Senior Service College Fellowship Program visits Capitol Hill

Fellows with the Defense Acquisition University Senior Service College Fellowship Program at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; Huntsville, Alabama; and Warren, Michigan; and Huntsville, pose at the U.S. Capitol after a two-day national security workshop held Aug. 28-29 as part of the 10-week PMT 401 Program Manager’s course. | Photo courtesy of Defense Acquisition University

Fellows with the Senior Service College Fellowship, or SSCF, program at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; and Huntsville, Alabama spent Aug., 28-29 at Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. where they participated in a national security workshop as part of the 10-week PMT 401 Program Manager’s course. Over the course of two days, the fellows heard from multiple top tier speakers representing a variety of viewpoints and perspectives on different aspects of U.S. interests, policy, national security, and the role of government.

Dr. Walter Oleszek, a senior specialist in American Government, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, and the program moderator, addressed “The Evolution of Power in Congress.” He provided an overview of Congress and discussed the separation of power and partisanship, and their impact on policy making. Dr. Colton Campbell, a professor of National Security Strategy with the National War College and a former congressional legislative aide discussed “The Role of Staff: A View from a Member’s Office.” He described his responsibilities and provided perspectives on the inner workings of Congress. In addition, Martin Russo, a former representative from Chicago, Illinois, discussed the “Myths and Realities of Legislative Politics: A Lobbyist’s Perspective.” Russo shared his views on the role of lobbyists shaped by his perspective as a former lobbyist and member of congress.

After lunch, noted author and lecturer, Gordon Chang, provided his assessments on China and North Korea, their growing world-wide influence, and their impact on the national interests of the United States. And, Martin Sieff, senior fellow, Global Policy Institute and former Chief Political Correspondent, United Press International, discussed “Why U.S. Politicians Often Fail to See the Big Picture.” As well, he shared his perspectives on the role of the media and its impact on U.S. national interests.

On Aug. 29, Jon Etherton, a defense and intelligence consultant and former professional staff member, U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Acquisition and Technology, discussed “Congress, The Administration and Industry: DOD and the Politics of Acquisition,” during which he described human capital initiatives, acquisition policy, and reform. Etherton was followed by Alexis Simendinger, White House Correspondent for; commentator, “Washington Week in Review” and former National Affairs correspondent, National Journal. Simendinger addressed “The Presidency and Congress: Lessons in Policy, Politics, and Polarization,” and provided the viewpoints she acquired when she covered the executive and legislative branches of the government as a journalist.

After the workshop, the fellows toured the Capitol buildings, the Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress. The two days spent on Capitol Hill was designed to provide participants with a better understanding for the “bigger picture” and the role that each of them plays in providing support to the warfighter.

The SSCF Program is a nationally-recognized, Army-sponsored program designed to develop strong, effective senior leaders for the Department of Defense Acquisition community. SSCF Program announcement, call for applications for selection/attendance to attend the class of 2018-19, which will start at the end of July 2018, is expected to run from Jan. 22 through March 22, 2018. Program announcement information will be posted on the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center website at Acquisition professionals from the fourth estate may also apply for consideration/selection. For more information, visit the DAU website at ing/career-development/sscf/p/Capital-and -Northeast or contact James Oman at or 410-272-9470.

By James Oman, DAU