NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md.– The Honorable Ellen Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, recognized Balwindar “Binnie” Rawalay-VanDeVoort, winner of the 2020 Defense Acquisition Workforce Award for international partnership in a virtual ceremony posted on December 15, 2020.
The Defense Acquisition Workforce Individual Achievement Awards recognizes individuals who demonstrate the highest levels of excellence and professionalism in their respective acquisition functional area, reflecting the National Defense Strategy’s lines of effort to build a more lethal force; strengthen alliances and attract new partners; reform the department; and take care of its people.
VanDeVoort, a Program Executive Office, Aviation Common Systems and Commercial Services (PEO(CS)) employee aligned to SCPO, is a retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. with 28 years of service as a Marine Aviation Ordnance Officer. She was the first female Marine Corps Ordnance Officer that was selected to the rank of Lt. Col. after starting out her career enlisted as a Private. During her active duty military career, she deployed in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom; Operation Enduring Freedom; and Operations Joint Guard/Dynamic Response/Dynamic Strike. She conducted site assessments and worked alongside fellow US Military and NATO Forces developing design plans for aviation ammunition supply points and aircraft bed down parking plans for future sites.
When asked about what she learned in the Marine Corps that she has been able to employ in her current acquisition career, VanDeVoort said, “the Marine Corps taught me that everyone has the opportunity to contribute to mission success. Every individual wants to be challenged and be a part of innovation.”
Nearly 36 years later, she is still supporting the warfighter and our international partners.
“I will always feel a strong connection to the warfighter and will always be pushing to do better because there are military and civilian forces forward deployed depending on us to keep improving their chances of success.” VanDeVoort said, “I will always want to ensure they and our international partners have what they need when they need it.”
That dedication to improvement is one of many factors that led to VanDeVoort’s selection. VanDeVoort provides continuous international partner support under the SCPO’s Security Assistance program. Specifically, VanDeVoort supports our international partners and associated NAVAIR program offices through the continuous development, refinement, and implementation of a robust network of capabilities spanning the full range of naval aviation product support. VanDeVoort’s determination and leadership transformed the ISC from what was a simple warehouse operation and a basic agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) for inventory management in 2016, into a regionalized and all-encompassing sustainment alternative for international partners. Today, the ISC supports more than 33 customers, with many others considering use of the same as a competitive option to meet their immediate and future sustainment needs.
VanDeVoort said, “Morale is high when leadership encourages the workforce to think beyond the standard answer and take ownership in the outcome – and I would say we have been very lucky to be enabled by SCPO leadership to make decisions on the ISC team.”
The empowerment of the ISC team was a function of SCPO leadership’s trust in the team lead’s abilities. “VanDeVoort’s ability to partner with internal and external organizations to establish capability, minimize costs and enhance the overall readiness posture of our international partners has been invaluable,” said Ronald Weinberger, director of the SCPO.
The exponential growth of international partners created the need for a centralized full spectrum international sustainment and logistics support capability. With that defined goal in mind, and after legal, contractual, and financial research, she convinced NAVAIR leadership to partner with DLA. VanDeVoort’s foresight and vision ultimately resulted in NAVAIR, NAVSUP and DLA signing a memorandum of agreement for international partner packaging, handling, storage and transportation services.
Although VanDeVoort found the award to be “more appropriately given to the team than [herself]”, PEO(CS) leadership sees it as an honor well deserved. “Binnie, in growing the ISC to what it is today, had to be a change agent and develop the trust of the international partners by showing them results. Our established contract vehicles, qualified/certified workforce, aviation maintenance and training facilities reduce costs and improve readiness,” said Mr. Gary Kurtz, PEO(CS).
Most recently, VanDeVoort developed courses of action for the storage and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) to support the NAVAIR deputy commander’s COVID-19 PPE team. Of this achievement, the SCPO deputy program manager Scott Wiener said, “VanDeVoort and the ISC provided the in-house expertise that was readily available to support the command and the nation on a moment’s notice in a time of unprecedented crisis.”
When asked to speak about the award, VanDeVoort said, “The real story is about the ISC team. We started with a vision and developed it into the ISC. Since then, the ISC portfolio operation has expanded to $6 billion in operations and support from 47 foreign military sales programs.” True to her modesty about being given the award, she continues to give all credit for every success to her team.