ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Sept. 22, 2014) -- The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command welcomed new leadership Sept. 22 as the Army returned a general officer to the organization's senior post.
Maj. Gen. John F. Wharton assumed command of RDECOM on a sunny, cool morning at Fanshaw Field before a crowd of about 400 Soldiers, Army civilians and community members. He took the reins from Dale A. Ormond, who served as RDECOM director since Feb. 10, 2012.
WHARTON TAKES COMMAND
"To the Soldiers, civilians, contractors and family members [of RDECOM], thank you for what you do in support of our Army and nation. Your professionalism and reputation for excellence is renowned all over the world," said Wharton, a 1981 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy who also served as AMC chief of staff.
RDECOM is the second major subordinate command of Army Materiel Command that Wharton will lead. He previously commanded the Army Sustainment Command and was the senior installation commander of Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, from September 2012 to August 2014.
"It's a distinct honor and privilege to be here today and to take command of RDECOM. I am so proud that we provide our nation, both at home and abroad, the technology and capabilities to win anywhere at anytime. I'm fully committed to the people and mission of RDECOM to shape the Army of 2025 and beyond to ensure the decisive edge for our nation."
Gen. Dennis L. Via, AMC commanding general, said Wharton's experience and leadership skills will help RDECOM move forward as the Army and nation face challenges in a rapidly changing global security environment.
"Over the course of his stellar career, Maj. Gen. Wharton has been assigned to very challenging assignments at every level," Via said. "While at ASC, John led the command through an unprecedented transformation in both structure and function and set conditions for the command to successfully maintain its support to missions worldwide.
"John Wharton knows about leading complex, global organizations. The men and women of RDECOM are very fortunate to have Maj. Gen. Wharton take the reins of RDECOM today."
ORMOND BIDS FAREWELL TO RDECOM
Via praised Ormond for RDECOM's initiatives in the past two-and-a-half years to improve how the command's seven centers and laboratories work together to maintain Soldiers' technological edge. Ormond's next assignment will be as deputy assistant secretary of the Army (Plans and Resources), Office of the Assistant Secretary of Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs).
"Under Dale's leadership and his innovation and vision, he transformed RDECOM into a collaborative enterprise that now strives to serve as the Army's honest broker in science and technology by providing balanced, unbiased input to the Army's research, development, technology and engineering processes," Via said.
"RDECOM has maintained its reputation as the Army's go-to organization for superior scientific and engineering solutions. The command's motto is well known: RDECOM defines the space between the state of the art and the art of the possible."
Ormond commended the command's workforce of more than 13,000 for their service and commitment to the Soldier.
"This is a great day for the Army and RDECOM. I would like to thank all civilians, military and contractors of RDECOM who work so hard every day to make a difference in the lives of our Soldiers and their ability to successfully execute the fight," Ormond said.
Improving collaboration across the command has also been a major emphasis during the past two years, Ormond said. He discussed initiatives that included the core competencies database and the communities of practice.
RDECOM must combine the talents of subject-matter experts across the organization to achieve the best technological solutions in increasingly complex combat environments, Ormond said.
"We started to increase the collaboration, cooperation and synchronization across the command," he said. "When one RDEC was the lead for a project, they would reach to the other RDECs that had the other competencies they need and brought them on board.
"This started making us mutually dependent on each other for success and gave us the reachback to the tremendous technical expertise inside each of the RDECs and ARL. The power of this organization has only started to be realized across this command."
Ormond pointed to an Office of the Secretary of Defense study on international S&T that stated the U.S. technological advantage is shrinking. RDECOM is key to maintaining the Army's battlefield dominance, Ormond said.
"For the American Soldier, I would offer that only an integrated RDECOM leveraging the tremendous technological, intellectual capital across the breadth of all the RDECs and ARL, working with our sister services and international partners, will be able to stay ahead of the adversary to increase our technological advantage and re-establish it where it's been lost," he said.
"This is what RDECOM is all about. It's been my honor to serve you as your director, and I have no doubt that Maj. Gen. Wharton will lead you to new heights and accomplishments on behalf of the Soldier."
A series of five major generals led the command from its inception in 2004 until Ormond assumed the leadership of RDECOM from Maj. Gen. Nick Justice.
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.