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An army ambassador in a JIIM environment.

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The Engineer Regiment has a reputation for the diversity of its jobs; one of its most distinctive jobs is the Army diving officer. One of the positions available to dive officer lieutenants is executive officer for Company A, 169th Engineer Battalion, U.S. Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center (NDSTC), Panama City, Florida. As the hub of military diving, NDSTC trains all skill levels of divers for many joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational (JIIM) partners. The opportunity to serve at the center provides many unique opportunities and challenges. Each year, more than 1,200 divers pass through the schoolhouse, an institution that provides unprecedented exposure to every facet of military diving. Divers from the U.S Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Coast Guard train at NDSTC; and despite sharing the common bond of service, each branch has a unique culture. The executive officer of Company A gets the rare opportunity to build relationships and gain useful experience working in a JIIM environment. At NDSTC, a junior officer can forge valuable relationships across the Department of Defense and other entities while improving the Engineer Regiment in ways that no other Army lieutenant can.

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Succeeding in a JIIM environment requires a high level of professionalism since it demands adaptability and communication skills. At NDSTC, all of the military Services are represented but the center often has many guest students from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, and other intergovernmental and interagency entities. Company A also trains numerous multinational service members. Communication is the primary challenge of working with such a diverse set of individuals.

One project that encompasses multiple entities at the dive school involves creating a dive site in the Gulf of Mexico that all Services will be able to use for training. This project presents many roadblocks, including--

* Deciding how to fund the project.

* Coordinating with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ensure compliance with environmental codes.

* Developing curricula for each Service that will use the dive site.

Once the dive site is established, other nations will likely want to send their personnel to NDSTC for the benefits it will offer for their diving programs. In March 2015, Company A hosted Canadian military divers and explored collaborative training opportunities using the school's training aids. As the premier diving institution for the world, the facilities at NDSTC are in high demand for teaching the valuable skill of military diving to a wide array of organizations.

As an ambassador to the Department of Defense on behalf of the Army Engineer Regiment, the Company A executive officer spearheads many projects to enhance the Regiment's reputation in this JIIM environment and leave a landmark impression. And Company A is literally building a landmark; a brick and mortar engineer castle is being erected outside of the newest NDSTC physical training building. With assistance from a Navy instructor, a promotional video advertising the Army engineer diving program is being created for the NDSTC Web site. Company A social media outlets have drawn more than 1,400 followers, allowing expanded access to potential future divers.

While the NDSTC executive officer position is not a traditional junior officer development assignment, the potential for professional growth and JIIM exposure is limited only by the creativity of the diving officer.

First Lieutenant Kloiber serves as the executive officer for Company A, 169th Engineer Battalion, Naval Support Activity, Panama City, Florida. He is a graduate of the Marine Engineer Diving Officer Course, the Joint Diving Officer Leader Course, the Bradley Leader Course, and the Engineer Basic Officer Course. He holds a bachelor's degree in nuclear engineering from the U.S. Military Academy-West Point, New York.
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Author:Kloiber, Brian T.
Publication:Engineer: The Professional Bulletin for Army Engineers
Date:May 1, 2016
Words:624
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