WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 3, 2012) -- Maj. Archie L. Bates III is one of 15 professionals nation-wide who have been appointed to the 2012-2013 class of White House Fellows.

The position is unique for a Soldier: working with senior White House staff, cabinet secretaries and other top-ranking government officials.

The White House Fellows also participate in an education program consisting of roundtable discussions with top leaders from the private and public sectors, chair interagency meetings, draft federal policies, draft speeches for cabinet secretaries to represent their departments on Capitol Hill and study U.S. domestic and foreign policy.

The selection process is highly competitive, according to Bates. He said the selection committee looks for those who show strong leadership, professional achievement, potential for growth, a commitment to public service and the ability to work as part of a team.

"For me, the most challenging part of the program is its demanding schedule," he said. "In addition to my placement -- which is a full-time job -- I also join my classmates in preparing for and attending weekly guest speaker seminars, planning policy trips and engaging in routine community service projects. It makes for a rewarding, yet very busy, year."

He added that the workday can be long, and, the duties can sometimes be tedious, despite the position description.

Why did Bates decide apply to this program?

"It is important to me to develop lifelong friendships with like-minded individuals with whom I might pursue mutually supportive objectives," he said. "The fellowship offers a unique opportunity to join a family of friends passionate about public service and leadership. Also, the Fellows Program affords me the opportunity to take back to the Army the knowledge and experience that I will gain from working within our federal government."

"A decade of war has shown the Army's senior leaders that they must be creative thinkers, educators, arbitrators, and partnership builders, not just warriors," he continued. "I consider myself an emerging senior leader and seek opportunities for growth that will prepare me for the diverse and ever-expanding set of requirements given me by our nation and the sons and daughters who protect it."

Bates most recently served as executive officer to the director of Army Human Resources Policy. Previously, he was as an assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., where he was director of leadership and management courses, academic liaison between the dean and the head football coach and officer in charge of Special Olympics.

Also, he served a tour in Iraq in 2007-2008 with the 101st Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team. As the Brigade Human Resources Officer, he was responsible for the readiness of more than 8,000 Soldiers.

Next year's application process begins on Nov. 1, and the deadline for applications is Jan. 15, 2013. For more details, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/fellows.

MILPER Message Number 12-279 also explains the application process.