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News | Jan. 8, 2024

TD executive director envisions positive change

By Elizabeth Szoke DCMA Public Affairs

Juanita Christensen stepped into the role of executive director for the Defense Contract Management Agency’s Technical Directorate earlier this year. She described her role as looking across the enterprise for technical support, including quality, engineering, manufacturing, industrial specialists and software engineers.  

“That's what we bring to the table as executive directors; we are responsible for providing all the technical direction to those in the field,” said Christensen about her goals. “One of my main focus points is to ensure that we are aligning with the 2026 vision and making sure that — as we develop policies and processes and tools — they will enable more of a standardized approach to how we do business.” 

To achieve these goals, Christensen takes her leadership approach with a “people first” mentality by prioritizing TD’s personnel and maintaining transparency across the directorate. She emphasized addressing feedback from the Defense Equal Opportunity Climate Survey, or DEOCS, to help make improvements to the different environments.  

“Employees are our number one asset, and their concerns are valid, so I'm taking a very strategic approach to address items from the DEOCS survey perspective,” she said.  

She also stressed the importance of effective communication with the field. She plans to work with leadership from across the agency to ensure standardized processes and tools for the entire workforce are consistently addressed. 

“Our headquarters staff is about 144 strong, but we are affecting a workforce in the field which is over 5,000 strong,” Christensen said. “When we release tools, policies and processes, we need to be transparent and ensure that we're communicating them effectively with the field. We need to be in alignment and in a partnership with our regions and contract offices.” 

Christensen joined the agency after her time with the Army Material Command, where she served as the G-4 and was responsible for logistics, installations, barracks, housing, environment, climate strategy, and risk management. She also has experience in acquisition and lab support, to include working with DCMA on the contractor side prior to becoming a public servant. Christensen believes this experience gave her a unique perspective of technical challenges and the joint nature of DCMA's support across all military services. 

“Because I was working in program offices, it gave me insight into DCMA and what they do in-plant, so that was very beneficial,” Christensen said. “I feel like my past roles allowed me to bring my acquisition and Army-specific background into this position so I can best support those in the field.” 

Over the next year, Christensen aims to establish a shared vision to recognize the workforce, to lead by example, to be a change advocate, and think outside the box. She knows the importance of developing leaders on the civilian side, and her doctorate in organizational leadership reflects her commitment to this cause. 

“I’m a transformational leader and a servant leader at heart,” Christensen said. “I recognize my customer is the workforce in the field, so I am here to serve them. I must make sure that they receive the proper resources, that they have been adequately trained, and I have to ensure that everything they do positively impacts those around them.”  

Christensen wants the workforce to recognize the importance of understanding the transition to the Super Contract Management Office structure and how it affects their functional components. She believes her technical expertise and alignment with the agency’s Contracts Directorate will be crucial for meeting Vision 2026 objectives. 

“I want to create positive change for the directorate and have TD be a part of Vision 2026’s success,” Christensen said. “I think we need to do more alignment with our training activities and partner with Total Force to make sure all of our engineers, quality personnel and others in the field have the right tools to adequately support that vision.” 

Outside of directly supporting the agency’s mission, Christensen is passionate about mentorship where she has mentored many people across multiple fields, to include civilians and service members. She actively contributes to programs that promote leadership development and mentorship, to include the Defense Senior Leader Development Program.  

The mentor in Christensen wanted to include a piece of advice for those looking to progress in their careers in this article: 

“I want to encourage others to really have a full understanding of themselves by doing a full 360-degree assessment,” Christensen said. “A lot of times the things you think are a weakness or a gap is actually a strength that others see in you.”