JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas — A Mission and Installation Contracting Command director at Fort Bragg is one of only two individuals Army-wide selected for the Defense Acquisition University Key Leader Development Program. Colette Carrizales begins the development program Wednesday, which is comprised of 400 hours of classroom training and 75 hours of distance learning over the following nine months.

“I’m really excited to participate in this program although it’s going to really take me outside of my comfort zone, which is contracting acquisition,” said Carrizales, who anticipates increased exposure to the technical aspects of acquisitions.

“The opportunity is certainly appealing to me as a previous position afforded me the opportunity to work closely with research and development engineers at the Yuma Proving Ground test centers while I was assigned to the MICC office there.”

The KLDP was originally developed and launched as a pilot program in 2015 by the Defense Acquisition University’s Defense Systems Management College for the Missile Defense Agency to identify qualified leaders to fill highly demanding positions. Its success led to the expansion of the candidate pool in 2016, and for 2017 the program increased involvement to include each of the services.

Scott Greene is the chief of the leader development branch for the Army Director for Acquisition Career Management Office at the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center. He said 28 individuals were identified to participate in this third KLDP, and Carrizales is one of only two selected from the Army.

Also selected from the Army was Daniel Quinn, a product support manager for the Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

“This was the most competitive of the three years we have held boards for this program,” Greene said. “I believe the word is getting out more on the value of this program.”

Col. Carol Tschida, commander of the 419th Contracting Support Brigade, said that Carrizales is an amazing leader with a very broad range of experience in contracting.

“The technical expertise she brings to the 419th CSB formation is second to none, and she is a tremendous asset to our mission,” Tschida said. “She is service-oriented and customer-focused and has brought a level of energy that our MICC-Fort Bragg office needed.”

USAASC officials added that the program focuses on establishing higher standards for key leadership positions and on the development and sustainment of leaders who can operate effectively in increasingly complex environments. They added that upon course completion, participants will possess a higher level of understanding and working knowledge within the Department of Defense acquisition environment, better preparing them for key leadership positions.

Carrizales agreed the program’s technical core curriculum is geared more toward preparing potential leaders for a program executive office.

She plans to leverage opportunities for networking with others across the acquisition spectrum as well as meeting industry leaders for a chance to transition to the executive level in the future.

“I would like to be able to learn that type of leadership style and how to operate at a higher level by seeing the bigger picture,” Carrizales said. “And I’m all about sharing what I know and what I’ve learned. We have some great people at Fort Bragg that I want to encourage to apply for programs similar to this to enhance their careers.”

KLDP is divided into three, in-resident segments totaling 10 weeks to the Defense Acquisition University in San Diego and Defense Systems Management College at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The two distance learning segments in the workplace total about seven months.

The training will consist of case-based analysis, critical thinking, empirical evaluation, classroom activities, homework assignments and a team leadership project.