ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, MD. (April 25, 2013) -- When Robert Golden first entered government service, he wasn't sure it was the right move.

After all it was 1979, he had just graduated from New Jersey's Monmouth College and job offers for engineers were rolling in.

"My whole family was in Ocean County, N.J., and Fort Monmouth was hiring like crazy," said Golden, the director of operations for Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T)."I had no experience working in the engineering field and I didn't really know what I wanted. I figured I'd give it three years to see if I liked it. Then I fell into project management and I loved it."

Now, as Golden retires from government service almost 34 years later, he said what he'll miss most are the people he worked with and their dedication to the mission of providing Soldiers with the integrated networks, radios, computers, servers and other hardware and software they require to communicate on the battlefield.

Golden began his career as a project lead for the Identification Friend or Foe program with the Army's Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM). Throughout his career, Golden has held 16 positions with six major Army commands and served three times as an Army board select project manager providing crucial improvements to communications capabilities for U.S. Warfighters.

It is perhaps his work as PM TRCS, under PEO C3T, from 2003 to 2006 that he will remember most fondly. It was during that time that Golden and his team led the acquisition, development, production, fielding and sustainment of the Joint Network Node-Network (JNN-Network). Replacing the antiquated Mobile Subscriber Equipment (MSE), the JNN-Network was later named Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 1, which serves as the Army's current tactical communications network and enables high-speed, high-capacity communications down to the battalion level at-the-quick-halt.

In response to units' urgent operational needs in theater for beyond line-of-sight and on-the-move communications, PM TRCS partnered with the Signal Center at Fort Gordon, Ga., to replace the existing MSE with the JNN-Network. Once Army leadership agreed with the vision, the funding was provided to equip and train the Third Infantry Division (3ID) with the state-of-the-art JNN-Network.

The new system provided the tactical network for the battlefield based on commercial-off-the-shelf voice and data Internet Protocol network equipment installed in transit cases and tactical vehicles. This effort transformed the tactics, techniques and procedures for establishing networks and communications on the battlefield. During a two-year period, Golden successfully led a complex effort that replaced outdated information technology systems in 75 percent of the Active Army and 25 percent of the Reserve Component.

"We spent a lot of energy up front trying to convince Army leadership of what we could do and how good the JNN-Network could be," he said. "We delivered the first equipment to 3ID and saw how much they loved it and how it was such a substantial leap in technology over MSE. There was no stopping it after that."

For his efforts as PM TRCS, Golden was recognized as the Army's Project Manager of the Year in 2005.

Golden also served as Project Manager Defense Communications and Army Transmission Systems (PM DCATS), director of the Product Realization Directorate at the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC), and Project Manager Network Service Center (PM NSC) under PEO Enterprise Information Systems.

"I've had the fortune of working with tremendous leaders and with outstanding personnel throughout my entire career," said Golden. "Just when you think it can't get any better, the next job is just as good as or even better than the one before."

When Golden returned to PEO C3T in 2011 he first worked as the test director and later as the director of the Technical Industrial Liaison Office (TILO) and director of PEO C3T Operations.

As director of operations he helped move PEO C3T in an efficient and effective direction during an era of decreasing budgets, ensuring the organization leveraged existing resources and instilled the philosophy of "doing more with less."

Golden's government career came to a close on April 25 at a retirement ceremony at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., where he was honored for his service. He was also remembered for his humorous weather reports, his iPad full of musical hits and his appearance in a defibrillator awareness video that won first place in this year's U.S. Army Materiel Command's Maj. Gen. Keith Ware Public Affairs competition. But it is for his dedication to the Army and to advancing communications capabilities for U.S. Soldiers, that he will be best remembered.

As he moves to a new position as Director Department of Defense Operations with Adams Communications & Engineering Technologies (ACET), located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, he will not leave that goal entirely behind.

"It's comforting that I know even when I leave government, I'll still be working to support the Warfighter," Golden said.

Page last updated Thu April 25th, 2013 at 00:00