Salutes & Awards

September 5, 2013

Civilian of the Month

TURLEY-07AUG2013

Susan Turley

Agency: Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command and Fort Huachuca

Position and duties: Attorney-advisor for the legal office. Primary focus areas are contract and fiscal law, and ethics

How long at current assignment: Since June 2012

How long in government service: As a DoD civilian, five years; 21 years on active-duty with the Air Force; retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2008

Residence: Whetstone

Family: Husband, Carl, three sons: Jared, 24, Robert, 22, and Cody, 19

Hobbies: Collecting elephants, small-scale farming, horseback riding and volunteering for CANTER

“When I’m stressed and all else fails, I shop for shoes.”

Accomplishments: “After two Air Force pilots mistakenly dropped bombs on a team of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, I was one of eight attorneys who served as liaisons to the next-of-kin and helped them through the U.S. military justice process and the accompanying international publicity.”

As SJA, brought about the first-ever direct contract partnership with Microsoft, a $500 million effort covering 530,000 software licenses that became the model for much of the federal government. Represented more than 1,000 clients in military justice and disciplinary proceedings.

Advice: “None of us are irreplaceable. Be humble – understand your strengths and weaknesses. All achievements are, in some way, a team effort, so we each have to know what we can and can’t contribute.

“Be willing to ask questions, and admit you are wrong or don’t know.”

“Recognize that you will never satisfy all of the people all of the time. As a defense attorney, I once had a case where the judge, the prosecution and my client all seemed to think I was an idiot. At that point, I realized that no matter what I did, someone was going to find fault with my performance. It was actually very liberating to stop worrying about what other people thought of me!”

Other comments: “I knew a JAG colonel who was worried about how he would introduce himself when he retired because his whole life was defined by being a military attorney. I never wanted that to be me – my career has helped me and my family have a good life, but it’s been a means to that end, not the end itself.

“My husband and I have tried to live by two key principles: Always try to do what God wants you to do; and to make the decisions that will leave you with the most options. When we do the first, then we know things will work out and we don’t have to worry or second-guess our decisions. Doing the second has allowed us to be ready to take advantage of all the opportunities that have come our way.”

 




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