Making a difference, one leader at a time: Brig. Gen. Teresa Djuric

  • Published
  • By Teri Baker
  • 42nd Air Base Wing, chief of Plans and Programs
"Writing Women Back into History," the theme of this year's Women's History Month, affords us an opportunity to focus on individuals who are currently making history at Maxwell-Gunter.

The first of these, Brig. Gen. Teresa Djuric, commander of the Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development, exemplifies the difference a single leader can make given the opportunity. General Djuric's command is worldwide and reaches out to individuals before they serve in the military. Civil Air Patrol, or CAP-USAF, and Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Corps, or Junior ROTC, are programs dedicated to building better citizens for our nation. The Holm Center then builds the very foundation of the Air Force officer corps through Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, or Air Force ROTC, and Officer Training School, or OTS. General Djuric brings a unique view based upon her military upbringing, career experiences and through the broad view of space operations. It is the key element of her command: everything is an opportunity to improve the future of the Air Force's most valuable asset - the men and women who choose to serve.

General Teresa Djuric and Maj. Gen. Jeanne M. Holm share common experiences; both were trained to become officers through OTS and each served at base-level positions and overseas prior to serving on the Air Staff at the Pentagon. General Holm recounted with General Djuric a few months ago that when serving as the director of the secretary of the Air Force Personnel Council, she was asked if women should be allowed to enroll in ROTC. General Holm's immediate "of course," resulted in the opportunity for 3,469 female Air Force ROTC cadets today. Indirectly, General Holm's efforts were key to General Djuric's opportunity to eventually become the leader of the center named for her predecessor. The Holm Center, under General Djuric's leadership, is a true change agent as evidenced in the benefits gained from integration with CAP-USAF and the Academy of Military Science.

Our nation is defended with a Total Force concept. The Holm Center has aggressively worked with the Air National Guard to ensure effective integration of AMS into the OTS program. This, along with the CAP integration, has afforded each organization within the Holm Center the opportunity to contribute to a shared common experience and has had a very positive impact on officer training and citizen development. General Djuric noted she met with the organizations' 0-6 commanders regularly to discuss their goal for organizational excellence and the need to embrace synergies. Like the state of Alabama, that brings together all participants during emergency planning; the AMS, CAP-USAF and civilian training integration has helped the Holm Center focus on the roles and responsibilities each hold within the Total Force. Each role is valuable; for example, CAP-USAF helps monitor the CAP orientation flights for Junior ROTC and Air Force ROTC to ensure flying capabilities are fully expended.

Civilians have recently been afforded the opportunity to be part of the Total Force team through the Civilian Acquisition Leadership Training, or CALT; the 10th class is underway. Additionally, General Djuric personally hosted a brown bag lunch with her civilian workforce, recognizes them at her commander calls, nominates civilians for awards, including monitary awards, and considers them a valuable element of her team.

General Djuric is very excited about the Holm Center team and the foundation built for officers through the Center's programs. She praises the amazing commanders and instructors across the globe who make this fantastic mission succeed. CAP-USAF, Junior ROTC, Air Force ROTC, OTS, AMS and CALT are developing the best leaders and citizens for our great nation. General Djuric truly follows in General Holm's footsteps as a change agent critically needed in our challenging world, and she demonstrates actions that back up words that are the key to the Holm Center's success. The Air Force is continuously getting better because of her leadership.