Defense Civilian Emerging Leader Program

By August 15, 2019November 14th, 2019Career Development, DCELP
Diana Torres
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Army acquisition civilians complete DOD program, build leadership skills for the future


By Kristine Faria

FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Aug. 15, 2019)—Fourteen civilians from the Army Acquisition Workforce completed the Defense Civilian Emerging Leader Program (DCELP) in June, developing a full range of competencies needed to lead teams and projects.

The completion of the program was marked with a graduation ceremony that featured a keynote address from José Gonzalez, executive director of Human Capital Initiatives in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (OUSD(A&S)). In his speech, Gonzalez congratulated the graduates on their achievement and challenged them to help drive positive change and define their futures.

"DCELP photo Gonzalez

José Gonzalez addresses the DCELP graduating class at the June 14 ceremony. As executive director of Human Capital Initiatives, Gonzalez advises the USD(A&S) on matters relating to the policy and governance of the DOD acquisition workforce, which numbers roughly 169,000. (Photo courtesy of OUSD(A&S) Human Capital Initiatives)

Participants joined other professionals from across DOD to take part in this leader development program in Southbridge, Massachusetts. Between March and June 2019, the DCELP students met for four separate seminars, each a week long, at the DOD Executive Management Training Center in south-central Massachusetts.

Each of the four seminars centered on a leadership theme: know self, express self, build teams and lead people. To immerse students in each theme, instructors presented learning modules that focused on several topics, including emotional intelligence, effective writing, leveraging diversity, and problem-solving and decision-making. Activities such as peer coaching, presentations and team challenges further contributed to the students’ leader development experience. As part of the program, each student also completed a formal writing assignment on a topic relevant to the DOD or to the student’s command or organization.

Feedback from the Army acquisition professionals who took part in DCELP was very positive.

“DCELP instructors made me think extensively, which improved my critical-thinking skills and prepared me for real-life situations,” said Antoinette Hunt of the Army Contracting Command (ACC) – Warren, Michigan. “I am responsible for solving complex problems that require high-quality results. The DCELP program assisted me by teaching me exceptional critical-thinking skills and showing me that the answers will not always be apparent.”

In an article posted by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, Eva Rosvold spoke of the importance of internal and external awareness. “The course really gave me a chance to find myself,” said Rosvold, an acquisition workforce development manager, “and you learn that when it comes to being a leader, what’s going on with you doesn’t just affect you personally, it also affects your whole team.”

Diana Torres, ACC – Picatinny, New Jersey, who came to the leadership program with prior military experience, said, “My participation in the DCELP enhanced my military acquisition/logistics managerial experience from a DOD civilian perspective, and gave me new insights on how to lead and manage civilians effectively.” Torres also alluded to the long-term value of the program: “The return on investment to the DOD of any DCELP participant will be seasoned employees who are dependable and remain committed to supporting the warfighter.”

Diana Torres, ACC-Picatinny, introduces herself to her fellow DCELP students during the first week of the program in Southbridge, Massachusetts. As part of the introductions, students explain how they support the warfighter and describe what drives their desire to lead. (Photo courtesy of OUSD(A&S) Human Capital Initiatives)


The DCELP, which is DOD’s leader development program for those in grades GS-7 through GS-12, will open its next application period in early 2020, with classes starting in spring 2021. For current dates, go to

Congratulations to all 14 Army Acquisition Workforce DCELP 2019 graduates:
Yulanda Bee, U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command
Gerard Bernazzani, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command
Emanuel Edwards, Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space
Timothy Free, ACC-Redstone, Alabama
Klaudia Grabias, ACC-Picatinny
Antoinette Hunt, ACC-Warren
Thomas Maloney, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command
Steven Palmer, ACC-Redstone
Robert Quast, ACC-Rock Island, Illinois
Eva Rosvold, U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM)
Edward Sherwood, ACC-Picatinny
Dawn Simington, MEDCOM
Petrina Stack, Special Forces Command
Diana Torres, ACC-Picatinny

DCELP attendees

Acquisition professionals from across DOD, including 14 from the Army, gather for a photo after their June 14 DCELP graduation ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jeremy D. Alexander and Anna Alexander)


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