ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's communications-electronics center Military Deputy Colonel Ronald Jacobs Jr. retired from 29 years of Army service at a ceremony held here March 14.

CERDEC Director Jill Smith presided over the ceremony, shared photos and words of Jacobs' career and presented him with letters of commendation from Army leadership.

"Colonel Jacobs' relatively short tenure with the CERDEC has proven invaluable. His eagerness to take on new challenges as well as everyday tasks has allowed CERDEC to maintain mission continuity while reorganizing to better serve the C4ISR community," said Smith. "He drove the alignment and centralized management of the CERDEC operations, science and technology and systems engineering divisions to achieve efficiencies while increasing the effectiveness across the organization."

Jacobs came to CERDEC in August 2013 after commanding the Electronic Proving Ground at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

Jacobs' career in the Army had a quick start. An admissions officer from West Point spoke at his Long Island high school during his senior year and inspired Jacobs so much that he spoke with him afterward, started on the paperwork, interviews and physicals, and was accepted on June 1, 1981 and reported one month later.

He graduated from West Point in 1985 and was commissioned as an Air Defense Artillery Officer.

His assignments covered all areas of the acquisition lifecycle, from research and technology development, to product management and deployment, to sustainment, including Military Deputy for the Communications-Electronics Command's Software Engineering Center and Product Manager for Network Operations -- Current Force.

Being a part of an organization that covers each phase of the lifecycle and understanding the entire process was one of Jacobs' career goals.

"It's all important. Understanding the process is key and how you can influence it," said Jacobs. "Of course contracting is across all of those phases. You have a contract for the S&T work, for the PM work, for the Sustainment work -- so where can we collectively do some things together with one or two partners on the industry side as we move forward? Those are things we've tried to tackle in the past and are trying to tackle here at CERDEC," said Jacobs.

Jacobs received several awards and badges throughout his career, including the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters and the Army Commendation Medal with five oak leaf clusters.

He earned a Master's of Science in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in 2009, a Master's of Science in Computer Science from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1999, a Master's of Science in Military Art and Science from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in 1997 and the U.S. Army Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification in 2012.

When not working Jacobs spends time with his wife and 5-year-old daughter who he says "keeps him young."

If Jacobs hadn't joined the military, he may have worked in carpentry, as designing and building comes second nature to him, he said. He rebuilt a previous home from the ground up and is putting an addition on his current house.

"I get fulfillment out of the planning of it, the execution of it, and seeing the finished product and to stand back and say 'yeah I did it,'" said Jacobs.

Throughout his career, Jacobs believes his personal philosophies of growing where you?'re planted and taking care of people have contributed to his success.

"You have to care about your people. Not only care about them but you have to take care of them," said Jacobs. "If you take care of your people, they'll take care of the mission."

"If more folks did that we'd be better off. Don't take the time, make the time."


CERDEC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.

RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.