By HANNAH RAINEY, NAVSUP Office of Corporate Communications
“NAVSUP is and has been a key player in readiness. Its success derives from its people, and we have always had smart people who could think their way through solutions and problems.”
NAVSUP Vice Commander and senior civilian Michael T. Madden reflected on his career, his accomplishments, and the future of the supply community in an interview as he prepared for his retirement January 2020 after 40 years of combined military and civilian service.
Madden started his U. S. Navy career as a Supply Corps officer in 1979, retiring as a commander two decades later. “I went into every job knowing it was up to me to learn the business so that I could earn the respect of the people that were working for me. If they believe that you really understand what you are doing, and it’s recognized that you have done a good job, people will look out for you.”
Thinking of the many people who helped him along the way, Madden said, “I’ve been fortu - nate in the journey. I’ve encountered really great people, both military and civilian.”
He joined the Senior Executive Service in 1999 as NAVSUP deputy comptroller, later taking over as comptroller. After serving as Executive Deputy, Marine Corps Logistics Command, he returned as the number two NAVSUP Enterprise official in 2016, leading a worldwide workforce of over 22,500 military and civilian personnel, both in day-to-day operations and in strategic planning and business transformation.
Madden noted the significant and beneficial shift toward specialization he witnessed over the course of his career, contrasting it with the generalized approach to supply that prevailed earlier.
Reflecting on the accomplishments of his career, he was most proud of the groups’ achieve - ments as opposed to his own personal victories. “This whole job is about people—leading them and watching them accomplish something they didn’t think possible. Their accomplishments, not mine.” He said, “Watching them building capability and learning with them, watching our move back to the industrial side of business, supporting readiness drivers and focusing on the core elements important to the Navy have been rewarding for me.”
Over his career, Madden was awarded the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive and the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive.
“Be focused on the job you’re in. Try to make a difference for the better,” is Madden’s advice for new members of the supply community. “The key is to make sure you know what business you want to be in, and be focused on that goal. You can’t be everything to everybody. So the question is, what do you want to be good at? And that’s where you put your focus and your time.”
Looking to the future, Madden remarked that, “everything goes in cycles of building up readiness followed by a short funding cycle. You can always be better prepared for the future, and it is important to be best positioned to handle a number of possible futures. I believe we have learned some things in the last three years, which better position us for the future.”
He concluded, “I have full confidence in the people that are here and their ability to deal with the changes yet to come. NAVSUP is important to the Navy and I think the more that we can focus and improve, the better off the Navy is going to be.”
After retirement, Madden plans to “take time off, tie up loose ends, get organized, and then, who knows?”