BATTLE CREEK, Mich –
Juan Talamantes Jr.
Director of the Defense Logistics Agency, Disposal Service Directorate - Central
Camp Arifjan, Kuwait
Tell us a little about yourself. I am a Native of Texas, and I joined the Armed Forces in 1994. I have served in the Marine Corps and Air Force before I conducted an interservice transfer to the Army in 2006. Within my time in the Army, I have deployed to Iraq and Haiti, and have traveled throughout the world for PCS [duty stations] and TDY [temporary assignments].
Describe your job in a sentence or two. I am responsible for a diverse organization comprised of approximately 180 joint military, civilians and contractors based in five different countries and responsible for providing reverse logistics solutions to joint, coalition, and U.S. government agencies across the entire CENTCOM area of responsibility.
How long have you worked for the federal government including military service? 27 years
How long have you worked for DLA Disposition Services? 2 months
What is your favorite thing about your line of work? I work in a joint operational environment where my team is comprised of highly skilled civilians, soldiers, sailors and airmen. I am humbled every day on enabling the acculturation of my team into a world class organization recognized and revered throughout the CENTCOM AO.
What is the best piece of advice someone has given you? Trust and support your team. Be their champion.
Awards/Recognition: Awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, and several other unit and individual service ribbons and medals.
What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess? Patience. I provide the staff the necessary time and space to conduct the complex analysis to enable mission command.
What is your leadership philosophy and how does that tie into your line of work?
- Mission First: DOD’s Reverse Logistics Experts – We support the Warfighter!
- Team Second: DLA is a team of teams. Great teams do routine things routinely and master the basics.
- Family Third: Take care and support your family.
- One team, one fight. – Support and keep safe the team member next to you and they will do the same for you.
- Always be professional. – You are a professional in a profession of arms, carrying your national colors; be proud.
- Integrity first. – Always tell the truth and exercise accountability.
- If you can’t communicate, we can’t succeed. – Validate your line of communication.
- Disagreeing isn’t disrespect. – Once the decision is made, execute it like it was yours.
- Trust but verify. – Never trust blindly and check to ensure mission accomplishment.
Tell us how you approach change. I embrace change and enable it at the appropriate opportunity. I need the staff to be part of the team and innovative every day. Learning organizations make mistakes; I encourage the staff to make mistakes but make them quickly to find the enduring solution for the warfighter.
What are your best practices for achieving goals or accomplishing tasks? Enable shared understanding throughout the entire staff and ensure the staff is fully integrated. I seek and dismantle stove pipes of excellence. I need the staff to understand the critical path of their efforts and its’ relation to the battle rhythm and partnerships throughout the Enterprise.
What do you see as your biggest challenge right now? Preparing for the upcoming Operation Effectiveness Review. Due to COVID and a rapidly evolving operating environment, maintaining an OER ready posture was difficult to accomplish. Therefore, my approach is simple. Get back to basics in everything we do and become a master of tasks that are done routinely.
Name your favorite/recent book you have read. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahnerman.
Who is your hero? My father. From his love and guidance, he made me the soldier, husband, father and grandfather I am today.
What are your hobbies? I enjoy reading while listening to my vinyl collection.