COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: Program Executive Office (PEO) Missiles and Space, Strategic and Operational Rockets and Missiles (STORM) Project Office
TITLE: International program management specialist
YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 6 years
YEARS OF MILITARY SERVICE: 3.5 years
DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level III program management
EDUCATION: B.S. in commerce and business administration, University of Alabama
AWARDS: Good Conduct Medal (2013), Army Achievement Medal (2013), Army Certificate of Achievement (2012 and 2013), Order of the Silver Spur (2012), Army Commendation Medal (2011), Order of the Combat Spur (2011)
by Cheryl Marino
Nick Moultrie has the kind of job that has enabled him to travel around the world and back—and according to him, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
As an international program management specialist, Moultrie has done a fair amount of traveling. In this role, he ensures for the development and execution of international armaments cooperation programs between the U.S. Army and our Allies related to the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) family of launchers and munitions. It can be said that his role is that of an arms dealer—just not the kind typically portrayed on the big screen.
“People always find it surprising that being an international arms dealer is not quite like depicted by [actor] Nicolas Cage in the movie Lord of War,” he said. Though Moultrie’s acquisition role might not be as dramatic as Cage’s, it’s far less risky, a lot more professional and unquestionably necessary for preparing our Soldiers for battle.
“My work is mainly focused on achieving synchronization of MLRS capability requirements between the United States and our allies and developing international agreements to support the development of future weapon systems capabilities,” he said. His role is critical in ensuring that Soldiers are equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry. “I find great satisfaction in being able to interface with our allied nations and continue succinct partnerships among our defense programs.”
Before Moultrie became part of the Army Acquisition Workforce, he served as a Soldier from 2010 to 2013—spending one year overseas in Iraq—and then worked as a contractor for the U.S. Army in his hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, at Redstone Arsenal. His first Army acquisition position was a systems engineering and technical assistance support contractor, working for cooperative programs within the Program Executive Office Missiles and Space, Strategic and Operational Rockets and Missiles (STORM) Project Office. Shortly thereafter, he made the transition to being a government civilian employee, working in the same office but managing his own foreign (and future potential partners) MLRS precision strike missile programs. “Having the ability to coordinate with various functional groups to solve complex issues is what I personally enjoyed the most about the position,” he said. “But the most important part of having a career within the Army Acquisition Workforce is the ability to take advantage of opportunities to expand your field of knowledge, since there is so much to learn with many lessons that could be implemented into any area of expertise.”
For Moultrie, the international realm seemed most appealing. “The idea of being an ‘International Man of Mystery’ [was too good to pass up],” he joked. But really, he said it was having the opportunity to travel the world and get a better understanding of other cultures that mainly drew him to international armaments—particularly, weapon system design and production. “I love being able to tour different production facilities and learn ‘how the omelet is made’ per se,” he said. “And my job allows me to not only experience U.S. production, but also foreign co-production facilities.”
“Being more focused on the international armaments cooperation side of international programs, I took an opportunity to learn more about the foreign military sales [FMS] side of the house, which has broadened my understanding of the security assistance process,” he said. “Armaments cooperation focuses more on the cooperative research, development and production of a product. Security assistance encompasses a large portfolio of procurement programs, FMS being one of them. In some cases, an international program can involve a hybrid ACSA [acquisition and cross servicing agreements] approach.” He said that being able to understand the processes and benefits of each side “will set you up to better be able to meet the partner’s requirements and put together a synchronous program.”
Moultrie said career development programs hosted by the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) have also been valuable in furthering his career. “DAU is beneficial in the fact that it is mandatory,” he said, so that everyone is provided with the same foundational knowledge and educational tools as they relate to your area of expertise. He said Defense Security Cooperation University (DSCU) courses have been much more informative for his line of work, and recently became a requirement for security cooperation employees to be certified both in DAU Level III program management, and DSCU’s Security Cooperation Workforce (SCW) certification. He said the combination of the two is extremely time consuming, but also beneficial and worthwhile.
According to Moultrie, there’s an endless supply of knowledge to be acquired and shared both inside and outside of work—even after you’ve learned and experienced something yourself, there is always more to learn from someone else’s experience. “Be a sponge. Soak up knowledge,” he said. And he would advise junior acquisition personnel to “seek out those with experience and pick their brains. Take as many educational assignments as you can, and do not be afraid to question processes.” Moultrie also said he would strongly encourage taking advantage of every opportunity to go travel for work, TDY (temporary duty travel), “within reason.”
Albeit, Moultrie’s definition of “within reason” might vary slightly from someone else’s. Outside of work he said he might be known as “that guy who sails.” During his time off, he enjoys bareboating in exotic locations—renting a sail boat for a week or more, whether it be a monohull or catamaran, and setting sail. “I first got into it when my dad invited me on a sailing trip he was embarking on to the British Virgin Islands in 2018. Since then I have received my Practical Day Skipper certification through the Royal Yachting Association through a week long course in Croatia.” He said this allows him to rent a vessel through most companies in the U.S. and Europe. “It does not have a thing to do with my work,” he said. “However, I am still trying to convince leadership that a teambuilding trip to Abaco [an island in the Bahamas] is warranted.” Though such a teambuilding exercise might be preferred, he realizes it would also be highly unlikely, so for now, bareboating will just have to remain a great escape for him outside of work hours.
Moultrie said his lifestyle allows him more time to be away from home, but knows for others taking that much time away from family can be difficult. “I enjoy having the opportunities to travel and get face time with our Partners, so I generally volunteer for lots of TDY, but when the workload gets tough, even I may need a break from the travel,” he said. Which gives him a chance to regroup, plan and strategize locally—as well as think about and prepare for the next sailing excursion or business trip abroad.
An outside the box thinker, Moultrie is never out of new ideas nor is he willing to accept anything at face value. “The government pays you to be a thinker, not a doer,” he joked once again, adding that the most important lesson he’s learned in the course of his career is to think things through before accepting the first idea that’s presented. “I just think there are some people who will move out on an action before putting too much thought into it,” he said. “My personal belief is that it is more important for me to think through a problem or task and give my leadership a fair assessment, rather than agreeing with the first suggestion thrown out there—learn from the best and do not be afraid to shake things up.”
“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/.