NEWS | March 4, 2014

New education program enhances civilian leader's skills to support mission

By Staff Sgt. Daniel Martinez U.S. Strategic Command Public Affairs

OMAHA, Neb. – The pristine foyer of Mammel Hall on the University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) campus set the stage for the unveiling of a unique educational partnership between U.S. Strategic Command and the University of Nebraska March 1.

USSTRATCOM senior leaders, civilian personnel, and academic professionals celebrated the new USSTRATCOM Fellowship Program – a 15 week graduate-level, in-residence course to enhance various mission-oriented skills for 10 handpicked command civilian leaders.

“The USSTRATCOM and University of Nebraska graduate fellowship program is the most recent example of a partnership that expands the scientific knowledge and technical expertise of our committed civilian employees,” said Adm. Cecil Haney, Commander, USSTRATCOM, and keynote speaker for the event.  “The partnership will give USSTRATCOM civilian employees an opportunity to hone their already formidable skills under the guidance and leadership of their faculty mentors.”

The command’s civilian sector has increased to 60 percent of its total workforce, according to TJ Hammond, program facilitator from the Workforce Development and Talent Management division.  As a result, he said the Fellowship Program will benefit the command as many civilian workers now have leadership roles formerly held by uniformed personnel.  Also, civilian personnel typically maintain a longer tenure in contrast to the standard military tour of three to four years.

“The concept was how to provide efficient and cost effective professional military education-like programs for the command’s civilian workforce tailored to the specific needs of USSTRATCOM, while blending technical and leadership skills,” said Hammond.

It took more than 14 months for the program to reach fruition, with talks and collaborative efforts taking place behind the scenes with the command, University of Nebraska, and the National Strategic Research Institute.

“There were 1,357 civilians eligible and vetted by directorate leadership resulting in 39 nominees for consideration by the senior leader selection board,” he added. 

When Susie Doyle, Capability and Resource Integration directorate, heard about the Fellowship Program, she submitted a nomination package with support from her leadership, and was one of the 10 chosen to participate.

“I was very humbled because of the limited number of people selected, but I’m really excited about it,” Doyle said.  “I think it’s a great opportunity and it was really refreshing to see how excited the people who are going to be working with us are – all of the instructors and the plans that they’ve set out, it’s just an amazing opportunity and I’m extremely grateful.”

In addition to Doyle, those selected for the program include Nate Arnold, Command, Control, Communications, and Computer (C4) Systems; Suzy Cole-Miller, Joint Force Component Command-Global Strike; Randy Eshelman, C4 Systems; Blaine Fulton, Mission Assessment and Analysis; Daniel Gunn, Global Operations; Kayse Jansen, Capability and Resource Integration; Brent Kenworthy, Global Operations; Doug Ward, Capability and Resource Integration; and Sarah Mussoni, Program Management Office.  USSTRATCOM Fellows will be housed full-time in the UNO’s College of Business Administration in Mammel Hall’s Strategic Leadership Laboratory. 

“There is no better way to illustrate our commitment to our mid-level civilians than showing them that we are investing in their future today,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick Alston, Senior Enlisted Leader, USSTRATCOM, and fellowship mentor.