COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence, Train- ing and Doctrine Command, Joint Base San Antonio – Fort Sam Houston, Texas

TITLE: Fellow, U.S. Food and Drug Administration



AAW/DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level III in program management, Level III in science and technology management

EDUCATION: Ph.D. in pharmacology and molecular sciences, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; B.S. in biochem- istry and molecular biology and B.S. in Spanish, both from Ursinus College; Project Management Professional (PMP) from Project Management Institute

AWARDS: Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal (2nd award); Joint Service Commendation Medal; Army Commendation Medal (2nd award); Joint Service Achievement Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Army Superior Unit Award; Korea Defense Service Medal; Armed Forces Service Medal; Expert Field Medical Badge; 2019 Edison Award (Gold) for Applied Technology, Lessons Learned; Alan Faden Award of Excellence, National Neurotrauma Society Symposium

ome kids are just born with the need to know why. Why is the sky blue? Why do birds fly? Why is thunder so loud? For Maj. Andrea Mountney, that’s a very familiar story. “I was always very curious, always into science, whether it was biol- ogy or physics. My son is two and a half now, and my mother reminds me that

when I was his age, my favorite word was ‘why.’ Everything was ‘Why? Why? Why?’ ” And so far, she hasn’t stopped asking.

Mountney did not follow the most common path to her Army commission as a research psychologist and medical acquisition professional. She already had earned a Ph.D. in phar- macology and molecular sciences from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and was working as a research scientist at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, when an active-duty colleague asked her if she’d ever consider commissioning as an Army research scientist. “All credit to Lt. Col. Kara Schmid,” she said. Schmid, an Army neuroscientist, had planted the seed in Mountney’s mind, and the idea was too intriguing to pass up— even when she was offered a direct-hire government civilian position.

“I took quite a bit of time reflecting on the decision, because turning down a direct-hire position in the D.C. area was not insignificant,” she recalled. “Ultimately, I joined the Army because of the challenge. It was a nontraditional career path, but the opportunity to serve as an Army officer, particularly as a research scientist, was a once-in-a-lifetime decision, and I didn’t want to look back with regret—so I submitted my packet for consid- eration.” She was drawn to the idea of conducting research that might enable better outcomes following traumatic brain injury (TBI) and help improve the lives of service members bearing the “invisible wounds” of combat. And though her work has taken on a different focus, she said she knows she was right to join the Army. “I know it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.”

Mountney has taken to acquisition like a duck to water, a transition she credits to the similarities between the profession and her earlier studies—and the encouragement of Schmid and her broader professional network. “Te day I came back from [the Basic Officer Leader Course in] San Antonio, [Schmid] said, ‘Great, you’re here. You can do Acquisition 101, and get started on it right away.’ Researchers, especially in the medical domain, are inherently acquisition professionals, yet we need help seeing the broader role we play executing full-spectrum operations as military officers. My graduate degree set the stage while [Defense Acquisition University] classes, my assignments and my mentors helped to translate critical thinking into tangible problem solving and solutions for the DOD and broader U.S. population.”

Mountney spent the last year and half working as the program lead for the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense’s (JPEO- CBRND) Joint Project Manager for CBRN Medical assisted acquisition for needles and syringes program in support of the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign (See “Tip of the Needle,” Page 42). “We worked alongside the Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] to provide vaccination materials as part of the ‘whole of government’ effort in response to the global pandemic and COVID-19 public health crisis,” she said. She had previously served as the deputy joint product manager within Chemical Defense


Army AL&T Magazine Winter 2022

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