Thoughts on Being a Three Star Flag Officer…Retired Vice Admiral Keith Lippert, SC, USN

Vice Adm. Lippert

Vice Adm. Lippert

Newsletter: What do you attribute your success to?

Lippert: I was blessed with many great mentors from whom I learned many important things about leadership and who provided me with superb guidance. They assigned me to great jobs which were essential in providing me with the experience for future positions of increased responsibilities. As with most flag officers, there is some luck involved in the timing of available positions along with the needs of the Supply Corps. I also believe my graduate school degree greatly assisted me particularly from a management and analytic perspective.

Newsletter: What was your most challenging assignment?

Lippert: I had many challenging assignments, but the most challenging was as the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). This is because of DLA’s scope of responsibilities, the size of the organization, and the pressure for superior performance from the DLA customers, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), and Congress.

Newsletter: What is the hardest thing you have ever had to do as a Supply Corps officer?

Lippert: Three things come to mind…Managing DLA during a time of dramatically increasing demand as a result of the war on terror while implementing a new information technology system and business transformation; bringing together the Aviation Supply Office and the Navy Ships Parts Control Center into one organization as commanding officer of the first Naval Inventory Control Point; and providing adequate funding for the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) enterprise while implementing OSD directed management decisions as the NAVSUP Comptroller.

July/August 201 - The shoulder boards being placed on Vice Adm. Lippert’s shoulders by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark, and Mrs. Linda Lippert, his wife, were previously worn by other Supply Corps admirals who received their third star.

July/August 201 – The shoulder boards being placed on Vice Adm. Lippert’s shoulders by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark, and Mrs. Linda Lippert, his wife, were previously worn by other Supply Corps admirals who received their third star.

Newsletter: What in your career are you most proud of?

Lippert: I have served as a mentor for many officers and civilians both while on active duty and since I retired from the Navy. I have been very proud to see these officers and civilians become very successful in their careers.

Newsletter: How do you think what you’ve learned over your career helped you after you left the Supply Corps?

Lippert: There is no doubt in my mind that what I have learned over my Supply Corps career has assisted me in the private sector. Among other things, I learned management skills, professionalism, leadership, integrity, ability to communicate, personnel management, and how to work in an ambiguous environment…all of which are important as a Supply Corps officer as well as in the private sector.

July/August 2001 – Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge receives an Honorary Supply Corps Flag Officer certificate in a June ceremony conducted by then Rear Adm. Keith W. Lippert, then Commander of the Naval Supply Systems Command and Chief of Supply Corps. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had provided ongoing support to NAVSUP headquarters, since the relocation from Crystal City to its new location at the Naval Support Activity, Mechanicsburg. Additionally, the Governor presented Rear Adm. Lippert with a Pennsylvania Distinguished Service Medal recognizing the Admiral’s service to the nation.

July/August 2001 – Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge receives an Honorary Supply Corps Flag Officer certificate in a June ceremony conducted by then Rear Adm. Keith W. Lippert, then Commander of the Naval Supply Systems Command and Chief of Supply Corps. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had provided ongoing support to NAVSUP headquarters, since the relocation from Crystal City to its new location at the Naval Support Activity, Mechanicsburg. Additionally, the Governor presented Rear Adm. Lippert with a Pennsylvania Distinguished Service Medal recognizing the Admiral’s service to the nation.

Newsletter: What one piece of advice would you give to today’s Supply Corps officer?

Lippert: Seek out officers who are senior to you for career advice and guidance. Mentorship is very important for a successful career in the Supply Corps. Take advantage of all mentorship opportunities.

Newsletter: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Lippert: The one piece of advice I would add is for Supply Corps officers to remain on active duty as long as they can. It is a great career full of challenges and rewards. You will work with some wonderful people defending and protecting our country.