Pharmaceuticals, “leading the alterna- tive autoinjector portfolio and life cycle management of chemical defense prod- ucts.” In that role, Mountney and her team received U.S. Food and Drug Administra- tion (FDA) approval for an autoinjector to counteract chemical warfare agents, “the first approved chemical defense autoinjec- tor by the DOD in 16 years,” she said.

She has encountered many things that surprised her since commissioning eight years ago, including the scale and scope of responsibilities given to Soldiers, even relatively early in their military careers. “In terms of personnel development, one area where the Army truly excels is that it gives a high level of responsibility to a junior officer who might not necessarily have that same opportunity in the private sector,” she said. “I’ve been in the Army for eight years and, the last year that I was working at the JPEO, my budget was approximately $350 million. With that responsibility, you’re also accountable. Te Army is very good at developing leaders. While it feels like ‘sink or swim,’ where

your leadership gives you challenging, high-profile, high-impact programs, they help prepare you to execute them appro- priately. Tose who take the opportunity and trust in the system and their network are set up with the tools for success. Te COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of that leader development and investing in acquisition profession- als—particularly medical—in order to respond to the current crisis and prepare for future pandemics and similar biode- fense-related threats.”

Te scale of the effort is also something that surprised Mountney’s friends and family when she started on the needles and syringes project. “We had to secure 1.03 billion needles and syringes on contract,” she said. “Te complexity of the procurement and distribution processes are immense—the team worked, and is still working, to ensure that products are manufactured, shipped and tracked to support kitting activities with the HHS Strategic National Stockpile for distribution to states across the coun- try and potential international support, if directed. Tis challenge also involved regulatory engagements, so in addition to acquisition expertise and leadership, tech- nical and regulatory expertise for medical products were critical for our success.”


Maj. Andrea Mountney (center) with two of her Army mentors, Lt. Col. Kara Schmid, joint product manager, and Col. Ryan Eckmeier, the joint project manager for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Medical. (Photo by JPEO-CBRND)

Te key, she said, is integrating all the vari- ous skills needed in the day to day while focusing on effective communication and stakeholder management. “Understand- ing logistics, program management, how to build a portfolio, risk recognition and mitigation, proactive planning, how to appropriately engage with national senior leaders, and how the joint services work, along with prior project experiences I had, where we worked with the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], the Stra- tegic National Stockpile and the FDA, all helped with skill development. Building

relationships was a critically important factor in the last year because it truly was a ‘whole of government’ effort. Tere are so many entities involved.” She was in regu- lar communication with leaders of Army Contracting Command, Operation Warp Speed, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, and others. “Failure wasn’t an option, and this was truly was a capstone effort that capi- talized on everything I had learned over the previous eight years.”

What’s next for Mountney? She’s still asking questions. Since this writing, she has officially transitioned out of JPEO- CBRND and began a fellowship with the FDA, through the Army Medical Depart- ment’s Long-Term Health Education Training program, which is similar to the Army’s Training with Industry develop- mental opportunities. “Te goal is to gain a better understanding of the FDA’s regu- latory approval process, which will allow me to be a more effective leader in highly regulated and technical medical research, development and acquisition that can only help in serving the Army and joint force in future programs and assignments. Ideally, I should be better at knowing how to accel- erate schedule, in order to deliver medical products through the process faster, and at lower cost while sustaining the high qual- ity required of all medical acquisitions.”

Ultimately, she is driven by the knowl- edge that her work directly impacts the wellbeing of others. “My greatest satisfac- tion as a member of the Army Acquisition Workforce is working to provide tangi- ble medical products to the field in real time that are critical to saving lives. It’s a humbling experience and I am grateful to be part of the team.”


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