Deputy's move signals 'gravitational' shift
February 1, 2010
- Thomas' relocation is the first step in the transition of the CECOM Command Group to APG.
- The move is just one of several important markers that the Army Team C4ISR presence at APG is growing strong.
- Several top Team C4ISR leaders are already in place at APG.
FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. -- The top civilian employee of the CECOM LCMC began work Monday in temporary office space at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), Md., a critical milestone in a series of events that will center the 8,500-person-strong command at its new location later this year.
"Really, the center of gravity is beginning to move to APG," said Edward C. Thomas, deputy to the commanding general of the CECOM LCMC, who has been working at Fort Monmouth for 35-1/2 years.
His relocation is the first step in the transition of the CECOM Command Group to APG. It will be followed in March by the moves of the CECOM chief of staff and other CECOM staff personnel, followed in July by the arrival of the CECOM commanding general and command sergeant major; all "culminating in October as we move into our new headquarters building and unfurl the command flag at APG," said Thomas.
Thomas said his move is just one of several important markers that the Army Team C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) presence at APG is growing strong and that a significant shift is fast approaching. Other markers include:
-- There are already more than 1,400 Team C4ISR personnel at APG.
-- The number of people relocating to APG will begin to increase significantly this summer when newly constructed buildings become available.
-- Top Team C4ISR leadership is already in place at APG, including Brig. Gen. N. Lee S. Price, program executive officer for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (C3T); Gary Blohm, director of the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center; Dave Sharman, director of the CECOM Logistics and Readiness Center; and Ned Keeler, director of the CECOM Software Engineering Center as well as many Army Team C4ISR military project managers who are part of the program executive offices for C3T and for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors.
-- Col. Augustus Owens, who has been serving as the deputy commander, CECOM Forward at APG, will begin to transition to a new assignment, as the need for a special element that provides for the common requirements of personnel from disparate Team C4ISR elements has been replaced by growing directorate and office leadership that is now robust enough to care for their own people.
Bottom Line: "there's enough leadership there that we can transition to a more traditional way of doing business and caring for our employees down there," said Thomas.
When he arrives as the advance party for the CECOM Command Group, Thomas' first order of business will be to cultivate relationships. "One of the first things I want to do is get out and visit and start getting to know our new workforce down there," he said, referring to the fact that almost 50 percent of the 1,400 plus Team C4ISR personnel that are already on the ground at APG are newly hired employees.
"There are a lot of people down there that I've never met. I want to get out and meet them," said Thomas. "Right now, I'm not even sure where everybody is. There are all these nooks and crannies, you know, throughout APG North and South, where we have temporarily located people. So I think it's important from a leadership perspective to have an understanding of where people live."
Second, he said, "I want to begin cultivating relationships with those other senior leaders on APG. Finally, Thomas wants to build relationships with the community: the local, county and state officials as well as the military associations that are already well established here, but are growing now to support Team C4ISR at APG.
Thomas said people ask him why with more than 35 years he didn't simply retire rather than deal with the strains of relocation. "The real critical time period for the command is still coming up ... next summer and fall through the fall of 2011 ... where we're really moving the entire team for all intents and purposes," said Thomas.
"I could leave now and not be part of the move, but that's not what I want to do. I want to be part of the move. I want to try to help us along and help us work through the challenges that we're going to have over the next few years or so and beyond, but especially over the next 18 to 24 months when we're physically moving everything and reconstituting capability at APG.
"I feel that it's important to ... have some continuity of leadership and ... I'd like to be part of that," said Thomas