Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT July-September 2016 Contents act as a liaison between the program o ce and the ACC, which
executes the requirement. By providing contracting expertise
within the program o ce, I'm able to contribute to the acquisi-
tion streamlining e orts of the Army, which ultimately impacts
our war ghters by getting them the supplies and ser vices they
need in a timely manner.
How did you become part of the Army Acquisition Work-
force, and why?
I started my career in an administrative position and was quickly
promoted into the contracting intern program upon completion
of my bachelor's degree. I gained a great deal of knowledge in
the contracting eld while ser ving in the administrative position,
often performing the duties of a contract specialist. It was a natu-
ral transition to move into the professional eld of government
contracting, where I was able to apply the knowledge and skills I
gained acquiring my bachelor's degree. After serving as a contract
specialist and receiving a good foundation in my chosen career
eld executing contracts, I was then promoted to a procurement
specialist in the program management o ces, working on tactical
wheeled vehicles, bridging equipment and watercraft vessels.
What do you see as the most important points in your career
with the Army Acquisition Workforce, and why?
Like many long-term employees, I had the distinct honor and
pleasure of working directly for our Soldiers during three di er-
ent global con icts: Desert Shield, Desert Storm and the wars
in Iraq and Afghanistan, where I was responsible for procuring
urgently needed fuel tankers and armored kits, just to name a few.
I'm honored to have contributed my acquisition expertise during
humanitarian e orts such as Hurricane Katrina. I also worked
with TACOM's Quick Response Cell to procure urgently needed
armored vehicles for heads of state and to support Headquarters
Stabilization Force, Sarajevo. More recently, I have been privi-
leged to work on the JLTV program, where I was able to gain
Acquisition Category ID experience and see a program through
Milestone B to Milestone C, in addition to working on a vehicle
system that will ultimately save lives in the years to come.
I completed the Naval Postgraduate School's Advanced Acqui-
sition Program in September 2003, where I gained valuable
knowledge of the acquisition life cycle. is advanced program
enabled me to see the bigger picture of a requirement from con-
cept to elding to disposal.
What's the greatest satisfaction you have in being a part of the
Army Acquisition Workforce?
Having the opportunity to be a contributing member of the JLTV
program. In 2012, the JLTV program was on the edge of being
canceled, with [lawmakers on Capitol Hill] pulling the program
funding. I worked tirelessly with a dedicated group of profession-
als to make sure that the legislative sta s and decision-makers in
the Pentagon saw the value of the JLTV program. Now that the
program has progressed through the life cycle milestones, know-
ing that the JLTV will provide added protection to Soldiers makes
me proud of my contribution.
What advice would you give to someone who aspires to a
career or position like yours?
Seek out developmental assignments outside your career path to
gain a perspective from another part of the acquisition process.
Also, work in a variety of di erent organizations to broaden your
experience, which in turn will make you more multifunctional
with much to o er an organization. Working in di erent organi-
zations and going on developmental assignments will give you an
idea of what area or programs you're most passionate about. Gain-
ing a solid understanding of the principles in your career eld
will make you a valued and respected manager who others will
seek for advice and mentoring. Make sure you have the founda-
tional knowledge your job requires, and don't be afraid to accept
instruction or recommendations from those above or below you.
One day you might be supervising people, and if you don't know
the foundation of that job, you'll be of no bene t to your employ-
ees or senior managers. After ve years of being in the same job or
o ce, it might be time to experience a di erent program, so don't
be afraid to move out of your comfort zone---that's how we grow
in our knowledge and expertise.
---MS. MARY KATE AYLWARD
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