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Seven Officers Named White House Fellows Finalists

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 7, 1999 – Seven uniformed men are national finalists for the 1999-2000 class of White House fellows.

The President's Commission on White House Fellowships named 30 finalists May 6. The military finalists are Navy Lt. Cmdrs. Douglas J. Dennehy and Michael J. Dobbs, Army Majs. Peter F. Najera and Barrye L. Price, Navy Lt. Juan M. Garcia III, and Coast Guard Lts. William "Casey" Jones and Daniel J. Ostergaard.

White House fellows spend a year serving the president as full- time paid special assistants to members of the Cabinet and senior White House staff. They also take part in an education program that includes off-the-record meetings with high-ranking government officials, scholars, journalists and private-sector leaders.

Dennehy, 36, is executive assistant to the deputy director for operations, information operations, on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. He is a graduate of the Naval Academy, Naval War College and Armed Forces Staff College and holds a master's in national security studies from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. He is a former carrier squadron maintenance and operations officer, the Pacific Fleet F-14 Naval Flight Officer of the Year for 1997 and a former Top Gun instructor.

Dobbs, 37, is executive officer of the nuclear attack submarine USS Jefferson City, based in San Diego. He is a graduate of the Naval Academy and, as an Olmstead Scholar, earned an master's in political science from the University of Grenoble, France. Dobbs previously served as a personnel policy maker and program manager at the Bureau of Naval Personnel. He also authored a report to Congress on behalf of the secretary of the Navy, on ways to improve the retention of nuclear-trained submarine and surface warfare officers.

Najera, 33, is an Army Headquarters strategist and policy analyst at the Pentagon. A Gulf War veteran armor officer, he holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame and a master's from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He is a former aide-de-camp to the commanding general of the Seventh Army Training Command in Germany and a 1995 winner of an Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award.

Price, 36, is assistant chief of staff G1 at the 13th Corps Support Command, Fort Hood, Texas. He graduated from the University of Houston and has a master's from Texas A&M University. In 1997, he became the first African American to obtain a doctorate in history in the 122-year history of Texas A&M. Price has also served at Fort Polk, La.; Doha, Kuwait; and Fulda, Germany; and U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

Garcia, 32, is aide-de-camp in London to the deputy commander in chief of U.S. Naval Forces Europe. He graduated from UCLA and became a naval officer after receiving a joint juris doctor and master's in public administration degree from Harvard. Prior assignments include Naval Air Station Barber's Point, Hawaii, where he accumulated more than 1,200 hours piloting the P-3 Orion, and 30 armed missions in support of Operation Desert Thunder in the Persian Gulf.

Jones, 30, is an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership and Management at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. He is a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy and holds a master's from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He served as executive officer of the cutter USCGC Citrus, holds the Coast Guard Commendation Medal for outstanding achievement and twice received the Coast Guard Achievement Medal for superior performance of duty.

Ostergaard, 27, is Atlantic Fleet fiscal and budget manager in Portsmouth, Va. He is a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy. While assigned aboard the cutter USCGC Midgett, he participated in the maritime enforcement of U.N. sanctions against Haiti and helped repatriate more than 3,000 Haitians from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He commanded the cutter USCGC Point Evans and a shore- based rescue station on Kauai, Hawaii.

The White House Fellowship program was established in 1964. Program alumni include retired Army Gen. Colin L. Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark, supreme allied commander, Europe.

Program officials said selection criteria for fellowships include a record of remarkable achievement early in their careers, the skills required to serve at the highest levels of government, professional leadership potential, and public service record.

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