ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- A new commanding general, Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins, took the reins of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command here Aug. 9.

About 300 Soldiers, Army civilians, contractors and family members gathered for a passing-of-the-colors ceremony at Myer Auditorium as Wins assumed command from Maj. Gen. John F. Wharton.

RDECOM WELCOMES WINS

"I consider it a privilege to be given the opportunity to once again command. I am excited about the opportunity at this command, to be part of this premier organization," said Wins, who was commissioned in the Field Artillery in July 1985.

Wins' previous assignment was as Director, Force Development, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, since July 2015. The Army promoted him to major general in August 2014.

"Our challenge going forward is to demonstrate how we as a team continue to deliver the best technology today while maintaining technological superiority of the future force," Wins said. "Technology driven, warfighter focused. Army Strong!"

Gen. Dennis L. Via, the 18th commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, cited the many challenging positions that Wins has held during his 31 years of service. Wins' experience has prepared him well to lead RDECOM, Via said.

"Major General Wins knows about complex global organizations, and he knows how to lead them. The men and women of RDECOM are fortunate to have him take the reins of the command today," Via said. "Under your leadership, I am confident you will build upon RDECOM's successes and continue to ensure the command remains postured to provide the technological edge to the joint warfighter."

Wins holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Virginia Military Institute, a master's degree in management from the Florida Institute of Technology, and master's degree in national security and strategic studies from the National War College. For his official photo and biography, go to: https://www.army.mil/article/172955.

Wins becomes the eighth leader of RDECOM since its inception in 2004. Six major generals and Dale A. Ormond, a civilian Senior Executive Service member, have served in the leadership role.

WHARTON BIDS FAREWELL

Via recognized Wharton's contributions to reorganize and operationalize the command. Wharton enhanced integration and facilitated the delivery of future Army capabilities, Via said.

"John's leadership and strategic vision were instrumental in the development of science and technology strategies for Department of the Army initiatives in cyber, the human dimension and autonomy. It was during his tenure that RDECOM delivered the Multi-Mission Launcher and made significant progress in the areas of future vertical lift, degraded visual environments and autonomous vehicles," Via said.

Wharton, who was commissioned following his graduation from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1981, had served as RDECOM commanding general since Sept. 22, 2014.

RDECOM was the second major subordinate command under AMC that Wharton led. The Army has not announced his next assignment.

"I want to recognize this most capable and unique organization known as RDECOM. I want to direct my comments to the absolutely fabulous preeminent Soldiers, civilians and contractors that comprise RDECOM. Without you, we wouldn't have decisive overmatch for our armed forces," Wharton said. "I've tried to foster a culture of innovation and collaboration to make sure we could support the Army, joint warfighter and nation.

"It's been a distinct honor and privilege to command this organization. RDECOM is an unparalleled organization. My only metric is whether we're providing the decisive edge to the Army. We're giving our Soldiers the best equipment to fight the next fight. RDECOM will be critical to the future of the Army, and it's based on the power of the people in this organization."

RDECOM is composed of seven research centers and laboratories in the United States. The command extends across 11 countries in 132 locations with more than 13,000 military and civilian employees. RDECOM has more than 1,000 cooperative research agreements with industry, 1,500 R&D agreements with academia, and 500 R&D partnership agreements with Department of Defense laboratories.

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The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.