NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD, Portsmouth, Va. –
Initiative and drive helps those seeking new experiences to take the leap into the unknown. For Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s (NNSY) Acquisition Forecasting Department (Code 1253) Acquisition Specialist Tom Angle, it was the determination to further develop his leadership skills that led him to the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Journey Level Leadership (JLL) Program.
Originally hailing from Freeport, Ohio, Angle has had a distinguished career, both as a civilian and serving with the United States Army from 1992 to 2003. Angle finished his Army career as a Airborne Jumpmaster and Satellite Communications Supervisor at Fort Bragg, NC. After medically retiring from the Army, he served as a telecommunications contractor for one year in Iraq and two years here in Hampton Roads, before taking on the role of stay-at-home dad of his two children and being a full-time college student. Thanks to the military’s GI Bill, he finished his college education with an MBA from Saint Leo University.
In 2011, he officially joined NNSY as a Base Support Office (Code 800) Military Management Specialist before joining the Business and Strategic Planning Office (Code 1200) as a Workload Forecaster. He has also served in Code 1200 as the lead of the NNSY Data Analytics Lab and is now serving as an Acquisition Specialist.
“I was eager to further develop as a leader and I started looking for opportunities within NAVSEA that would help me reach that goal,” said Angle.
That’s when he found the JLL Program, the second of three distinct leadership programs offered by NAVSEA to develop the skills needed at different levels in someone’s career. The program seeks the top mid-level performers across the enterprise, providing them with the opportunities to develop and strengthen their leadership skills to advance as capable leaders. It is offered as a one-year experience where participants complete training sessions, and take part in shadowing opportunities, team projects, as well as a three-month rotation with another command to gain an outside perspective from their home command. Angle decided to apply for the fiscal year 2021 program and was accepted into the JLL Program’s Cadre VII.
Angle was excited for the endeavors ahead of him; however, a significant roadblock obstructed his path – the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The training sessions that would normally be scheduled in person at the Washington Navy Yard were conducted virtually. What’s more, the rotational portion of the experience was limited due to COVID travel restrictions and rotations were approved to be conducted virtually as well.
“There were limited opportunities for in-person rotations so I began to think boldly in finding something available that was related to my line of work,” said Angle. He began reviewing the biographies of those who had provided virtual mentoring sessions to the JLL program and found Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (DASN) Acquisition Policy & Budget (APB) Ms. Jaimie Reese. “Her clarity of thought, insistence on high standards, approach to staff inclusion, and genuine desire to take care of her people made for an engaging Flash Mentoring session. What’s more, her title had acquisitions in it, which related to my line of work at the shipyard, but she was conducting acquisitions work for the entire Navy. I knew a rotation with her department wouldn’t happen if I didn’t ask, so I boldly took that step.”
Angle’s rotation with DASN APB was accepted and he was soon at the Pentagon attending meetings with such leaders as Frederick “Jay” Stefany – Assistant Secretary of the Navy (ASN) for Research, Development, and Acquisition (RDA) and VADM Moran – Principal Military Deputy to ASN RDA, where discussions about the Navy’s defensive and offensive capabilities development occurred. One interesting meeting discussed the progress of the new fleet of presidential helicopters.
Angle stated that he continued to wear his NNSY badge lanyard and represent the shipyard while at the Pentagon and on several occasions was stopped by Pentagon staff to make the connection to their own experience at NNSY, many of who had parents or grandparents that have worked at NNSY.
Angle’s rotation was not simply an observational opportunity, but a working assignment where he was given career broadening tasks, exposing him to data analytics, reporting systems, the development of naval acquisition policies, and more. During his three months at the Pentagon, he provided a supporting role in the development of the new Navy acquisition policy (SNI 5000.2G) and also developed the Navy acquisition reference material known as the ‘AAF Gold Card’ that has been posted to DAU and utilized by other DoD branches. Both encompassed the new DoD Adaptive Acquisition Framework (AAF), a completely new DoD structure for government acquisions. For his efforts while with DASN APB, Angle was given a Letter of Commendation from Ms. Jamie Reese and presented by CAPT Wolfson.
“When I applied for the JLL program, never did I imagine that I would have the career broadening experience at the Pentagon or interactive mentoring sessions with the highest levels of Navy leadership. Even during COVID restrictions, this program was a game changer.” said Angle.
Angle graduated from the program Sept. 21 and has since returned to NNSY to utilize his newfound skills in his day-to-day operations. When asked what advice he would give his fellow crewmates interested in similar programs, he said, “As NIKE says, ‘just do it.’ No one should be more invested in your career and building up your skills than you. To get to the next level, you’ll have to take the leap in finding ways to get to where you want to go.”
To learn more about the JLL and other NAVSEA leadership programs, visit https://www.navsea.navy.mil/Portals/103/Documents/LeadershipContinuumFINAL.pdf.