Hitting the ground running

By November 20, 2018Faces of the Force
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Maj. Hassan Kamara

COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center
TITLE: Acquisition proponency officer
DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level II in program management
EDUCATION: M.A. in strategic studies, Naval Postgraduate School; M.A. in acquisition and procurement, Webster University; B.A. in political science, Arizona State University
AWARDS: Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal

Hitting the ground running

by Susan L. Follett 

Just five months into his assignment as acquisition proponency and leader development officer at the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center (USAASC), Maj. Hassan Kamara already has rolled out the pilot for DOD Industry Exchange, a new leadership development program. That seems like a quick start for most people, but Kamara thinks he could have been even quicker. “I wish I had taken the time to learn more about USAASC, its people and its capabilities,” he said. “For my next assignment, I’ll be sure that I know those things before I start so I can leverage them to make an impact sooner.”

Kamara manages military and civilian leader development programs within the Director, Acquisition Career Management (DACM) Office. It’s a position that allows him to use skills he picked up from his previous assignment on the U.S. Forces Korea and Combined Forces Command Joint and Multinational Staff. “In the leadership and staff operations positions I served in before joining the Acquisition Corps, I learned that empowering people with a functional organization structure, training, resources, authority and a mission focus is critical to organizational success.”

Unlike other Army units and organizations, Kamara noted, the Acquisition Corps “is a civilian-heavy community of specialized professionals across multiple career fields like engineering, science and technology, program management and contracting. This cross-functional nature demands a more participatory and collaborative style of leadership compared to the more directive style of leadership common in regular Army units.”

He also noted that the hardest part of his job is also the most rewarding—“helping build high-performing teams to accomplish my organization’s mission. I address that by treating the people I work with the way I want to be treated, doing my share of tasks, and helping my teammates.”

Kamara joined the Acquisition Corps six years ago, looking for the opportunity to make a greater impact on the Army’s capabilities and mission. “The Army Acquisition Corps offers me the opportunity to build overmatch capabilities for my fellow Soldiers to use in accomplishing the Army’s mission to fight and win the nation’s conflicts,” he said. “My greatest satisfaction comes from seeing how the capabilities fielded by the acquisition community enhance the Army’s warfighting edge.”

For Kamara, transitioning into the Acquisition Corps “was a positive experience because my branch manager took the time to talk to me about the Advanced Civil Schooling opportunities that were available to me,” he said, noting that as a result, he was able to attend the Naval Postgraduate School. “I strongly encourage officers entering the Acquisition Corps to take advantage of Advanced Civil Schooling and other leader development opportunities offered by the Army DACM Office, like Training With Industry.”

Kamara meets Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper during Esper’s visit to the Army Futures Command Task Force in Arlington, Virginia, in December 2017. (Photo courtesy of Army Futures Command Public Affairs

Kamara meets Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper during Esper’s visit to the Army Futures Command Task Force in Arlington, Virginia, in December 2017. (Photo courtesy of Army Futures Command Public Affairs)

His first acquisition position was as assistant product manager in the Patriot Advanced Capability – 3 Missile Program in the Lower Tier Project Office of the Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, where he helped manage performance improvements and foreign military sales portfolios. “It was challenging as expected, and perhaps the most challenging aspect of it was the frequent travel required to effectively manage my part of the program portfolio,” he said. “I traveled to cities on both coasts of the U.S. and to Qatar, a U.S. ally that uses the Patriot missile system.” Despite the travel, he said that the assignment was one of the most impactful of his career so far. “Helping manage an Acquisition Category I program capability into production gave me my initial understanding and experience of program management and Army acquisition.”

His work on the Army Futures Studies Group (formerly the Chief of Staff of the Army Future Studies Group) and the Army Futures Command Task Force, which planned, built and activated the Army Futures Command in August 2018, also made an impression. “That assignment gave me valuable exposure and understanding of strategic leadership through frequent interaction with the Army’s strategic leaders and strategic thinkers in industry and academia.”

You might have seen Kamara’s name on these pages over the past few years. He has twice been honored in the Maj. Gen. Harold J. “Harry” Greene Awards for Acquisition Writing, submitting the winning entry in the future operations category in the 2016 awards and taking home honorable mention in the same category in the 2015 awards.

He has also published articles on military innovation and transformation in military and academic journals, “growing the body of knowledge that’s available,” he said. In early 2018, he wrote an article on infantry squad reform that was published in the March edition of Military Review. Late last year, he wrote and published a study on the Army Combat Developments Command through the Association of the United States Army’s (AUSA) Institute of Land Warfare that was featured at AUSA’s Annual Meeting & Exposition. “The paper got some great feedback,” said Kamara, who has been in the Army for 15 years. “The most important professional lesson I’ve learned over the course of my career is to continuously improve myself by reading, thinking and writing on diverse aspects of the Army profession.”

Related Links:
2015 Maj. Gen. Harold J. “Harry” Greene Awards for Acquisition Writing https://asc.army.mil/web/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/2015MGGreeneAwards-JFM16-Jan7.pdf
2016 Maj. Gen. Harold J. “Harry” Greene Awards for Acquisition Writing https://asc.army.mil/web/news-alt-jfm17-no-one-would-be-more-proud/
Rethinking the Infantry Rifle Squad https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Journals/Military-Review/English-Edition-Archives/March-April-2018/Kamara-Infantry-Rifle-Squad/
Army Combat Developments Command: A Way to Modernize Better and Faster Than the Competition https://www.ausa.org/publications/army-combat-developments-command-way-modernize-better-and-faster-competition

“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 contact 703-664-5635.

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