Maj. Wayne A. Dunlap
COMMAND/ORGANIZATION: Product Manager for Network Modernization; Project Manager for Tactical Network, Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications – Tactical
POSITION AND OFFICIAL TITLE: Assistant product manager
YEARS OF SERVICE IN WORKFORCE: 5
YEARS OF MILITARY SERVICE: 14
DAWIA CERTIFICATIONS: Level II in program management
EDUCATION: M.A. in business and organizational management, Webster University; B.A. in computer technology, Purdue University
AWARDS: Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (three oak leaf clusters), Army Achievement Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal (two campaigns), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with Numeral 2, Gold German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency
by Susan L. Follett
Everyone likes to start off on the right foot in a new position. For uniformed members of the Army Acquisition Workforce, that challenge is a little more urgent. “As military members of the workforce, we’re in our positions from one to three years, while our civilian counterparts can be in the same position for as long as 20 years. That means we have to learn quickly, and it also highlights the importance of showing people you’re invested in the work you’re doing,” said Maj. Wayne Dunlap, assistant product manager with the Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications – Tactical (PEO C3T). “Getting to know who you’re working with is a big part of that. Whenever possible, I opt for face-to-face communication over email, and when we field new systems, I’m out there, too, meeting with engineers and commanders and interacting with the Soldiers to get their feedback.”
As assistant product manager for Network Modernization within the Project Manager for Tactical Network, Dunlap manages the Army’s Signal Modernization product line and the Disaster Incident Response Emergency Communications Terminal. Both efforts provide modernized network communications and connectivity to Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard units.
Dunlap is responsible for the cost, schedule, performance and life cycle management support of six rapid acquisition programs: the Modular Communications Node – Advanced Enclave; Commercial Coalition Equipment; secure 4G LTE; secure tactical Wi-Fi; the Terrestrial Line of Sight Radio; and the Troposcatter system. “These are line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight tactical network transport systems that improve the expeditionary nature of today’s forces and increase unit mobility,” he said. “They also increase operational flexibility and harden the network by providing commanders signal path diversity in contested network environments.”
Additionally, he leads a team of 80 people in synchronizing and integrating production and fielding activities for those systems. “Ensuring that we have the right network design to enable synchronization of signal modernization capability with a unit’s existing network is critical to ensuring unit readiness and preventing problems from manifesting themselves in the field,” said Dunlap, who has been with PEO C3T since 2016.
“What I like most about my job is knowing that our team is working hard to improve the way the Army conducts mission command and exchanges voice, video and data on the battlefield. We are reducing the size, weight and power of our tactical network transport systems while making them easier for Soldiers to operate, train on and maintain,” he said. “We are rapidly delivering commercial off-the-shelf systems that Soldiers can count on in their time of need. Our products enable commanders at all echelons to conduct expeditionary mission command at every phase of operations, keeping Soldiers connected and informed in the face of increasingly capable adversaries.”
Dunlap served with the Military Police before joining the acquisition workforce. “I was serving my second company command at the Midwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, when I realized that I wanted to transfer to a functional branch. After conducting research and talking to my professional mentors, I concluded that the FA51 [Army Acquisition officer] was the best choice for my career and could help me acquire valuable skills for a future transition to civilian life.” His first acquisition position was with the Mission and Installation Contracting Command (MICC) Fort Leavenworth, where he served as contract management officer. “I really enjoyed working for MICC,” he said. “It provided me the opportunity to work with several customers on the installation by awarding contracts with a realized savings to the taxpayer.”
The switch from MICC to PEO C3T moved Dunlap from contracting to program management, a transition that was smoothed in part by the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential he earned from the Project Management Institute. Earning the certification requires a significant time investment for studying and test preparation, and culminates in a 200-question, four-hour exam. “I’m grateful that my leadership at the time was supportive of me earning the PMP credential and was very flexible in letting me adjust my schedule to prepare for the exam,” Dunlap said, noting that he has paid that forward by helping others prepare for and earn the PMP credential.
“The certification framework is very similar to the certifications we’re required to have for the Army Acquisition Workforce,” Dunlap noted. “To maintain my credential, I have to earn professional development units during designated reporting cycles. That’s similar to the continuous learning points and the DAWIA certification requirements in the Acquisition Corps. Both requirements help me stay relevant in my profession.”
Dunlap’s other career and personal development activities include volunteering at the Baltimore chapter for the Project Management Institute and participating in his local Toastmasters chapter. “As officers, we’re expected to do a lot of public speaking—talking with those in our unit, for example, or briefing senior leadership. I realized that I needed to be better at that, and Toastmasters has really helped me become more confident in my public speaking skills.”
When he’s not at work, you might find him running: He has completed more than 20 marathons, half-marathons and shorter races, and is training for the Army 10-Miler in October. “The most important thing I’ve learned is to have a great work-life balance. I make sure to leave all the stress of work in the office and not bring it home to my family. I apply this same principle with my team. I let them know that work will always be there and they should take care of themselves and their loved ones first.”