FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- Dr. Rebecca Johnson, deputy to the commanding general, is now a Tier II in the Senior Executive Service. She took her oath of office in a ceremony Friday.

In the Army rank system a Tier II in the SES is equivalent to an officer having two stars, meaning that protocol for her will be the same as a major general.

"Now, with the increase in the SES position, Fort Leonard Wood further benefits in having an SES that is now a two-star equivalent who will continue to lead and advocate for Fort Leonard Wood and its work force's best interests to our various headquarters and Army and Department of Defense agencies," Johnson said.

Maj. Gen. Mark Yenter, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, said Johnson is an excellent role model for civilian employees and he appreciates her input as his deputy.

"She is absolutely a professional. If she ever has a bad day, I am unaware; I have never seen it," Yenter said. "She is cool under pressure. I trust her judgment completely."

The Senior Executive Service was established in 1978.

"It was a way to formally recognize that we have and needed to have executives that represented the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army civilian employees. It's really about strategic vision. The general officers come and go. The continuity piece is the Senior Executive Service that we have," Yenter said. "The Executive Service is focused on stewardship of our
resources, developing citizenship in our employees, and they are the role models for other Department of Defense civilians. What they are least known for -- because behind closed doors you don't see it -- is being an advocate for the civilian work force. They are the ones that have our civilian employees and contractors in their heart."

Johnson said she will continue to "support and advise the commanding general, be an advocate for our collective interests, provide continuity in leadership and planning that enables our organizations to achieve our goals; further our growth as it supports the Department of Defense's needs; communicate to the nation the valuable national security role of our three branches, the Center and installation; and, to generally leave things better than I found them."

Johnson started working on Fort Leonard Wood 25 years ago in the Engineer Intern program, and from there worked in various positions of increasing responsibility on post. She has a bachelor's degree from what is now Missouri University of Science and Technology, a master's degree from U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pa., and a doctorate from Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Johnson said one of her favorite things about working on Fort Leonard Wood is its residents.
"I greatly enjoy the future planning aspect, including future capabilities developments as well as future infrastructure, energy and sustainability developments," she said. "Some of the greatest people and the greatest communities are right here."