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April 19, 2023

Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy (DUSN) Mr. Victor Minella – Navy to Civilian Leadership through the “DUSN’s Dozen”

Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy (DUSN) Mr. Victor Minella – Navy to Civilian Leadership through the “DUSN’s Dozen”

In this episode of Moments in Leadership, host David B. Armstrong spends time with DUSN Victor Minella, otherwise referred to as “Dozen” where they spend time discussing various topics related to leadership from his enlisted time, his officer time, and finally in civilian leadership inside the Department of the Navy.


DUSN Minella covers the importance of leadership in making organizations successful and the differences/similarities in leading civilians and military personnel. DUSN Minella emphasizes leaders should seek to understand their personnel as individuals and not merely names on a chart. He also believes the best organizations are those where everyone is held to the same standard, especially on the ethical side. 


To make this happen, he stresses the importance of compassion and understanding junior personnel will make mistakes, the important thing is to understand why the mistake happened and ensure the person is still a member of the team. 


While every leader is responsible for setting the culture and foundation, the episode also covers the need for ethical leadership to ensure personnel Live Their Oath. DUSN Minella says unethical leaders are one of the quickest ways to erode trust in a command and more broadly, citizens’ trust towards the military. 


The trust of people is firstly forged from competence and leaders must be able to triage and quickly learn. The transition from military to civilian removes the bonafides of the uniform and rolling up one's sleeves and getting involved helps in gaining trust and showing competence in the job. Losing military identity can be overcome by having job satisfaction, so picking the right job, and not just ‘a job’ is vitally important in helping service members make their transition outside the military. 


DUSN Minella discusses the role of the Senior Executive Service is to be an executive and not specifically to task but to give guidance when needed and support when warranted. Oftentimes being the ‘easy answer’ fails to create teams where initiative becomes a part of the organizational culture.


The role of innovation is critical to solving some of the most important issues facing warfighters today. Fostering a culture of mentorship, communication, and innovative ‘maverick’ thought allows an organization to be agile and responsive to the needs of these warfighters. 


DUSN Minella discusses how being ‘All-In’ is essential for maximizing both individual opportunities and improving National Security. The commitment and the Oath means being ‘All-In’ for the United States.  




Overall, the episode is an insightful discussion about leadership, the importance of mentorship, and the need for leaders to build relationships with their subordinates.


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DUSN’s Dozens: 

Live your Oath 

Be bold be kind 

Exercise Urgency 

Always Overprepare

Know your audience 

Be Genuine 

Be a Storyteller

Be Brief Be Gone 

Be uncomfortable

Be a Mentor Always

Value Enthusiasm 

Celebrate Opportunity and Success  


Marine Corps Training and Education 2030


Turn the Ship Around: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by L. David Marquet, Captain U.S. Navy (Ret) (not an affiliate link)


What is Moments in Leadership?

Moments in Leadership is a podcast where you will hear firsthand about the careers of senior military leaders as they share their unique and individual experiences. Moments in Leadership will immerse you in real-life stories where you will learn about the challenging situations these accomplished leaders faced and discover the lessons they learned early in their careers that were the most influential in developing their overall leadership style. 


Conceptualized by a group of friends who served together as young officers in the early to mid-1990s sitting around a firepit telling funny leadership stories, Moments in Leadership is designed to provide some relatable context to the formal leadership training leaders of all ranks and services receive throughout their military careers through the power of storytelling.


Why Should You Support this project? 

I realize all of the leaders who listen to the episodes are at different levels of life, and my goal is to be able to have this project remain free and available to anyone who wants it and your donations help go towards that. Your donations go towards offsetting my costs of producing high-quality episodes. Additionally, since this is a part-time hobby project for me, I'm forced to outsource a good deal of work to others to maintain a regular publishing schedule. Your donations help offset these costs as well. 


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Other Podcasts Interviews with David B. Armstrong

Scuttlebutt Podcast EP 38

Former Action Guys Podcast EP 161 

Former Action Guys Podcast EP 141 

Former Action Guys Podcast EP 60 

Former Action Guys Podcast EP 54 


About the Host:

David B. Armstrong, CFA, is President and Co-Founder of Monument Wealth Management, an independent wealth management firm he started in 2008 in Alexandria, Va. David received his BA from the University of South Carolina in Government & International Relations and his MBA at the University of South Carolina's Moore School of Business in International Finance. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant through the Navy ROTC program and served on Active Duty in the Marine Corps from 1990-1997 as an Artillery Officer and then received a secondary MOS as a Tank Officer. He re-entered the Selected Marine Corps Reserves in 2003 and served in several billets across the Artillery, Tank, and Light Armored Reconnaissance communities. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in late 2018.