FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. – After three decades in various roles and organizations at Fort Leavenworth, Scott Lackey can confidently say he’s helped change policy in the U.S. Army and ultimately, other countries.
“I started life here at Fort Leavenworth as an assistant command historian in 1992, but that very rapidly evolved into something more than just command history,” said Lackey, who has worked for the Mission Command Center of Excellence as their Program Manager (Sustainment) since 2012. “The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command commander at the time, tasked us with developing a digital repository and archives for the Gulf War records of the VII Corps and to make them available in digital format to students at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. We quickly expanded from a three-person history office to a 48-person Army Knowledge Network Directorate.”
After various system mergers in the mid-90s, the Army Knowledge Network Directorate merged with the Center for Army Lessons Learned, Lackey and his team estimate they were processing 800-1000 requests for information per month on everything from manuals and handbooks to standard operating procedures.
“That was hugely gratifying that we were helping soldiers and leaders across the Army find solutions to their problems,” he said. “The program was so successful I even had an external command providing us funding for support contractors to help us execute the program.”
The Cincinnati, Ohio native took a unique path to federal service. While many Department of the Army civilians start their federal service with active-duty military time, Lackey found his path through education in both the United States and Europe.
“Before starting graduate work at the University of North Carolina in 1984, I studied modern German history at the Ludwig-Maximiliens-Universität and the Institut für Zeitgeschichte in Munich, Germany as a Fulbright Scholar,” he said. “In 1985, I was selected and served as a parliamentary intern in the research service of the West German Bundestag (Parliament), where I performed research for German Members of Parliament. In 1988-89, I received a Truman Scholarship to conduct my dissertation research in Vienna, Austria at the Kriegsarchiv and the Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv (Archives of the Habsburg house and state).”
He wrote a dissertation, later published as a book, on the development of a general staff as a backbone system of command and control within the Austro-Hungarian armed forces in the decades after Austria’s defeat at the hands of Prussia in 1866.
“Perhaps foretelling of my future career, that is very much a mission command topic,” said Lackey.
In 2005, Lackey became the Center for Army Lessons Learned deputy director, a position he served in until his current role.
“As deputy director, my greatest accomplishment was getting Army operational security guidance changed to allow for a greater degree of sharing of lessons learned at the unclassified level within TRADOC and among U.S. coalition partners and allies,” he said. “Out of all my years of civilian service, I believe those spent in CALL were probably my most fulfilling and enjoyable because of that engagement with other countries.”
Looking back on his time at Fort Leavenworth, Lackey advises new DACs to “follow their dreams.”
“Make your career what you want it to be,” he said. “Take advantage of opportunities but make sure, to the best of your ability, that those opportunities involve things you want to do.”
According to the most recent Army statistics, there are about 245,000 Department of the Army civilians across hundreds of job fields. Those interested in applying for a federal position should visit https://www.usajobs.gov/.