Hispanic American Climbs to Top of DoD Success Ladder
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2005 Alan F. Estevez never dreamed the low-level civil-service job in Bayonne, N.J., that he accepted shortly after college would lead to the high-level, important position he holds today.
Alan F. Estevez, assistant deputy undersecretary of defense for supply-chain integration, speaks Sept. 28 after being presented the 2005 National Security medal, part of the Service to America Medals program, which recognizes excellence in government service. Photo by Sam Kittner
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Now assistant deputy undersecretary of defense for supply-chain integration, Estevez is responsible for managing the Defense Department's global supply chains and transforming supply-management processes.
Estevez's trek into government service began after graduating from Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, N.J., in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. "I bounced around for awhile loading trucks and kind of deciding what I wanted to do," said the native of North Arlington, N.J., where his father taught Spanish for 25 years after retiring from the Army as an infantry lieutenant colonel.
Based on the results of his civil-service exam, Estevez was hired as an intern by the former Military Traffic Management Command, in Bayonne, which is now the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command. He started at an entry-level pay grade and decided he liked the work.
Even though his grandparents came from Spain and his father taught Spanish, Estevez is not fluent in Spanish. He said that's probably because his mother spoke "zero Spanish," and mothers are normally who children learn language from.
Estevez said annual ethnic observances, such as National Hispanic American Heritage Month, are important. "It's important for people to understand where they came from, whatever their roots may be," he said. "Whether it's Africa, northern Europe or Asia, it doesn't matter. Everyone should understand where they came from and how they got to where they are. I think that's crucial to defining the American personality."
He noted there are many ways for people to learn about different cultures.
Sampling the cuisine of different cultures during observances on military installations and ships at sea around the world is one way to help create better understanding between the races, he said. "If you travel the world, there's a variety of great cuisines out there," Estevez noted. "We're blessed to be in a country where all those cuisines have come to us. Being able to sample and taste the different varieties of spices in life is crucial to understanding where people came from."
The arts, particularly music, are another area that helps create better understanding, he said. "Many people listen to at least the roots of music that's drawn from some ethnic culture that they may not realize the music came from," Estevez noted "Broadening your understanding of whatever music you're listening to is a great opportunity."
On Sept. 28, Estevez received the 2005 National Security medal in recognition of his implementation of "radio frequency identification" for use in military logistics. RFID uses radio waves to automatically identify and track people or objects. In the logistics chain, it allows for real-time tracking of shipments around the world.
The award is part of the "Service to America Medals" program, co-sponsored by the Atlantic Media Company, which publishes several government-related periodicals.
The awards program pays tribute to America's federal workforce, highlighting civil servants who have made significant contributions to the country. Estevez was cited for his work in developing policies and processes to ensure that the vast quantities of food, fuel, medicine, clothing, munitions and weapons parts needed to sustain globally deployed U.S. forces are available to them, the award citation stated.
In addition to implementing RFID, Estevez was instrumental in developing and deploying a worldwide RFID infrastructure called the "in-transit visibility network," which significantly improved the tracking of military supplies. Estevez helped put the latest technology being used by the private sector to use for the armed forces. The result of his work is a more effective and more efficient fighting force, the award citation stated.