By Kristine Faria
Defense Acquisition University’s Senior Service College Fellowship (DAU-SSCF) Program achieved a significant milestone last month as the 10th class of senior civilian acquisition professionals graduated from the highly competitive leadership and education course. In its 10 years, DAU-SSCF has educated more than 215 students in a 10-month program of study that prepares senior level civilians for key leadership roles and important acquisition leadership positions, including product and project managers and program executive officers.
DAU-SSCF traces its origins to May 15, 2006, when Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Yakovac Jr., then the Director, Army Acquisition Career Management, announced a pilot program for mid-senior-level DA civilians in the Huntsville, Alabama, area. After successful completion of the pilot, the program then expanded to Warren, Michigan, in 2007 and Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, in 2009. These locations are home to large numbers of SSCF-eligible acquisition workforce professionals, so locating campuses at these sites enables DAU to provide the program to its main population hubs. The program’s high quality was recognized in March 2013 when Army G-3 granted it Military Education Level 1 (MEL-1). DAU-SSCF is the only fellowship of its kind with the MEL-1 designation and the first civilian-only senior service college program to receive military accreditation.
According to Mark Lumb, executive director of DAU-SSCF, the program’s foundation is the Army’s “Be-Know-Do” leadership model. “SSCF first helps fellows become more self-aware by understanding themselves better within the ‘Be’ portion of the model,” he said.
During this initial phase, participants develop their understanding of leadership tenets and skills and gain personal insights via assessments and inventories. Later, in the “Know” phase, fellows develop a critical thinking paradigm through participation in an intense 10-week, case-study-based course. Finally, as they move into the “Do” portion of the program, fellows participate in on-camera interviews, leadership simulations, research projects and site visits that put their newfound skills to work.
“The goal,” said Lumb, “is to produce leaders who have strong critical thinking skills and who can thrive in leading [in] environments of uncertainty and chaos.”
Other key components of the fellowship include studies in executive leadership and national security, a senior leadership speakers program, studies in resource requirements and acquisition integration, and mentoring with government and industry senior leaders. In addition, fellows may pursue a master’s degree in management and leadership.
Army Acquisition Workforce members make up the majority of DAU-SSCF participants, but acquisition workforce members from other services as well as DOD agencies are welcome to apply as long as they meet eligibility requirements.
For more information about DAU-SSCF, please visit https://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/defense-acquisition-university-senior-service-college/