Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT January-March 2018 Contents teams and integrate the war ghter's needs, the military's acqui-
sition procedures, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's
regulatory requirements and our academic and industry partners'
processes, to provide sustainable solutions," Bertram explained.
" e greatest satisfaction of this position is providing the war-
ghter or war ghter medic with a new capability---a battle eld
oxygen generator, for example, or new protection, such as the
ability to rapidly diagnose an infectious disease."
erein lies his focus as an acquisition professional---that which
never changes, the "true north" of Army acquisition. Keeping
war ghter needs, capability gaps and solutions "as the 'true
north' is necessary to avoid becoming trapped in changing
resource environments, mission drift and other people's agen-
das," he said. Bertram spent 24 years in the Army, retiring in
2009 and becoming a member of the Senior Executive Ser vice in
July of that year. Having served in leadership positions through-
out his active-duty career, he's well-versed in the problems that
war ghters face in the eld and in garrison, and that knowledge
"enables USAMRMC to focus on developing the solutions that
are needed in a prioritized fashion," he said.
Anyone in his position needs two skills, he said: the ability to
listen and the ability to make a decision. "You won't ever get all
the information you need, but you have to make a decision: You
can't ounder in the land of indecision."
He got his start in acquisition when he was recruited in the
late 1990s to serve as the deputy director for Congressionally
Directed Medical Research Programs at Fort Detrick, Mary-
land, managing an annual budget of roughly $200 million
in research, development, test and evaluation funds. "While
those funds were primarily to support extramural or university
research in cancer---at the direction of Congress---the funds
and research needed to be managed according to DOD acquisi-
tion regulations and processes. So, I began work toward Level
III certi cation in science and technology management. I tran-
sitioned to a greater product development focus--- especially for
drugs and vaccines---as a result of my command time at the
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and earned Level III
certi cation in program management."
He started in his current role in 2009. "When I started, I noticed
that our sta had much of the training and certi cation they
needed. But what I didn't realize is that many had gotten that
training a long time ago. What they learned wasn't applicable
to the way we do contracting now, or they worked in just one
area and weren't well-versed in how other processes worked. We
spent a lot of time getting our sta the right training."
e other challenge he faced was demonstrating to stakeholders
the importance of USAMRMC's work. "We've spent a lot of
time with [the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition,
logistics and technology], the G-8, the House and the Senate,
getting them to understand the value of what we do," he said.
"We've walked people through the process of using our products
as if they were a recruit, on the battle eld or recovering from
injury, to demonstrate how our products work and how they
help the war ghter."
Keeping an eye on true north is good for the career, too. "If you
succeed on behalf of the war ghter, career opportunities will
present themselves abundantly."
He also noted the importance of career-broadening opportuni-
ties, networking with other services, agencies and industry, and
completing required and recommended acquisition training.
"Lead something," he said. "Solutions for the war ghter only
happen when someone provides initiative, responsibility and
direction. Let that someone be you."
---MS. SUSAN L. FOLLETT
LEADING FROM THE FRONT
Dr. Kenneth Bertram addresses the workforce during the 2016 Decision
Gate Awards ceremony at USAMRMC headquarters at Fort Detrick. (U.S.
Army photo by Crystal Maynard, USAMRMC)
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
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