Showcasing Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education (EJPME) students and distinguished graduates.
Meet Senior Executive Assistant to Special Operations Command Senior Enlisted Leader, Air Force Master Sgt., Gessica E. Lillich. We recently asked Lillich about her EJPME experience and what she would share with other enlisted members.
What joint experiences have you had?
As sensor operator from Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), I have had the opportunity to advise, assist, and execute air missions with joint ground forces. Additionally, I was a joint air planner in support of Army/Marine/Air Force air assets for the Special Operations Forces. Currently I am serving as the senior executive assistant to the command senior enlisted leader of SOCOM.
What was the value of EJPME and preparing in advance for joint assignments?
EJPME provided me with baseline and actionable knowledge to prepare for interactions and advise senior leader decisions on tactical and operational levels. Prior to my selection to the joint environment, I would say that my joint knowledge was below average. EJPME allowed me to learn at my pace as well as communicate what I learned to my subordinates and my peers. I would love to see EJPME introduced earlier in our careers so that we can build off the foundation.
How has EJPME impacted your experiences in a joint environment?
EJPME provided me with foundational knowledge to operate in a joint environment.
Tell us about an experience you’ve had where your EJPME knowledge came into play.
As the joint air planner, EJPME helped me assimilate and integrate with the joint mission. Although I had never worked in that role, EJPME provided me with an interoperable perspective allowing me to effectively contribute and provide my experience to be an effective planner.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned about joint operations?
The most important thing I have learned is that with an understanding and appreciation for diverse experiences and knowledge, joint operations truly is remarkable and capable of any dynamic. With those attributes, it allows for synergy of thought and efficient execution. Everyone has something to bring to the fight.
What do you feel is the most important subject for future joint leaders to know?
Future joint leaders must be able to leverage relationships and create touch points within other organizations/services. Joint is not a stove-pipe approach, the more you flow in and out of different environments, the more you will be able lead with a broader sight picture.
What advice do you have for current students?
Do not take this course for granted; the future success of our DoD is a collaboration of joint efforts which requires a joint minded force.
What’s next for you?
I am headed to Naval Postgraduate School to pursue a Master's in defense analysis.
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
I am a massive Star Wars fan.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Thank you for what you all provide to enlisted education and thank you for this opportunity.
Individuals may be nominated for this quarterly distinction by the EJPME Program Manager or their Command Senior Enlisted Leader (SEL). If you are a CSEL interested in nominating an EJPME student or alumni, please contact the Program Manager, Mr. John Lipps, at email@example.com.