An Army leader has found a new home at Space and Missile Defense Command and looks forward to working with his new team.
Brig. Gen. Guillaume “Will” Beaurpere, SMDC deputy commander for operations, assumed his duties in July. Having never previously worked directly with the command, he said the SMDC family has made him feel at home while he helps lead the command into the future.
“As the old saying goes, ‘first impressions are lasting impressions,’” Beaurpere said. “I am absolutely impressed by the professionalism of the civilians and service members who work in this command.
“As an Army service component command, not geographically aligned like many of the other ASCCs, it reminds me a lot of U.S. Army Special Operations Command in terms of its functions and roles within the Army. It has its own center of excellence, it is an advocate for space and missile defense professional development and it serves multiple combatant commands. In that regard, I actually felt very comfortable stepping into this ASCC because it was somewhat familiar to me in terms of structure, purpose and function.”
Beaurpere said there was a steep learning curve since arriving at the command but also said there was a perfect order in his introduction.
“Certainly, I don’t have a background in missile defense or space but the way the team engineered my first days within the command was perfect,” Beaurpere said.
He said his first days on the ground at the headquarters in Colorado allowed him to get to know the team at Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado Springs with the brigades and understand the command’s operations. During his second and third week, Beaurpere tackled the two-week Army Space Cadre Course.
“I learned about the very fundamental basics of Army space and it was perfect timing,” he said. “I needed to learn a ‘new language’ literally and that course was a phenomenal opportunity to get a broad baseline understanding of space operations.”
During his fourth week Beaurpere visited SMDC’s Huntsville headquarters as well attended the Space and Missile Defense Symposium.
“That first month, in terms of helping me understand and assimilate the various missions, roles and responsibilities of this command – a command that it geographically distributed, which is hard to manage; a headquarters staff that is bifurcated between two locations – really helped me manage that learning curve and build an understanding that I didn’t have on day one,” Beaurpere said.
He said he has worked with the signal Soldiers, intelligence Soldiers and air defense artillery Soldiers in the command before but that he never fully appreciated the skill sets they developed.
“You can tell that the skills they develop in this command really make them unique and they develop something special, especially on the space side,” Beaurpere said. “The ADA Soldiers can really come and go from SMDC to other ADA organizations, but the space-specific critical skill sets that are developed here with Soldiers is something really special.”
Beaurpere said he was impressed by the professionalism of the civilians in the command as well and that they have all graciously contributed their time to help him adjust.
“The depth of institutional experience and knowledge in this civilian workforce is phenomenal,” he said. “There’s a depth of experience that is unprecedented and probably not fully appreciated until you really start talking to them and realize they have served in the military in some way, shape or form, or been with the command for not years, but decades.”
In his duties at SMDC, Beaurpere oversees operations in three brigades and said he takes that very seriously. He said first and foremost he wants everyone to know his philosophy is the commander’s philosophy and as the DCG-O, he supports the commanding general.
“As deputy commanding general for operations, first and foremost I am focused on readiness,” Beaurpere said. “Readiness takes engaged leadership at every level on a regular basis to make sure we are measuring the right things for the right reasons. It involves understanding our missions and our requirements and making sure we are building capabilities to meet those missions and requirements on a regular basis.
“Secondly, you have to build trust. You can’t build a team without trust. That starts with understanding our people and their challenges and how can I address those challenges from my level and my perspective. Also, admitting there are a lot of ‘I don’t know’ and ‘I need to learn.’”
Dignity and respect are his third pillar, he said.
“Soldiers are all volunteers,” Beaurpere said. “They raised their right hand and were not forced to join the military, they did it because they wanted to. So we owe them the best possible leadership, the best possible council, mentorship and guidance that can be had, and they should expect from leaders to be treated with dignity and respect.”
Beaurpere said he is excited to be part of SMDC.
“In terms of who I am and what I can bring here, I think I am in the right job,” he said. “Operations is something I have done my entire career so that is something I bring to the command and to the job. I will be very focused on readiness and what it means to operationalize this headquarters.”