From the Editor-in-Chief

FINDING THE BEST TEAM POSSIBLE “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.”

—Advertisement supposedly placed by Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition


n 1914, explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton led a party to be the first to traverse the continent of Antarctica. Shackle- ton chose the best team possible for this unusual mission by looking for character traits he knew would be needed for

success—strong, mentally tough adventure seekers. Te mission was so daunting that these criteria were captured in a concise yet dramatic ad that in itself became the stuff of legend. (Shackle- ton may have drafted such an appeal, but no evidence exists that it ever actually ran.)

Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a monumentally success- ful expedition became a grim fight for survival as the ice field in the Weddell Sea slowly thickened, encasing and eventually crushing the explorers’ ship Endurance and leaving the party of 28 men stranded on an ice floe. For the better part of two years, Shackleton guided his men in the most unforgiving environment in the world—against brutal cold, raging seas and the constant threat of starvation—to an eventual rescue. Shackleton and his crew were eventually honored and recognized, not for crossing the continent of Antarctica, but rather for extraordinary leader- ship, teamwork and survival.

Today, like Shackleton, Army acquisition wants women and men to take part in a journey, one that, if successful, will bring them honor and recognition—building the next generation of systems and equipment our Soldiers need to fight and win on the battle- field. But how do you get the right person for the right job with the right skills, mindset and training to rise to greatness?

A lot has changed in the 106 years since Shackleton’s exploration. To get the right person today is a little more complicated than posting what we are looking for in an advertisement. In today’s Army Acquisition Workforce, we are asking current and future employees what they are interested in doing. We place more value on the potential employee’s buy-in to the position, to their desire to be part of the group, instead of the group deciding if the person is fit to be part of them.

Studies have shown that employees have the ability to choose, to some extent, where they work, and they tend to select companies that they identify with. Giving employees that flexibility tends to boost a company’s overall performance. How to balance the needs

and culture of the individual with the needs and culture of the Army is still a work in progress, but one that will pay huge dividends when done properly.


Email Nelson McCouch III

In this issue, we address the question of how Army acquisition is getting innovative in satisfying its need to put the right skills in the right place at the right time. In “Train the Way You Fight” on Page 24, Chérie Smith, program executive officer (PEO) for Enterprise Information Systems, details her vision of talent management at the PEO level. Smith focuses on imparting the basics of acquisition and program management to employees, along with an understanding of how those principles play out in real-world settings with real-life outcomes for Soldiers. It’s a balancing act, she said, of hands-on experience and classroom education.

How do you prepare for the year 2025 and beyond? Send your existing workforce to needed training now to reach your busi- ness goals for tomorrow. “Software Talent Goes to School,” on Page 30, shows how the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command Software Engineering Center is doing just that.

And speaking of training, we have a firsthand account of what a developmental assignment can mean to a career. In “ ‘HACQ- ing’ for Defense” on Page 84, Rajal Ganatra explains how she happened to land a career-broadening assignment with the Defense Innovation Unit and suddenly found herself in Califor- nia and on the cutting edge of defense acquisition. And don’t miss “Embracing Creative Destruction,” on Page 64, by Dr. Bozena “Bonnie” Berdej. Tis piece is based on her study, for her doctoral dissertation, of the literature of creative destruction, emotional intelligence and communication. She shows how, during a time of change and “creative destruction,” the Army needs to do a far better job of communicating.

If you hate change, these are not the times for you. But if you’re up for an adventure, honor and recognition may be yours! As always, if you have comments, story ideas or a story of your own to submit, please contact us at We look forward to hearing from you.

Nelson McCouch III Editor-in-Chief 3

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