GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Col. Lance Varney assumed command of U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria here at a ceremony July 5.

Col. Bill Rieper had been serving as the acting garrison commander since Col. Mark Colbrook relinquished command of the garrison last month.

The ceremony and passing of the command's colors was presided over by Michael Formica, region director, U.S. Army Installation Management Command Europe.

Col. Varney is a native of San Diego, California, and was enlisted prior to receiving his commission as an infantry officer. He is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic Course, the Armor Advanced Course, Airborne School, Air Assault School and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

"Team Bavaria, our charter continues," Varney said in opening remarks. "From supporting the USAREUR and JMTC missions -- our increased military rotational presence, the OPTEMPO of many challenging multinational exercises -- to our partners such as the Marshall Center, NATO School and everything in between within our footprint, we are postured for success."

As garrison commander, Col. Varney oversees USAG Bavaria Army installations in Grafenwoehr, Vilseck, Hohenfels and Garmisch.

Formica spoke of the complex and unique features of USAG Bavaria, from the importance of training here to the relationships built with partners and NATO Allies.

"Besides continuing this legacy of hard military training, USAG Bavaria has also become a power projection platform," Formica said.

Varney arrives at a time when U.S. Army Europe will begin receiving continuous troop rotations of U.S.-based armored brigade combat teams to the European theater. It's also a time when the Army as a whole is shifting to a new model that looks to be "surge-ready and rotationally-focused."

"I think that this is a great time to be a part of this garrison," Varney said. "Certainly challenges await us -- just as they always have. But together -- from Grafenwoehr and Vilseck to Hohenfels and Garmisch -- we are one garrison team. Promoting readiness is and shall remain our number one priority."