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Senior leadership development opportunities open for Army civilians

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (March 11, 2011) -- A limited number of slots are available for Army civilians to attend senior leadership development courses and the application deadline is June 15.

There are 39 slots available for Army GS-14s and GS-15s to attend Army colleges under the Senior Service College/Professional Military Education program. Additionally, there are 36 slots available for attendance at the colleges of other services under the Defense Senior Leader Development Program.

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"What we want to do is get the word out to GS-14s and GS-15s, who are eligible for SSC (Senior Service College) or for the DSLDP (Defense Senior Leader Development Program)," said Mark Schaefer, director of the Army Civilian Senior Leader Development Office. "These are two programs designed to provide executive education -- essentially at the apex of the civilian education system. We would like to see all those interested express interest to their chain of command."

Civilians selected under SSC could attend schooling at the Army War College, Army War College Distance Education, or the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Those selected under DSLDP would attend the schools of Army sister services.

Nomination and selection to SSC or DSLDP is extremely competitive, Schaefer said, and successful completion of either program will be "career enhancing" for those who participate and will ensure that Army civilians continue to grow both professionally and personally.

For GS-14s and GS-15s, attendance at the school provides leadership education, with an emphasis on national security decision making, strategy and policy and joint military operations, Schaefer said.

"It's designed to prepare those civilians at those grade levels with leadership potential, for the next available senior leader positions," he said. "Certainly, it's a ticket you have to punch if you want to enter the SES (Senior Executive Service). It's an important ticket."

Army civilians who want to attend the course will need to be nominated by their leadership for the limited slots, Schaefer said. And leadership should be judicious in who they nominate.

"We need supervisors to exercise their own leadership skills in nominating their very best and brightest -- those with true potential, to become Army's future senior civilian leaders," he said.

Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal has in the past emphasized his commitment to better developing the civilian workforce. While speaking with civilians during a town hall meeting at Pine Bluff Arsenal, Ark., in November, the secretary discussed his plans for Army civilians to have career paths similar to what is available for Soldiers.

"I want to be able to put everybody that is a federal employee who works for the Department of the Army on a career pathway," he said. "We have many of those, but we have a lot of people who are not on a career pathway, (but) who have generalized descriptions. They have a job and they are doing well, but if they want to move up the pyramid, there is no pathway. I want to create professional development and leadership education for our workforce just like the military."

Schaefer said opportunities like attending SSC or DSLDP are in line with the under secretary's ideas. "Development of civilian senior leaders is a key component of civilian workforce transformation. It's one of the many pieces of CWT," he said.

Specific application information for both SSC and DSLDP can be found online at:



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