levels of the Army within the National Capital Region someday.

He added that the Army assisted with the completion of his bachelor’s degree and he leveraged the Montgomery GI Bill to pay for his degree. The Army also assisted with his master’s and PhD education through the Student Loan Repayment Program, which was valuable.

“The education benefits in the Army are unparalleled and I certainly encourage every individual to take maximum advantage,” LaChance said. “Some commands will also provide certain amounts of SLRP to civilians; it is important to be aware of all the offerings, so you can benefit accordingly.”

LaChance said the best advice he ever received was that “No one will remember the things that you said, they will remember only how you treated them and made them feel.”

“This advice follows me everywhere because I once had a Soldier reach out to me after he departed from the USEUCOM Reserve Element and stated ‘you were the best leader I had in the Army,’” LaChance said. “This compliment was a direct result of how I made him feel.”

He said the best advice he could give to someone wanting to be a Soldier is to do it, but first, do your research to find the job field and enlistment type that best suit you.

“Subsequent to identifying this information, take advantage of every opportunity the service has to offer; go to college, go to as many military schools as possible, and make yourself a better leader,” LaChance said. “Be a lifetime learner and be the change you want to see in yourself.”