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    Texas Military Department Hosts DOD Executive Leadership Development Program, demonstrates National Guard capabilities

    DOD ELDP comes to Camp Swift

    Photo By Nadine Wiley De Moura | Members of the Department of Defense's Executive Leadership Development Program...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Nadine Wiley De Moura 

    Texas Joint Counterdrug Task Force

    Austin, TEXAS ---The 33rd cohort of the Department of Defense’s Executive Leadership Development Program graduated after completing a 10-month global tour of DOD components, June 5, 2019.
    The Texas Military Department hosted the 64 cohort members in a 16-stop statewide tour that showcased the National Guard’s vast inventory of assets, training and capabilities in April.

    “The Texas Military Department has hosted this program for seven years now,” Eileen Godinez, deputy program manager for the Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service. “When it was first brought up that we wanted to give the students a [National] Guard experience in a border state, Texas stepped up to that and they have been amazingly supportive and wonderful in coordinating this year after year.”

    Students had the opportunity to travel across the state to multiple Texas National Guard facilities, learn about the current Texas Southwest Border issues, learning directly from the Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Patrol, Office of Field Operations and the and the Texas National Guard Joint Counterdrug Task Force.

    “We do a multi-city deployment for this one [Texas] because we like to simulate what a Guardsmen goes through in having to travel to your duty station for your weekend or two-week training when your installation isn’t necessarily in your back yard,” said Godinez. “This group of individuals are at the mid-level in their career and it is important that we take them outside of the proponent or particular agency that they come from and really give them a broader perspective of the DOD.”

    The ELDP program, directed by the Secretary of Defense since 1985, provides future DOD leaders with deliberate experiential leadership development opportunities over the course of 10 months.

    “We immerse the students in activities such as live fire, observe trainings and we stay in barracks,” said Godinez “We work with all of the services so that they can get a perspective on how they work in a joint environment together, how they train and how they fight.”

    ELDP students spend two weeks in the classroom at the executive management training facility in Southbridge, Massachusetts. The rest of the course involves a series of deployments, or hands-on visits to field environments, throughout the world for training.

    During the cohort’s visit to Texas, students rode in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter over Camp Swift, participated in Humvee roll-over training, fired machine guns, toured Camp Mabry facilities, visited the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base touring the 136th Airlift Wing and spoke with general officers.

    “It is important ELDP has the opportunity to learn about the three branches of the military in the state of Texas…for the sole purpose of gaining a better understanding of the Texas National Guard--specifically our support to civil authorities,” said Maj. Samantha Martinez, Texas National Guard Joint Counterdrug Task Force Operations officer-in charge and the lead project officer for the event.

    “The members of this cohort are projected to one day, be the general officer equivalent decision-makers within government which will require them to make decisions that could directly impact the Texas National Guardsmen serving in their warfighter function,” said Martinez, a former graduate of ELDP. “This experiential leadership course allows the cohort to directly discuss with Soldiers and Airmen the reality of what we, as Guardsmen, do in our home unit and how we prepare for the war.”
    Martinez is one of two Texas Guardsmen who have graduated from the ELDP.

    Currently, there is one retired Airman, Chief Master Sgt. Oscar Tey, and one active Airman, Capt. Bruce Robison in the program from the Texas Air National Guard in this most recent class.

    “This program is a melting pot of diversity encapsulating expertise across the DOD Enterprise allowing you to learn different perspectives supporting the warfighter,” said Robison Texas National Guard Joint Counterdrug Task Force, Region South officer-in-charge. “The collaboration among the current cohort members and alumni are invaluable to the success of the ELDP program and its graduates.”

    The cohort visited the Texas Military Department Joint Operations Center and were briefed on the structure of the National Guard organization to include state, federal and homeland defense missions in partnerships with civil authorities. Students also visited Army National Guard, Air National Guard and State Guard facilities for question and answer sessions.

    For many of the civilians it was the first time in their lives experiencing field training, heavy duty live fire and seeing what Guardsmen do.

    “Having a grander scope and broader perspective of the larger enterprise helps you, as a leader, to move forward and make those decisions and maybe acknowledge something that is a crucial part in the workforce, warfighter and the lethality chain that could be the make or break moment if and when we ever need to use it,” said Melissa Beaverson, an ELDP student who works in the Pentagon for the Joint Chief of Staffs for Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment Directorate, J-8.

    “Things change so wherever we are in our current or future jobs there is a potential that we could make decisions that have second and third order effects in the field,” Beaverson added. “If you have a disconnect from that, you may be purchasing or acquiring equipment or making policies and decisions that adversely affect the boots on the ground---the people who are actually trying to use the equipment and train.

    Beaverson said that her largest take away during the trip was the amount of contraband that is diverted through the efforts of the Customs and Border Patrol and Texas National Guard Joint Counterdrug Task Force.

    “They do so much with such a limited workforce,” said Beaverson. “It does contribute to a better life and better security for our nation. The National Guard and the Border Patrol are one of those critical components of the security of our country who keep in line the vision that we have going forward for future generations. I think it is one of the least-known components for DOD civilians.”

    Martinez noted that the strong long-term relationships between the Texas National Guard, the Counterdrug program and law enforcement partners allowed for the success in coordinating the statewide ELDP visits.

    “Our law enforcement agency partners understand the importance of the truth and sharing the realities of what is occurring on the border today,” Martinez said. “Ultimately, in the near future, the graduates of this program will have part in conversations and make decisions that will directly impact the warfighter and their experiences here in Texas this week are a contributor to the decision that will be made.

    “Hosting ELDP is Hosting ELDP is consistently an opportunity to tell our story because students walk away with a wealth of knowledge on all Texas Military Department components to include what we need to be successful in our assigned roles.”



    Date Taken: 07.16.2019
    Date Posted: 07.16.2019 15:29
    Story ID: 331610
    Location: AUSTIN, TX, US 

    Web Views: 179
    Downloads: 0