Editor’s note: The Defense Logistics Agency recognizes May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. In honor of their contributions to the agency’s global mission, DLA is highlighting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who work day in and day out to provide logistics support to America’s warfighters.
My name is: Dr. Senthil Arul
I am: Program manager for DLA Research and Development
Describe your job in a sentence: I work on research projects that help improve the quality and interoperability of logistics data to streamline DLA operations.
How long have you worked at DLA? I have been in civil service for 10 years. First with Naval Sea Systems Command as a cost estimator, then in the Office of the Secretary Defense as an acquisition specialist and now DLA Information Operations for the past five years. Prior to joining civil service, I worked for Ford Motor Company for 20 years.
What is your favorite thing about working for DLA? I recently moved to DLA’s R&D team. R&D program managers work on leading technologies in diverse fields such as additive manufacturing, biofuels, batteries, microcircuits, etc. I work with leading experts in the model-based enterprise in federal government, academia and the private sector to develop digital sustainment strategy for DLA. Every day, I am amazed at the problems they work to solve for our warfighters.
What are your best memories of working here? Without a doubt, it would the people I work with and work for. Diversity of the DLA workforce is amazing. I work with DLA staffs across the country with different backgrounds. In one of the recent projects, Cyber Defender, a tool that enhances cybersecurity knowledge, I worked with staffs in Battle Creek, Michigan; Columbus, Ohio; Philadelphia and New Cumberland, Pennsylvania; and DLA Headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
How do you make a difference? As an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, I mentor graduating mechanical engineering students. In government, my mantra is: “Don’t expect someone else to fix the federal government. You are the government.” I am a big supporter of bringing changes to government through innovation.
What is one thing you’d like others to know about your heritage? I originate from Tamil Nadu, India. The language spoken, Tamil, is one of the oldest languages in the world. Tamil literature dates back as early as 300 BC.
Why is it important to you that we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month? Just as we celebrate the rich history and contributions of our African American and Latino brothers and sisters, May is dedicated to Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage. I believe this month highlights three things. First, it reminds us of the sacrifices and suffering that many Asian Americans went through to give us a better future. Second, it gives us an opportunity to recognize some of the accomplishments and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to this country. Finally, I feel very fortunate to have two sets of cultures to enjoy and share with others.