SSC-Natick Press ReleaseU.S. Army Soldier Systems
Public Affairs Office
Contact: Public Affairs
Date: November 5, 2007
Proud and humbling day for new leader
Dr. Marilyn M. Freeman, director,
U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering
Center (NSRDEC), is presented the NSRDEC charter by Maj. Gen.
Fred D. Robinson, commander, U.S. Army Research, Development and
Engineering Command, during her Assumption of Responsibility
ceremony on Oct. 17. (Photo by Sarah Underhill) |
Click for Larger Photo
NATICK, Mass. -- On Oct. 17, Dr.
Marilyn M. Freeman was promoted to the ranks of the Senior Executive
Service (SES) and assumed responsibility as Director for the U.S.
Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC)
during a ceremony in Hunter Auditorium.
"The Senior Executive
Service is comprised of the men and women charged with leading the
continuing transformation of government. These leaders possess
well-honed executive skills and share a broad perspective of
government and a public service commitment, which is grounded in the
Constitution," according to the Office of Personnel Management.
The ceremony began
with the National Anthem and an Invocation. Major General Fred D.
Robinson, commander, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering
Command (RDECOM), administered the oath of office and John Freeman
(husband) assisted by pinning the SES insignia on Dr. Freeman's
Dr. Freeman was then
presented with the NSRDEC charter, which charged her to carry out
the duties as Director of the NSRDEC, including working to improve
the sustainability, survivability and mobility of our Warfighters,
as well as to provide leadership and stewardship to 'the most
valuable resource' - NSRDEC's personnel.
addressed the gathering, began by thanking Dr. Jack Obusek for
serving as Acting Director of NSRDEC for the past several months.
"You were called upon to fill a critical void. You were dedicated
and committed and your leadership was nothing short of exceptional.
He [Obusek] now passes the reins of this world-class organization to
"This center [NSRDEC]
has an extremely challenging mission," Robinson continued.
Addressing the work force, he said, "You have to maximize the
survivability, sustainability, mobility, combat effectiveness and
quality of life for our Soldiers, and not just our Soldiers, but
also for the Sailor, Airman, Marine and Coastguardsman. As a
Soldier, I am convinced that there is no mission more critical, no
mission more important. You are all dedicated to the Soldier and
your mission. If there is one thought I want you to leave here with
today, it's this: Your efforts everyday help to save Soldiers' lives
and improve them in so many ways that you can't even count."
To Dr. Freeman,
Robinson said, "Deliver what is promised on the charter. This center
provides invaluable services. As a Soldier and a leader of Soldiers
in combat, I have been lucky enough to have been on the receiving
end of your [NSRDEC's] efforts."
He then spoke of Dr.
Freeman's credentials, such as her work in the Office of the
Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and
Technology (ASA(ALT)) and at the Tank Automotive Research,
Development and Engineering Center. "She understands Soldiers and
the mission," Robinson said. "She is a leader."
Dr. Freeman began her
comments by saying how excited she is to be given this new
opportunity to serve the Nation and the Army as a member of the SES
and to be the leader of NSRDEC's group of talented people. She said
the day was both the proudest and most awesome day in her twenty-six
and a half year career as a Federal Employee. "To be named the
leader of an organization like this is truly humbling."
After adding her
personal thanks to Obusek, she stated that she knew there was some
uncertainty among the work force about her as a new leader. "I know
you are thinking, 'what kind of person is she?'; 'what type of
leader?'; 'will she be hard to please?'; 'what will she expect of
Dr. Freeman continued
by saying that she is not going to be able to answer all the
questions people might have immediately. For instance, she doesn't
yet know what might change, but "the Army is transforming and
transforming is all about change."
She said she believes
NSRDEC does have a clear direction for the future. "You are a center
providing Soldiers the best equipment and capabilities to accomplish
their mission." Dr. Freeman said her expectations are that each
member of the work force will use his or her knowledge, education,
skills and energy and put in his or her best effort every day. "This
is so we can be the best, remain the best and excel at our mission."
She provided seven
insights about herself, which she thought would be helpful.
First, Dr. Freeman
said, she is a proud mother of two. Second she is a very proud
grandmother of one. Third she is a wife; fourth, a daughter. "Note
that my first four are about family," she said. "Family is valuable
and we need to recognize that along with being able to do the job."
Fifth she is a classic
'Type A' personality. "In case you didn't realize that by the fact
that I numbered everything," she joked.
Sixth she is a
teacher. Dr. Freeman's undergraduate education was in Physical
Science and Secondary Education and her first jobs were as a junior
high and high school teacher in Ohio and Germany. "My management
style is that of a teacher. I lead like a teacher," she said. "I try
to provide clear instructions and unambiguous messages. I care that
people understand 'why' along with 'what' they are doing. I am
capable of dealing with people with different styles and needs." She
said she is capable of making decisions; but, expects that the staff
will provide her with options and recommendations. Dr. Freeman
continued that she is also capable of taking disciplinary actions.
"In every organization there are some things that are unpleasant. I
don't like it, but I don't avoid it." Mentioning that she likes to
talk, she said she is also capable of listening. "I'll try to figure
out who you really are and what you think, that's what makes a
Seventh she is a 'lab
rat' at heart. "I grew up at Picatinny [Army Armaments Research,
Development and Engineering Center] in my professional career," Dr.
Freeman said. "I understand the love of working in an RDEC." She
promised that she won't micromanage, but stated that she recognizes
that, "someone has to fight for you [the NSRDEC], ensuring the money
is there, dealing with the politics and ensuring the organization is
healthy so you can do what you do."
Dr. Freeman said the
work force should remember every day that, "S&T [science and
technology] is relevant and ready." She pledged that she will do her
best at what needs to be done in order for everyone to work together
to achieve the mission of support to the Soldier.
Dr. Freeman holds a
Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Science from the University
of Dayton (1975), Masters of Science degree in Materials Science
from Stevens Institute of Technology (1990) and holds a doctorate
from the University of Texas at Austin in Materials Science and