Fellows visit Antietam battlefield

Silhouetted between the Dunker Church and the New York State Monument on the Antietam National Battlefield, the Class of 2018 APG Senior Service College fellows listen to National Park Service Ranger Keith Snyder’s as he provides an overview of the battle, describes the major events, points out the many tough choices made by leaders, the many significance outcomes. | Photo by Jim Oman, DAU

On the morning of Oct. 12, under cloudy, threatening skies, APG fellows, Lisa Bell, John Gillette, Terence Glover, Victor Hernandez, David King, Betsy Kozak, Robert Vik, and Jack Wilson from the Defense Acquisition University – Senior Service College Fellowship (SSCF) Program, Class of 2018, accompanied by Jim Oman, Director, APG SSCF Program participated in their first staff ride with a visit to the Antietam National Battlefield in Western Maryland.

Keith Snyder, National Park Service Ranger, the staff ride guide. Skillfully shared his knowledge, perspectives, and insights with the fellows about the challenges facing the leaders, soldiers, and civilians during and after the battle over the course of multiple stops on the battlefield.

The opportunity to “walk the ground” where more than 23,000 casualties occurred on Sept. 17, 1862 earning the sobriquet as the, “bloodiest single day in American history” provided a superb opportunity to reflect on leadership, decision-making, and the human dimension of war. Snyder explained the tactical, operational, and strategic decisions made by key Union and Confederate Army leaders and described how those decisions determined the immediate and long-lasting outcomes of the war.

Through this experience, the fellows gained a deeper appreciation for thinking critically, the importance of timely leadership choices, the necessity to consider second and third order effects, and a greater understanding of the true cost of freedom.

In the spring of 2018, the APG fellows will travel to Europe where they will visit several significant World War II battlefields and participate in staff rides focused on the study of Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands and the Battle of the Bulge centered on Bastogne, Belgium and the surrounding area.

They will also visit the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, U.S. European Command, U.S. Africa Command, and the U.S. Army in Europe. At each command, the fellows will meet with several senior leaders and learn about the roles and missions associated with each organization.

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 US Army Acquisition Support Center website at http://asc.army.mil/web/. Acquisition professionals from the fourth estate can also apply for consideration/selection.

For more information, visit the DAU website at https://www.dau.mil/training/career-development/sscf/p/Capital-and-Northeast or contact James Oman at james.oman@dau.mil or 410-272-9470.

By Jim Oman, Defense Acquisition University