DCMA Reserve Officer Enters ‘Silent Service’

BY NICK D’AMARIO DEFENSE CONTRACT MANAGEMENT AGENCY

A Navy Reserve officer serving with the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) is one of three female Reserve officers competitively selected from the Navy Supply Corps to be recalled to active duty and serve in the Reserve Women in Submarines program.

Navy Lt. j.g. Amy Aguirre is currently attending Supply Officer Department Head and Department Head Leadership courses at Newport, Rhode Island, followed by the Submarine Officer Basic Course in August at Groton, Connecticut. She will then travel to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, in October and report for duty as the supply officer aboard an Ohio Class nuclear ballistic missile submarine, known as an SSBN. It is staffed with 155 personnel, 140 enlisted and 15 officers.

“This is a unique opportunity to fill a critical role for the Navy and to grow as a leader,” said Aguirre. “I also look forward to being a role model and mentor as the Navy integrates female enlisted Sailors starting in 2016. It’s an honor to be part of history and in one of the toughest jobs in the Navy.”

The Navy first made the formal decision to allow women officers on submarines, also known as the “silent service” due to their underwater stealth, in February 2010. Overall, women make up roughly 15 percent of the Navy. There are currently more than 60 female officers serving on submarines. There are seven submarines and 14 crews integrated with women officers.

“Integrating female officers into the submarine force has increased our talent pool and subsequently the force’s overall readiness, ensuring that we will remain the world’s most capable force for ensuing decades,” said Navy Vice Adm. Michael Connor, commander of the U.S. Submarine Forces since September 2012.

Aguirre said the Navy Reserves has been valuable in preparing her for active service aboard a submarine.

“One of the most important things I’ve learned so far in my Navy career is to remain flexible because the direction of the mission can change at any given time requiring the ability to think and act quickly,” she said. “Beyond that, I am continually striving to maintain the balance between mission requirements and leading and motivating my Sailors to achieve their personal best and ensuring that I communicate their value to both the unit and the Navy.”

Aguirre’s career spans 17 years, with experience in both military and civilian roles, including financial management, contracting specialist and contracting officer with the Michigan Air National Guard, Department of Energy, NASA, Naval Air Warfare Center, Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Army Contracting Command, and the Missile Defense Agency. She is Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act Level III certified in contracting, DAWIA Level I certified in program management, a member of the Defense Acquisition Corps and trained in contingency contracting.

Since August 2014, Aguirre has been an operations officer with the Defense Logistics Agency, Disposal Remediation Team Two, and cross-assigned to DCMA’s West Region as a contract administrator. While in the DCMA billet, Aguirre participated in Operational Contract Support Joint Exercise (OCSJX) 2015 for three weeks at Fort Bliss, Texas. OCSJX is held annually to review and practice planning, execution and oversight of government contracts for goods or services in support of military operations.

“I was assigned as an administrative contracting officer in the Contingency Contract Administration Services cell acting as the contract administrator for multiple contracts including a [Logistics Civil Augmentation Program] task order,” said Aguirre. “The role of our team was to set up a new forward operating base and provide contract administration of theater contracts to meet the exercise mission requirements.”

Aguirre’s three weeks were broken up into three phases:

  • Phase 1: Warrior training tasks (e.g., land navigation, weapons familiarization, improvised explosive device detection training).
  • Phase 2: Classroom-based academic training on contracting topics in order to operate forward deployed.
  • Phase 3: Exercise execution with mock deployments.

“OCSJX-15 was a great experience,” said Aguirre. “I would definitely volunteer to participate again and enjoy being part of the planning process if I wasn’t headed down a different path,” she said, referring to being recalled to active duty and serving in the Reserve Women in Submarines program.

During her short time with DCMA, Aguirre said she was thoroughly impressed by the knowledge, passion and professionalism of its employees and Reservists alike.

“Since my experience has mostly been as a procuring contracting officer, I have gained a new appreciation for the hard work and dedication of the contract administrators, property administrators and quality personnel which goes on seemingly behind the scenes,” she said.

Aguirre’s husband, Mario, a 30-year veteran, retired as a colonel from the Army Reserves in January. His service included a tour of duty with DCMA from 2007 to 2014 where he supported the agency as the Joint Operations Officer.

“I am so proud of all she has accomplished in such a short time,” he said. “Our whole family fully supports her!”

September/October 2015