New admiral addresses China Lake Alliance

‘The capability this community provides to the Navy and defense just has to be seen to be believed’

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

New admiral addresses China Lake Alliance“Having an opportunity to speak with you is much more beneficial than you probably realize,” Rear Adm. Scott Dillon, who recently accepted command of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, told the members and guests of the China Lake Alliance at a luncheon last week in his honor.

Meeting with members of the community provides valuable insight into how to approach his role as military leader for the largest employer in the valley, he said.

CLA Executive Director Dave Janeic introduced Dillon, sharing highlights of his extensive military background.

“We had hoped to introduce his wife, Susan, today,” said Janeic. However, as is reflective of the life of a military spouse, she was overseeing the arrival of their household belongings after moving her children here after close of the school year.

Dillon himself has been here since April. “When you get to see what happens here on a daily basis, it’s very impressive. The capability this community provides to the Navy and the nation just has to be seen to be believed.

The admiral then walked his listeners through the key lessons he learned during the various phases of his career, and which he hoped to apply in his role at NAWCWD.

The No. 1 lesson from tours that took him all over the world, he said, was the honor concept that was instilled in Naval Academy cadets — “midshipmen do not lie, cheat or steal.”

Although deceptively simple, he said, it has been a touchstone throughout his career, and part of his command philosophy on base. “I want to have an organization that deals openly and honestly.”

His next goal was that, despite the impressive military capabilities generated here, “We cannot become complacent. We cannot assume the advantage we have enjoyed for such a long period of time. That will not remain the case if we do not work at it.”

Dillon said that can be maintained by surrounding himself with people of diverse perspectives who are willing to engage in open, honest discussion in search of the best idea.

“We need to know which assumptions are flawed. What data do we need to fill in the gaps in our knowledge to move forward in the best effective way?”

He said that he believes these principles are already guiding the culture at China Lake.

“I don’t think this community would be as valuable a technical resource as it is if you hadn’t figured these things out. It is important to enforce these principles.”

In the mission to balance safety with the further development of capabilities, Dillon said he strives to understand the perspective of even the bureaucrats. “Policies and procedures are in place for a reason. If you understand those reasons, and the resistance of others, it may help inform how you move things forward within that framework.”

Dillon fielded several questions from the audience. He said that he appreciates having an established open line of communication between his command and the community and hopes to build on it.

“I’m unaware of burning issues that need my immediate attention, and I would like to build up relationships with you to allow me to see issues coming long before they become a crisis so that we can talk about solutions before they get out of hand.”

He said that he had already sat through one meeting of the recently formed Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority, which seeks to enforce compliance with state mandates to prevent water decline within our basin.

He admitted that he is unsure what his role will be within driving a solution for such challenges.

He joked that he could turn off the faucet while brushing his teeth in the morning.

“Maybe that is my contribution.”

Pictured: Rear?Adm. Scott Dillon — Photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2018-07-20