COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, Strategic and Operational Rockets and Missiles Project Office
TITLE: Program Integration Officer
YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 11
YEARS OF MILITARY SERVICE: 20 years
DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level III in program management
EDUCATION: B.S. in business administration, Columbia College
AWARDS: Achievement Medal for Civilian Service
HOMETOWN: Hopewell, Virginia
by Ellen Summey
If you know Jim Elliott, you know he loves playing sports. He has always been competitive by nature, something that is evident in his personal life and his professional life. “Most people know me for my love of sports and playing sports, such as golf and baseball. This competitive drive to win or succeed definitely has commonality with my professional career,” he said. Elliott is the program integration officer for the Strategic and Operational Rockets and Missiles (STORM) Project Office within the Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space (PEO MS). PM STORM is responsible for the development, testing, acquisition, fielding and sustainment of the STORM portfolio of launchers and munitions. In this role, Elliott focuses on strategy and teamwork—likely drawing more inspiration from the sports world.
“My position requires me to assist the STORM project manager and deputy project manager in strategic planning and synchronization across the product teams with PEO MS staff, Department of the Army staff and other teams to ensure programmatic success,” he said. “I also assist in science and technology synchronization with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation and Missile Center and Army Capabilities Manager, ensuring future requirements are addressed.” In addition, he is the “face of the project office” to warfighters in the field when they have questions, issues or concerns regarding the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and associated munitions.
Elliott has been part of the Army Acquisition Workforce for 11 years now, but he has been involved with Army rockets for decades. It’s something that people often find interesting about his work. “My 20 years of service in the U.S. Army as an active-duty Multiple Launch Rocket System and High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launchers crew member from 1986 to 2010, with a four-year break after my initial enlistment.” While he was serving as a crew member on the MLRS and HIMARS launchers, he became interested in project requirements and capabilities, which ultimately led him to return to the Army as a civilian after completing his active-duty service.
“As the senior capabilities noncommisioned officer at the ACM [Army Capabilities Manager] office in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, I worked directly with the project office of future requirments and capabilities, which I found very interesting, and I desired to continue work in this field after active duty,” he recalled. “I was hired by the project office directly after active duty in 2010, as the Field Artillery Launchers Product Office product integrator.” Elliott said he is passionate about providing warfighters with tools and capabilities that will allow them to dominate the battlefield, another facet of his career that begs a sports comparison. He has never forgotten his teammates, and he knows what it takes to win the game.
Elliott said he learned some important lessons and had many impactful experiences during his years on active duty, and he is happy to share his insights with younger Soldiers and civilians today. “I always engage our young acquisition captains, majors and young acquisition specialists to provide advice in career enhancement and opportunities to excel in their field,” he said. “Also, in 2012, I created a commander’s course, allowing young acquisition personnel to receive hands-on training with our launcher platforms and gain a better understanding, from the Soldier’s point of view, of the programs they are managing.”
What have been the most important points of his career? Elliott cited the three most poignant experiences. “The first significant point in my career was deploying in 2011 to Afghanistan in support of Joint Special Operations Command for a munitions failure investigation.” According to Elliott, another important career milestone happened in 2012 when he was “leading a software program to bring organic software for the launcher platforms into the U.S. government. This milestone was a first for a major weapons combat system and is currently fielded to the platforms in the field.” And finally, he said he learned a lot when working in support of U.S. Special Operations Command. “I led a software development program from 2013 to 2016 to provide fire support from maritime vessels with our launchers and munitions.”
More recently, he completed the Army Supervisors Development Course, and he definitely recommends it to others. The Supervisor Development Course is a web-based course with lessons that focus on supervising civilian employees. It equips supervisors with the knowledge necessary to successfully manage work processes and lead teams in the Army environment, and is required for anyone who supervises Army civilian employees. “I completed the Supervisors Development Course in March 2021,” he said. “The course provided a wealth of information and knowledge in supervising Department of Defense civil servants. This course is critical to becoming a supervisor.”
Throughout his 20 years of active duty service and his 11 years as an Army civilian, Elliott has learned and experienced countless important lessons. The most important though, he listed without a moment’s hesitation. “Bad news never gets better with time. Provide honest tactful feedback. Integrity is everything.” On the sports field and in his career, he is a team builder and motivator, always sharing advice with others and keeping his focus on the ultimate goal—equipping his team to win.
“Faces of the Force” is an online series highlighting members of the Army Acquisition Workforce through the power of individual stories. Profiles are produced by the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center Communication and Support Branch, working closely with public affairs officers to feature Soldiers and civilians serving in various AL&T disciplines. For more information, or to nominate someone, please go to https://asc.army.mil/web/publications/army-alt-submissions/.