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Roger W. Jones Award for Federal Government Leadership Announced

By Jon Hussey

Thomas A. Betro, director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS), and Theresa M. Whalen, deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs have been honored as the 2008 recipients of The Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership, presented annually by American University’s School of Public Affairs.

At 7 p.m. on Monday, November 17, Neil Kerwin, President of American University, hosted a ceremony at the Kay Spiritual Life Center to honor these two Federal career executives, who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to excellence, leadership, and professional development. Clay Johnson, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget offered the keynote speech, “An Insider’s Guide to Presidential Transitions.”

Betro became the third civilian director of NCIS on January 8, 2006. As the Director of NCIS, Mr. Betro is the senior official responsible for criminal, counterintelligence, counterterrorism investigations and operations, as well as security matters within the Department of the Navy (DoN). Mr. Betro joined NCIS in 1982, and has served in a variety of organizational assignments and mission areas, both within the United States and overseas. He served two separate tours as an NCIS Special Agent afloat during deployments of the USS JOHN F. KENNEDY and USS ENTERPRISE.  Mr. Betro holds a Master of Arts degree from the Naval War College, where he earned the James Forrestal Award for "Excellence in Strategy and Force Planning," and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Colby College, Waterville, ME. 

Whelan currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs within the Office of the Secretary of Defense.  Her office is responsible for Department of Defense policy for all of Sub-Saharan Africa.  Ms Whelan brings to her position fifteen years of experience in the defense intelligence and defense policy communities, including twelve years focusing on African issues.   Ms. Whelan has a Master of Arts degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University and a Master of Science degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations with a minor in Russian Studies from the College of William and Mary.  Ms. Whelan was also nominated for and completed a year-long fellowship with the Council on Excellence in Government in 1996.

This is the 31st year that The Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership has been presented.  It recognizes public servants in the federal government whose careers are marked by extraordinary effectiveness in organizational development and a strong commitment to training and education managers and executives. The awardees are chosen by a selection committee that is chaired by former U.S. Controller General Charles Bowsher and includes current Comptroller General David M. Walker.  

The award is named for Jones (1908-1993), a leader in federal government for more than four decades.  Among his appointments, he served as chairman of the Civil Service Commission (1959-1961); deputy under secretary of state for administration (1961-1962); senior consultant and special assistant to the director, Bureau of the Budget (1962-1975).  His service was marked with ability to lead change based on the belief that government can mobilize human talents in order to accomplish goals.