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Future Leaders see Opportunity on the Horizon

By Brian Melanephy, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division | Oct. 23, 2017

PORT HUENEME, Calif. – Three Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) employees, Antoin Abboud, Tracy Phillips and Kimberly Carr recently received good news; they were accepted to the Defense Civilian Emerging Leadership Program (DCELP).

Phillips, a Port Hueneme, Calif. local, and Abboud, from Puerto Rico, have both worked at NSWC PHD for a little more than two years, Phillips returned to federal service in April of 2015 and Abboud started straight out of college in September of the same year.

Abboud is a computer engineer; Phillips and Carr are logistics management specialists. Phillips’ work is specifically focused on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, where she serves as an availability planner.

Abboud and Phillips received information about the course via e-mail and both thought it would be a great opportunity.

"There was a notification looking for interested parties to apply for the program. I took a look at the course content, thought it would be a fit and threw my hat in the ring," Phillips said. "My supervisor [Charlie Hopkins] was very supportive; it was nice to have his backing."

DCELP is a Department of Defense (DoD) program focused on leader development. It establishes a baseline for further growth and development for each participant. The program exposes students to competencies needed and supports the DoD civilian leader development framework.

In order to be considered for the program applicants must submit a nominee information sheet, one-page biography, current resume, Standard Form 50 and a statement of interest. In addition, each packet requires a supervisor's assessment.

There are two cohorts for the program – one cohort is for employees in the grades of GS-7 through 12 (or equivalent) and interns from the acquisition, financial management and human resources communities. The second cohort is open to all career fields.

The program consists of online learning and resident phases. The curriculum includes public service motivation, decisiveness, DoD mission and culture, interpersonal skills, written and oral communication, problem solving, conflict management, accountability, influencing, negotiating, strategic thinking and leveraging diversity. There is also a self-assessment and a block of instruction on conflict resolution.

The resident component of the course is broken up into four one-week seminars and is conducted at the DoD Executive Management Training Center in Southbridge, Massachusetts. Before attending certain resident phases of the course students must complete two significant assignments. One is a capstone research project on a real-world issue affecting the DoD, the other is an introspective paper detailing the participant’s perceptions, knowledge gained and promised return on investment to the DoD.

Phillips starts the course in January 2018; Abboud does not have a firm start date yet, but anticipates beginning in the summer of 2018. Both are excited and optimistic about what they will learn during the program and how it will shape their future at NSWC PHD.

"I think that continued development of my personal and professional skills will make me a better leader in public service," Abboud said. "My hope is that I will become a better asset for the command by leading teams and projects in the future."

Editor’s note: Kimberly Carr was unavailable for an interview prior to the publication deadline.