Temporary role turns into career change for security officer

By Katie Davis Skelley, DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center Public AffairsMarch 18, 2024

Danielle Shipley is a security officer based out of the DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center’s Fort Eustis location.
Danielle Shipley is a security officer based out of the DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center’s Fort Eustis location. (Photo Credit: Haley Myers, DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (March 18, 2024) – Danielle Shipley was planning to become a physical therapist.

But something happened between obtaining her bachelor’s degree at Old Dominion University and graduate school that would change the trajectory of her life. She took a job with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center.

“I graduated in May, but the physical therapy process is competitive and lengthy,” said Shipley, who is a Yorktown, Virginia native. “I was just kind of waiting, waiting to see where I wanted to go, what my options were, when I got a phone call from a friend in June of 2009. The logistics office at the time had an opening and was I interested? It was something to do in the meantime.”

“In the meantime” became a complete career change and 15 years later, she has never regretted that choice. Today, Shipley is a security officer based out of the Center’s Fort Eustis location. As such, she serves as a bridge between the Center headquarters and the team at Fort Eustis, someone “just down the hall” that can solve problems. Oftentimes, she said, having someone onsite helps smooth many of her processes – from onboarding new employees to industrial security requirements to operations security reviews.

Shipley’s role shows that the Center has a myriad of opportunities for people who support its technological mission but might not be scientists or engineers.

“I always saw science being part of my plan, but definitely not aviation to the degree that that I'm in now,” Shipley said. “It is by chance that I got here -- I work with great people, get to do cool things and it's been wonderful.”

In addition to the interesting work, Shipley said that her team prioritizes a work-life balance which has been crucial as she raises a seven-year-old daughter.

“Having leadership support is everything,” Shipley said. “You can't be a great mom and a great worker without something lacking at some point. For them to understand and to put an emphasis on family is what I value most and what makes me able to do what I do.”

Shipley said that in addition to leadership, her teammates have played a big part in her career success. Which makes it befitting that this is her advice to someone just starting their career.

“90% of what I've learned here is through interaction and relationships with other employees, fellow workers. Sometimes it's hard to ask a question when you are first starting out. But don’t be scared to ask -- you will find that most will be willing to help.”


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.