Ivan Bolden’s Influence and the Future of Partnerships Across the Services

December 22, 2023

Ivan Bolden, a long-time ADC figure, retired this month as the Army’s chief of partnerships after decades of Army service in and out of uniform. Bolden is considered a pioneer in shaping and advancing what today are known as intergovernmental service agreements, formally authorized by Congress a little more than 10 years ago.

“Congrats Ivan!!” DOD Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation Director Patrick O’Brien wrote last week in a LinkedIn post. “It was a pleasure working with you and your efforts on behalf of our defense states and communities – a national treasure.”

ADC spoke with Bolden for last month’s edition of America’s Defense Communities Magazine. Here are excerpts from the interview.

On what motivated his work: “When I was a second lieutenant, I used to get policies from the Pentagon, and I would look at them and say, ‘Well, if they only knew. If they only knew.’ Now I’m old enough and in the position to where I am the ‘they,’ so I always reflect back to Second Lieutenant Bolden whenever we’re putting a policy out, and we try to make the best decision that will benefit soldiers and their families.”

On the future of partnerships: “It’s time to expand and test the limits of the intergovernmental authorities. I’m looking forward to doing something with climate resiliency and water resiliency. I’m looking forward to doing stuff with 5G. I’m looking forward to using more universities to do partnerships, using some of the historically Black colleges and universities to tap into their talent pool and partnering with the military services. I’m trying to set the stage for my service counterparts and others to follow.”

On his future: “I have had a wonderful experience. I am looking forward to retiring from the government, but I’m going to still pay it forward.”

Rachel Jacobson, assistant Army secretary for installations, energy and environment, told ADC that Bolden “made unbelievably important connections with state and local governments [and] universities that give us incredibly important access to resources that we do not otherwise have.”

You can hear Jacobson’s remarks on Bolden, partnerships, housing and climate resilience in episode nine of America’s Defense Communities | The Podcast.

ADC photo of ADC President Karen Holt and Bolden at Installation Innovation X by Will Noonan

December 22, 2023

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