Declared by an act of Congress in 1999, National Military Appreciation Month was created to honor the men and women who have served, or are serving, the United States Armed Forces. The month-long observation pays tribute to those who have sacrificed on the behalf of others.
In honor of National Military Appreciation Month, we’re proud to profile some of our leaders who serve the military’s mission and our country in both civilian and military roles. Here, we speak with Bob Darlington, our General Manager of the Civilian business unit, Navy Veteran, and Executive Sponsor of our Veteran employee resource group, ConVERG.
Bob, tell us a little bit about your background in the military and your current role at Cognosante.
I was commissioned as a Navy Officer after graduating from the University of Notre Dame on a Navy ROTC scholarship. I then served as a Surface Warfare Officer on Cruisers and Destroyers for 10 years; followed by 14 years in the Naval Reserve and combat action during the Libyan Operations and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. One of the highlights of my career included being selected as an intern at the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As a young Navy Lieutenant, I was able to observe leaders at the highest echelons of the Department of Defense. I am currently the General Manager of the Civilian Business Unit, which provides critical IT and systems integration solutions to Federal civilian agencies, with the goal of improving the safety and security of all Americans.
National Military Appreciation Month symbolizes unity. Can you reflect on what that means to you?
The concept of “Unity” that is core to NMAM means that all Americans are encouraged take time to honor, recognize, remember, and appreciate all those who have served, and continue to proudly serve our nation.
You’ve recently accepted a role as Executive Sponsor for Cognosante’s Employee Resource Group, ConVERG. How does ConVERG benefit Veterans and military spouses?
ConVERG is committed to hiring Veterans and military spouses. These individuals dedicated their lives to protecting the freedom and way of life for all Americans. The program goes well beyond just hiring Veterans and military spouses. We provide training, mentorship, and career advancement so that they can become immediate contributors to Cognosante, and transition smoothly from military to civilian roles. In my role as Executive Sponsor of ConVERG, I work with the leadership team to ensure that ConVERG has the resources they need to be successful. We also look at innovative ways to increase our hiring of Veterans and Military Spouses through internship and fellowship programs, military associations, and career fairs, just to name a few.
How does the perspective you gained from your military service benefit your team and your customers?
The military emphasizes leadership, discipline, respect, honesty and integrity, and teamwork. I apply these values in my civilian work at Cognosante because they contribute to the success of our project teams, and ultimately, our customers. Of course, military service also produces specific knowledge of the mission, culture, organizational norms, and language of customers who play a role in supporting our national defense. This includes not only the Department of Defense, but also civilian organizations such as the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, the State Department, and many others.
How does Cognosante support the lives of Active Military Members, Military Spouses, and Veterans?
Internally, Cognosante is a great company for Veterans and Military Spouses. We offer outstanding benefits, transition assistance, training and certifications, time-off for Reserve and Guard duty, and internship programs for active-duty military preparing to transition to the civilian workforce.
Cognosante’s mission is about improving the health and safety of all Americans through access to care, delivery of care, safety and security, and health equity. This means that our core values ensure we support active-duty service members, military spouses, and Veterans through the work we do on behalf of our customers. Many of our projects in the defense, intelligence, and homeland security sectors also help our service personnel carry out their missions more effectively.
For example, our work with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Defense Health Agency improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the health care services that Veterans receive. Not all Veterans are located near health care facilities, so our telehealth solutions have greatly improved their access to care.
Our enterprise IT solutions provide the infrastructure that helps service members resolve problems and access the information they need securely and efficiently. These are just a few examples:
- Through our Navy Enterprise Service Desk program, we help over 1.2 million individuals, including active duty, reservists, spouses, and Veterans, resolve issues with their pay, travel, household moves, service records, and tuition assistance.
- We provide advanced cybersecurity solutions and tools to protect our Nation’s critical networks and data that transcends just military networks.
- We also support a requirements analysis tool that has improved the gathering and dissemination of intelligence data, so that end users have the information they need, when they need it.
Simply put, our solutions and tools are helping active-duty service members focus on their missions. That is an honor and privilege for all of us at Cognosante.