Developing MICC leaders: James Tucker

By Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs OfficeJanuary 17, 2023

Developing MICC leaders: James Tucker
James Tucker is the director of contracting for the Mission and Installation Contracting Command at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. (Photo Credit: Photo illustration by Daniel P. Elkins) VIEW ORIGINAL

James Tucker

Organization: MICC-Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri

Position: Director

Time with the MICC: 20 years

Previous positions with the MICC include contract specialist, contracting officer, division chief and director.

What attracted you to the Army Acquisition Corps?

After I graduated college, I was offered a position in the private sector as a management trainee. As part of that organization's hiring process, candidates met with an industrial psychologist and went through multiple sessions of testing and interviews. From there, it was determined I had an aptitude for acquisition. I enjoyed my job, but as an Air Force veteran, I missed serving my country and wanted to contribute again. The opportunity as a GS-7 contract specialist at Fort Leonard Wood started my career.

What contributed most to your professional development and growth with the MICC?

I had outstanding mentors who invested their time and talent into my career. By engaging my ambition to learn, I pursued assignments and projects that would challenge my present professional development and expand my knowledge base.

What developmental assignments have enhanced your acquisition skills and leadership?

Our career field provides many developmental opportunities. To enhance my leadership and acquisition skills, I accepted developmental roles as acting director at both Fort Leonard Wood and Fort Knox, Kentucky. In addition, I participated as a MICC representative to the National Contract Management Association World Congress and Acquisition Leadership Challenge Program Level III. Every assignment I have had provided me skill and leadership developmental opportunities by remaining open to experiential learning.

How do you apply your MICC experiences and development in leading your team today?

In my experience, my No. 1 priority being a leader is to provide care and support for my team. By creating an environment of collaboration and development, my team can realize the highest performance and mission successes. Having open, transparent and supportive communication channels to address ambiguity or misunderstanding about policy, procedures and best practices allow my team to understand the intent, “the why,” of what we do. Given the dynamic nature of our profession, I cultivate unconventional ideas that often lead to innovative solutions that improve support to our mission partners and mitigate the risks of failure. Throughout my development as a leader, it has been apparent that we must be innovators of solutions and cultivators of relationships.

What advice would you offer interns or newer members of the command?

The best advice I received was very simple -- “Do you want a job, or do you want a career?” This is your career. Your leadership is responsible for your training opportunities, you are responsible for your learning. Take ownership of your work and be a trailblazer. Seek out demanding projects and opportunities that stretch your knowledge base and expand your personal and professional development. Pursue connections with other contracting professionals and build your supportive network. Conversations with your peers can provide unique insight and experience, being the best learning environment you can take advantage of.

What do you take away from your job as an Army acquisition leader?

Army contracting is essential to the Army’s mission success. Our daily activities provide support for the world's elite Army, and we are proud of what we do. I am passionate in my responsibility to build bold new leaders of the command that will advance the stellar legacy of the acquisition profession. I remember my mentor being just as excited about me becoming an office director as I was; I support my team with that same energy and commitment.

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of personnel features highlighting members across the enterprise who have developed as leaders with the Mission and Installation Contracting Command and its legacy organization. The MICC offers numerous opportunities for professional development and growth throughout the command providing newer and seasoned acquisition professionals a chance to learn and grow into the next generation of leaders.

About the MICC

Headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the Mission and Installation Contracting Command consists of about 1,300 military and civilian members who are responsible for contracting goods and services in support of Soldiers as well as readying trained contracting units for the operating force and contingency environment when called upon. As part of its mission, MICC contracts are vital in feeding more than 200,000 Soldiers every day, providing many daily base operations support services at installations, facilitate training in the preparation of more than 100,000 conventional force members annually, training more than 500,000 students each year, and maintaining more than 14.4 million acres of land and 170,000 structures.