FORT GORDON, Ga. (May 23, 2014) -- The Army chief of staff visited Fort Gordon for the first time on Wednesday to visit Soldiers and to get a first-hand look at the newly established Cyber Center of Excellence and plans for expansion of the installation.

General Raymond Odierno met privately with Maj. Gen. LaWarren V. Patterson, U.S. Army CCoE and Fort Gordon commanding general, and held discussions with leaders from expanding units across the installation.

Odierno also visited the National Security Agency-Georgia, spoke with personnel from the Aerial Intelligence Brigade, received a briefing on the establishment of the 7th Signal Command's cyber protection teams, and joined a gathering of small group instructors for lunch during his stay.

Twenty enlisted Soldiers and warrant officers who've attended the Cyber Center's 25-series cyber courses discussed the quality of the training with Odierno. Some in attendance were National Guardsmen and had degrees in computer engineering. When Odierno asked what they thought of the course, several described it as "top notch training" -- better than what they received in the civilian sector.
Odierno praised them for their dedication to the new curriculum, and said his priority would be to make sure the right Soldiers were picked to become cyber network defenders and satellite communications systems operators.

"We want to make sure we have high standards," Odierno said. " We're investing a lot in you, and the investment will grow even more as you set more into the operational side, and we'll do what it takes for us to sustain the expertise."

The visit provided an opportunity for the installation staff to update Odierno on plans for growth at Fort Gordon. For example, Garrison Commander Samuel G. Anderson briefed him on installation support issues and said traffic entering Gates 1 and 2 is already an issue that will worsen as an estimated 3,700 personnel arrive by Fiscal Year 2019.

"Housing is about 95 percent occupancy, and we don't intend on building new housing -- so they're not going to live on post," Anderson said. "Based on where they live, it has an impact on how they get to work, and how they get to work is having an impact on how they get on the installation."
Linda Odierno, the chief of staff's wife, accompanied him during his visit. She spent time reading to children at the Child, Youth and School Services, ate lunch with senior spouses and toured Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center.