SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – The Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command hosted 36 Total Force leaders here last week during the Joint Deployment and Distribution Enterprise Pre-Command Course. The annual event is a five-day program of instruction led by Headquarters SDDC staff members and designed to prepare incoming commanders and command sergeants major for brigade and battalion command positions across SDDC.
Maj. Gen. Gavin Lawrence and Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Morrison, SDDC’s command team, opened the event by welcoming the attendees and thanking them for taking time to attend the course. In addition, the commanding general outlined his leadership philosophy and expectations of his lower echelon command teams.
“This course is invaluable for orienting the command teams in regard to the Joint Deployment and Distribution Enterprise and our piece in the overall enterprise,” said Lawrence.
SDDC staff provided orientation briefings and training throughout the week, covering the command’s unique operations, systems, and processes. In addition to the SDDC staff, members of the command’s U.S. Army Reserve force, the Deployment Support Command, gave a briefing on their capabilities and how they tie into the JDDE mission.
“Everything from knowing the capabilities of the staff we have access to, seating me next to my battle buddy and fellow battalion commanders and having the Reserve component [leaders] right behind me that are going to be supporting me during my missions was all value-added,” said Lt. Col. James Acevedo, incoming 838th Transportation Battalion commander.
Since the command is geographically dispersed around the world, the participants were grateful for the face-to-face interactions and networking with not only their classmates but also the headquarters staff.
“Shared experiences allow us to build trust faster, especially when we’re overseas. We have to hit the ground running and don’t have time to play the ‘who are you, what are you about.’ We were able to get that all out of the way, early and faster,” said Col. Eric Henderson, incoming 595th Transportation Brigade commander.
The course was not all PowerPoint briefings and required training. The group took a tour of the command’s headquarters building and attended an operations update in the Surface Operations Center, where they observed the commanding general interact with the current brigade command teams.
They also engaged with a panel of commercial industry partners about how they fit in the JDDE picture and mission support challenges.
“Those individuals bridged their military experiences and linked it back to their new position,” said Henderson. “Bringing their civilian enterprise support experience was extremely valuable.”
The commanding general closed the event by highlighting the value of the course and building relationships.