Managing Defense Costs and Logistics

Shawn Lennon

Deputy Chief Financial Officer of the Defense Logistics Agency

  • DCP

It’s great educational preparation that directly impacted my career trajectory.

On any given day, the Defense Logistics Agency is charged with procuring and distributing supplies for the U.S. military, from food and uniforms to construction and medical supplies, weapons systems parts and fuel. And as Deputy Chief Financial Officer for the agency, Shawn Lennon ’11 MBA/EMPA (WSM/MAX) shares responsibility for the $50 billion budget to purchase those items from industry and get them where they need to be.

That herculean task hit an additional curveball after Russia invaded Ukraine and fuel costs increased 33% overnight and nearly 50% within months. “Congress appropriates our defense budget annually, so in this case, we had to work with Congress to find ways to get additional funds transferred from other areas to ensure the military could continue its training and missions as planned,” he says. 

Lennon, who was named to his current post last year, has spent his 16-year career as a civilian working in finance capacities within the U.S. government. A graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University with a degree in entrepreneurial studies, Lennon started his government service with the Communications Electronics Command as a Department of the Army intern at Fort Monmouth. As part of his internship, he completed the four-week Army Comptroller Course, where he first heard about the Defense Comptrollership Program (DCP), a Department of Defense program with Syracuse University for military and civilian employees to obtain graduate degrees.

“I thought to myself, this is a great opportunity and an incredible program, so I started setting my sites on what it would take to get in,” Lennon says. 

For members of the military working in budget analyst or finance capacities, attending the 14-month program is an established stepping-stone for career advancement. Attending as a civilian is a little more complicated. “I had to have three years of service, and more importantly, I had to have the endorsement of my leadership, which can be challenging because you’re reassigned after completing the program.”

Lennon served as a budget analyst before acceptance into the Defense Comptrollership Program at Syracuse University. As part of the program, Lennon earned both an MBA from the Whitman School of Management and an executive master of public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. 

In addition to accounting and management courses, Lennon participated in the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp, where he learned to develop a business plan, pitch the idea and market a business. He thoroughly enjoyed learning public policy at the Maxwell School, which pushed him outside his comfort zone, and exploring Upstate New York with his wife and friends. He excelled in his coursework, receiving the LTC Thomas P. Belkofer Award for earning highest GPA in his class and the Leonard F. Keenan Award for Distinguished Service. 

After completing the program, Lennon began a new assignment at the Pentagon as a budget analyst, then was promoted to become director of Army Working Capital Fund Audit Readiness with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management & Comptroller), advancing through positions of increasing responsibility leading to his current executive-level position. 

Lennon says he draws from his Whitman education in the role. “One of the things that is great about having an MBA in the financial management field is the way that it helps you problem solve, and this is definitely a problem-solving job,” he says.

Lennon is an active member of the Association of Syracuse Defense Comptrollers, the alumni group for those who have completed DCP. “We organize events and get together for discussions,” he says. “There are quite a few of us in the D.C. area and we also do things virtually.”

And given the opportunity, he encourages others to pursue the program. “It’s great educational preparation that directly impacted my career trajectory,” Lennon says, who also promotes the government as an employer. “There is a lot of opportunity within the federal government for people to contribute without being a member of the military. The Department of Defense, including the Defense Logistics Agency, is actively recruiting college graduates, especially those with advanced degrees, in the financial management career field. I highly recommend searching and searching the “0500 series” career field for opportunities to support the United States military.”


By Renée Gearhart Levy       

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  • DCP