By 1st Lt. Jason Gabrick
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Two Schriever company grade officers were recently selected for the Lieutenant General Forrest S. McCartney Spacelift Education & Crossover Program, or SLEC-P. Both officers are set to experience the commercial spacelift industry first hand and then bring that experience back into the Air Force.
Capt. Matthew Manship, 22nd Space Operations Squadron network crew commander, and 1st Lt. Gary Davenport, chief of the 50th Space Wing Commander’s Action Group, were notified in January of their selections.
SLEC-P is a career broadening program, which immerses selected Air Force officers into the most advanced commercial spacelift enterprises.
“The program produces a core group of select officers with enhanced management qualities and technical expertise in the spacelift mission,” said Jeff Hill, Air Force Space Command chief of launch operations. “The officers [learn through] on-the-job education, experience and exposure to the civilian industrial environment and commercial best practices.”
The program, which occurs in two phases, carries with it a four-year service commitment and a unique career-long SLEC-P graduate designator for space operations officers and acquisition, engineering and financial management officers.
The first phase includes a 10-month Education with Industry, or EWI, assignment where the officer is assigned to a leading commercial space launch company.
Manship, who is headed to United Launch Alliance Denver, is looking forward to the learning opportunity.
“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime to be able to learn from an outstanding civilian organization and to be able to learn a new aspect associated with space as I have only been accustomed to the communication segment,” said Manship.
Working with commercial spacelift companies provides selected officers the ability to see how industry operates outside the military environment.
“Being in the military, we are accustomed to how we conduct business. Seeing how a civilian company, such as ULA, operates will enhance my career by allowing me to experience first hand different methods of how an organization functions,” said Manship.
Davenport is slated to work with SpaceX, a transport services company in Hawthorne, Calif. SpaceX was founded in 2002 by former PayPal entrepreneur and Tesla Motors chief executive officer, Elon Musk.
“I was inspired by Elon Musk of SpaceX and the possibility of the human race exploring and colonizing Mars,” said Davenport. “I’m excited to become involved with such a forward thinking and acting enterprise. I see SpaceX inspiring a new generation just as NASA did. The advancements they are pursuing and achieving are really fascinating, such as the development of rockets that can land and be reused. It’s an honor and a privilege to participate in collaborations between SpaceX and the Air Force, which will likely have far-reaching, positive effects for life here on earth, and perhaps beyond.”
After the officers complete the EWI portion of the program, they proceed to the second phase: career broadening. The second phase is a three-year follow-on assignment where space officers are assigned to an acquisition, engineering and financial management job and vice versa. Selected officers will either be assigned to a space launch squadron or to the Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles.
Following their assignments with SpaceX and ULA, Davenport and Manship will both be assigned to SMC.
Manship is encouraging interested officers to prepare before they apply.
“Actively engage your leadership and outline your intentions to apply. Leadership should assist you in achieving your goals by better preparing you to compete for the program,” said Manship.
According to Personnel Services Delivery Memorandum 13-36, 2014 Advanced Academic Degree and Special Experience Exchange Duty Application Message, which includes SLEC-P, all officers interested in applying must have a highly competitive record and technical degrees are preferred. Only officers with three to eight years of commissioned service and at least two years time on station as of the program start date will be considered.
Interested applicants should consult their commanders.