Fort Meade garrison welcomes new commander
July 28, 2011
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. - Pledging to draw upon his family background and more than 25 years of military service, Col. Edward C. Rothstein assumed leadership of Fort Meade in a change of command ceremony Tuesday at McGlachlin Parade Field.
"It is my intent to use the experiences I have gained throughout my career -- recognizing my strengths and my weaknesses -- and apply them to my time here at Fort Meade," Rothstein said.
Rothstein assumed command from Col. Daniel L. Thomas, who served as installation commander for three years. Thomas is scheduled to retire from the Army in February 2012.
About 250 distinguished guests, garrison leaders, service members and civilians attended the ceremony. Guests included Rep. John Sarbanes; Howard County Executive Ken Ulman; Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington, commanding general, Joint Force Headquarters, National Capital Region, Military District of Washington; Egon Hawrylak, deputy commander, Joint Force Headquarters, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.; and Maj. Gen. Kevin Wendel, commanding general, First Army Division East.
The ceremony's keynote speaker was Russell B. Hall, director of the Northeast Region of the Installation Management Command, who said Rothstein is "imminently qualified" to lead the garrison staff.
"Fort Meade has seen a lot of change over the last two years and more change is on the horizon," Hall said at the ceremony. "I know Fort Meade will succeed, and your leadership will be essential to that success."
The preeminent center for information and intelligence, Fort Meade is home to more than 95 tenant organizations that support the Department of Defense and the federal government including the National Security Agency, U.S. Cyber Command, First Army Division East, the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Defense Media Activity.
The "purple" installation is the workplace of more than 54,000 service members and civilians dedicated to the nation's security. More than 16,000 military personnel and family members live on post.
Rothstein returns to Fort Meade after serving in the Meade Operation Center at the National Security Agency in 2007 and with the 743rd Military Intelligence Battalion in 1993.
A New Jersey native, Rothstein enlisted in the Army in 1983 and completed his basic training at Fort Dix, N.J. In 1990, he transitioned into the Military Intelligence Corps and was first assigned to 4-17 infantry (Light), 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord, Calif. He served as a battalion intelligence officer for two years.
In 1993, Rothstein served as assistant operations officer, company commander and battalion operations officer with the 743rd MI at Fort Meade. Staying within the Military District of Washington area, he served on the 1996 Presidential Inaugural Committee and then reported to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence at the Pentagon where he served as a staff action officer.
After serving in Germany, Rothstein was selected to be the G2, 7th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo., where First Army Division West was activated. While continuing to serve as the senior intelligence officer at Fort Carson, he deployed to Iraq with the 10th Special Forces Group as part of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula.
In 2007, Rothstein returned to Fort Meade to work at the NSA and then as the military assistant to the director's science advisor until 2009. The following year, Rothstein deployed to Afghanistan as part of Headquarters, International Security Assistance Force, initially serving as the collection manager and later as chief of the Intelligence Operations Division.
Tuesday's ceremony began with presentations by the Brass Quintet of the U.S. Army Field Band and the Fife and Drum Corps, 3rd Infantry Regiment, Old Guard, from Fort Myer, Va. Master Sgt. Marva Lewis, a vocalist with the band's Jazz Ambassadors, sang the National Anthem. Installation Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Sid A. Taylor Jr. gave the invocation.
In his remarks before the passing of the colors, Hall praised Thomas for a tenure "marked by excellence" and a "passion for getting the mission done."
Hall credited Thomas for overseeing the finalization of the Base Realignment and Closure process, including the construction of DISA, DMA and the Colocation of Defense/Military Adjudication Activities, and the migration of more than 5,700 personnel to the installation.
Thomas, he said, also prepared the foundation for the newly created U.S. Cyber Command. The colonel improved the installation's infrastructure by privatizing Fort Meade's electrical, water and water waste systems and spearheaded the construction of the new Youth Sports Complex and renovation of Gaffney Fitness Center.
"He really reached the apex of his program," Hall said of Thomas. "Thanks for your contributions and service to the country. You have left a great legacy."
In his farewell, Thomas said the Army was "absolutely right" in selecting Rothstein to command Fort Meade, adding that he was proud that an officer of Rothstein's "caliber" was taking over the post.
"This has been a fantastic job," Thomas said. "Fort Meade stands heads and shoulders above most, if not all, U.S. Army garrisons. And the primary reason is the people who make up this community."
During his remarks, Rothstein thanked Thomas for his "mentorship and friendship in showing me the ropes. ... Best of luck to you in all your future endeavors."
The former Sykesville resident who is married and has two children, credited his family -- including his father, a Korean War veteran -- for their nurturing, mentorship and selfless service. Rothstein also thanked his previous military leaders and peers for their examples.
"I intend to apply these values and work ethic during my tenure here at Fort Meade ...," Rothstein said. "It's time to embrace the journey that lies ahead."