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News | April 18, 2019

My DCMA: Michael Gabertan, general engineer

By Tonya Johnson DCMA Public Affairs

My DCMA showcases the Defense Contract Management Agency’s experienced and diverse workforce and highlights what being a part of the national defense team means to them. Today we meet Michael Gabertan.

My name is Michael Gabertan, and this is “My DCMA.”

I am a general engineer in the Engineering Division of the Technical Directorate at DCMA headquarters. My job duties include developing agency-wide engineering policies and training for additive manufacturing, engineering surveillance, configuration change management, and technical pricing support.

I have been a part of the DCMA team for 11 years. I started my federal career as an aerospace engineer at the Fleet Readiness Center Southeast in Jacksonville, Florida. I worked on two of the five phases of the weapon systems acquisition lifecycle — production and deployment and operations and sustainment. 

I accepted a promotion from DCMA so I could work on the technology maturation and risk reduction and engineering and manufacturing development phases. However, DCMA has offered me more than that experience. I have worked not only in those phases that I expected, but also in the materiel solution analysis phase, which is how the acquisition community determines how to fill an operational requirement. 

DCMA has given me opportunities beyond the typical engineering role. I had an opportunity once to brief then-DCMA director, Air Force Lt. Gen. Wendy Masiello, when she toured my office. A five-minute overview turned into a 20-minute conversation. I felt honored that the former DCMA director said she would use the example of our team’s program-changing insight when speaking with her acquisition peers on the value that DCMA gives them.

DCMA leadership allowed me to attend the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. The biggest honor from that experience came on June 15, 2018, when I shook hands with then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who was the commencement speaker at my graduation. I received a Master of Arts in Defense and Strategic Studies.

My time at the Naval War College enabled me to see what else is important within the Department of Defense. The academic classes, as well as lectures from four-star admirals and generals, former assistant secretaries of various federal departments and even a Nobel Peace Prize winner, improved my perspective of the role and importance of acquisition. 

The school also gave me experience in developing operational requirements. I took a year-long elective course supporting naval warfare research. The professor sent our papers to operational offices for requirements consideration. Because of this course, in addition to my degree, I received a minor in Navy and Joint Concept of Operations Development.

After I graduated from the Naval War College, I got a job promotion at headquarters. By taking strategic-level direction, such as evaluating agency business cases or developing the engineering mission, I apply the operational-level leadership skills I learned in school every day on my new job. I look forward to applying my education in creative ways as I execute DCMA’s mission.

In my free time, I enjoy reading. The last book I read is Eric Metaxas’s Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. When I get a chance, I travel around the world. My ventures have led me to five continents with Africa and Antarctica left remaining to visit. Traveling allows me to discover different cuisines, and I appreciate the passion put into a well-prepared meal. Occasionally, I attempt to match that passion at home.