Project manager of mission command retires after forging path for next-gen command post technologies
June 3, 2014
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (June 2, 2014) -- Fulfilling his intentions to serve, learn, lead and mentor, Col. Jonas Vogelhut concluded a distinguished 25-year career with the Army at his retirement ceremony on May 30.
Honored guests, colleagues, friends and family gathered at the Myer Auditorium at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) to honor Vogelhut's accomplishments.
"Although you are departing, I charge you never to forget that you are an officer in the U.S. Army and will remain so," said Maj. Gen. (Retired) Nickolas G. Justice, former program executive officer for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), who led the retirement ceremony."Your service and support of this nation is no less important today than it will be in the future."
Vogelhut received many honors during the ceremony including a Legion of Merit Award and a state proclamation in honor of his service from Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.
For the past three years, Vogelhut served as the Project Manager for Mission Command (PM MC), assigned to PEO C3T. He provided leadership and support to deployed and deploying forces by successfully delivering highly reliable, mission critical systems such as Command Post of the Future (CPOF), Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) and Battle Command Sustainment Support System (BCS3). These systems and the rest of the PM MC portfolio provide commanders with the information needed to collaborate, decide and lead their organizations in combat, training and home station environments.
A true visionary, Vogelhut has been instrumental in modernizing command post technologies by leading the Command Post Computing Environment (CP CE) effort as part of the Army-standard Common Operating Environment (COE) for software on the battlefield. The CP CE will both modernize and simplify the systems Soldiers require for their missions.
"It has been an honor to lead the CP CE initiative on our organization's behalf," Vogelhut said. "CP CE is giving the commander the ability to balance the art of command with the science control, which is the precise definition of mission command."
Vogelhut attributes his need to serve to his late father, who was born in Czechoslovakia, emigrated from Poland to the U.S. and served his adopted country in World War II.
"My dad always said that serving one's country was just the right thing to do, and it has come as naturally to me as it did to him," he said.
Awarded a Reserve Officers Training Corp (ROTC) scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh and commissioned in 1989, Vogelhut began his leadership career as a platoon leader in the Chemical Corps and progressed from battalion to assistant division chemical officer. By 1996, he was the company commander for the 92d Chemical Company, 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized).
It was during this assignment that the company was awarded the Sibert award, which recognizes the best chemical company in the Active Army for elements of mission readiness, leadership, discipline and organizational excellence.
"I enjoyed developing new leaders during this assignment, and our hard work resulted in this award," Vogelhut said. "The company exhibited its complete readiness when three months after my command they seamlessly deployed to Kuwait."
Vogelhut eventually chose the Acquisition Corps for its continued leadership opportunities and reach across the Army to ensure Soldiers obtain the systems they need to safely fight in battle.
Following his assignment as executive officer for PEO C3T, Vogelhut deployed to Iraq as part of PM Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below (FBCB2), which became PM Joint Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P) before merging with PM MC. Vogelhut participated in the first wave of attack of what is now known as Operation Iraqi Freedom I where he guided Soldiers on how to operate what was then a new situational awareness capability.
"For the first time, Soldiers could track vehicles by viewing a computer screen, and it was very exciting to watch them manage the battle in a different way," Vogelhut said. "That was the day General Mazzucchi, the PEO for C3T at Fort Monmouth, N.J., commanding general for CECOM at the time, informed the Acquisition Executive that the Acquisition Corps isn't relegated to the rear; they cross forward with the units."
Following assignments at the Pentagon, Vogelhut became the Joint Product Manager for Reconnaissance and Platform Integration where his organization built the dismounted reconnaissance kit for the Stryker Nuclear Chemical Biological Chemical Recon Vehicle.
In 2011, he became Project Manager for Mission Command where he has continued to closely monitor the capabilities Soldiers request -- specifically in the command post.
"There is no better praise than watching Soldiers actually use the systems," Vogelhut said. "They come to us and trust we will take the research dollars we obtain and develop the next great product."
Vogelhut credits the organization's success to the workforce -- particularly the young leaders who emerged following the organization's Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) move to APG from Ft. Monmouth.
"I have been incredibly fortunate to work with such great talent," Vogelhut said. "Many are working tirelessly to ensure we develop better products for the Soldier."
In addition to the workforce, Vogelhut draws much support from his family -- especially from his wife of 24 years, Paula. Extended military family support has also been crucial, and in the Vogelhut's case, perhaps just a bit more as they are parents to triplet boys, now teens.
"I have often shared with my boys how the community rallied around their mother when I deployed when they were just three years old," said Vogelhut. The Vogelhuts ensure they "pay it forward" as often as possible to assist other military families. For Vogelhut, giving back also includes providing mentorship to many Army majors and lieutenant colonels.
"As a leader, it is important to take time to share the lessons you have learned over your career with those who may benefit from your experiences," Vogelhut said.