Chief Legalman Daniela Briceno – a valued and experienced member of the Navy JAG community – recently graduated from the military’s Senior Enlisted Academy (SEA) with high honors. The SEA is a 10-week leadership development program for active and Reserve enlisted personnel from the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and National Guard, as well as from international service partners. SEA instruction is focused on management, leadership, national security, and physical fitness.
Briceno was named the recipient of the Chief McKenna Award, which is presented to a student who demonstrates excellence in written communication in military heritage. Briceno was also selected for the Dean's List after achieving high academic performance among her graduating class. The SEA graduation ceremony and award announcements were shared online on May 21, 2020.
She calls her time during the SEA program a welcome challenge, and her experiences both inspired and humbled her. The SEA has been an integral part of enlisted leader development for nearly 40 years, and hundreds of military personnel have walked the academy’s halls. It is one of many crucial milestones towards career advancement within the enlisted community.
“As I was attending this course, I wanted to bring my best efforts and represent the Legalman community and my command well, like all the previous Legalman who have received this award or completed this program,” Briceno said. “Due to COVID-19, we did not have a typical graduation and it made the experience a little more complicated, but it was motivating watching everyone adapt to the changes and understand the need for flexibility.”
In her current tour, Briceno has served as an instructor at the Naval Justice School (NJS) for three years and is the Military Justice Department Lead Petty Officer. She supports all NJS military justice short courses as a course coordinator and is also an instructor for the Legalman Accession Course.
“My time at NJS has been rewarding for various reasons,” said Briceno. “Our Basic Leader Course and Legalman Accession students come to NJS with a lot of hope, nervousness, and eagerness to learn. During those times, we are able to uplift and motivate them to perform their best through all the challenges they face.”
“We have a part, minor though it may be, in shaping the way they see problems and guide them to decide what type of judge advocate, legalman, and leaders that they want to be,” Briceno added. “Our work is never easy, and at times, we are able to learn when we fall short. This has been one of the biggest lessons I have learned at NJS.”
Reflecting on her time at SEA, Briceno says a person’s accomplishments are never achieved without support. She attributes her success and accolades to the NJS leadership triad: Commanding Officer Capt. Shane Cooper, Executive Officer Lt. Col. Christopher Hoover, and Senior Enlisted Leader Master Chief Legalman Myron Chism.
Additionally, Briceno’s NJS Department Heads, Lt. Cmdr. Tereza Ohley and Lt. Cmdr. Alyssa Nichol, understand the importance of leadership development within their enlisted ranks. Briceno said they encourage professional development because it enriches one’s career and also can enhance NJS instruction.
“My mentor, Master Chief Legalman Julian Larkins and the Chiefs who spent time conducting peer reviews have also been a source of motivation,” said Briceno. “And, of course, the legalmen who were previously recognized for this specific SEA accomplishment also encouraged me. Whether they realize it or not, they have set the bar high for legalman like me, as we interact with enlisted peers from other ratings.”
Briceno hopes she can carry with her the many things she learned during her NJS tour – whether in SEA or while serving as an instructor – and share them with the Fleet. She is scheduled to transfer this month to Amphibious Construction Battalion One in San Diego, Calif.