ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The director for the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, retired during a ceremony in the Myer Auditorium, here March 31.
The Army honored CERDEC Director Henry J. Muller Jr. for his almost 33 years of service to the United States. In attendance were his wife, Marjorie, two of his three daughters, four sisters, his mother-in-law and a brother-in-law.
"This is the closing chapter of what has been a challenging, fulfilling and at times stressful, but extremely gratifying career," Muller said.
"If ever there was a team sport, this is it. When I took this job, I said that I believed my role was to set the strategic direction and lead the way," he said. "I needed to build the relationships and create the environment that enabled the great people of CERDEC to unleash their true potential. You are truly a hard-working, hard-charging dedicated workforce that envisioned, developed and delivered capabilities never before imagined by our Soldiers."
Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, or RDECOM, commanding general, presented Muller with the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service, a certificate for Outstanding Service in the Army Senior Executive Service, an SES flag and service pin, a Department of the Army Certificate of Retirement, a Certificate of Appreciation, and an American flag. Wins also presented the Commander's Award for Public Service to Muller's wife, Marjorie, who retired from CERDEC in 2016.
The Army's recent conflicts have caused Research and Development organizations to shift their focus to support the current fight while still working to deliver future capabilities that will give Soldiers a decisive edge. Muller's background and experience has meant a lot, noted Wins.
"The Army has asked a lot of Henry Muller, and every time they've asked him to step up, Henry has been able to come through for not only our Army, but for the Soldier," Wins said. "He has a history of delivering quality results, and he has created an avenue that has led him to work on very important projects for the Army."
"The Army is certainly a better place for you having served here, and certainly the folks who've been under your charge are better at what they do as a result of your leadership and stewardship," he added.
Muller, who replaced Jill H. Smith after her retirement in 2015, was the ninth overall director for CERDEC.
As director, Muller managed, planned and executed technical research in the area of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or C4ISR, and he was responsible for establishing CERDEC's comprehensive Science and Technology, or S&T, portfolio.
He provided strategic guidance for short- and long-range programmatic goals that utilized existing and anticipated state-of-the-art advances in communications, mission command, sensors, electronic warfare, cyber, intelligence and countermeasure equipment and services.
In addition to the center's S&T mission, he oversaw its engineering support and services to acquisition Program Executive Offices, Life Cycle Management Commands, and other DOD and Federal customers.
He also represented the command to the Army Materiel Command, Department of the Army, DOD, Director of Defense Research and Engineering, and other military and civilian echelons on topics of CERDEC interest.
"He's a leader who is really able to pull the strengths of each of the directorates together to help make RDECOM truly have that C4ISR S&T portfolio come to life," said Jyuji Hewitt, executive deputy to the commanding general, RDECOM.
"Clearly one of his bigger efforts has been the materiel strategy for cyber," Hewitt said. "The Army is going to have to deal with multi-domain battle -- that means the land, air, sea, space and cyber -- so his efforts to pull together the materiel strategy for the cyber domain is something that helps the Army understand what it takes in terms of materiel hardware procedures so we can operate in combat."
Described by superiors and peers as being a professional, consummate leader who was direct and "didn't pull punches," Muller was a team player with the Army's best interest at heart.
"I don't see Henry as a person who is parochial about his organization; he comes in thinking, 'How do I work corporately across the S&T community to solve Army challenges?'. He's really about improving the Army's capabilities and bringing the best of CERDEC together with other people to solve those problems," said Dr. Thomas P. Russell, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Research and Technology.
"I think he's going to be a hard act to follow. He's got CERDEC going in the right direction and whoever comes behind him is going to have some big shoes to fill," Russell concluded.
The first son of eight children, Muller earned a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York, Brooklyn, New York, in 1983. Choosing to stay close to home in the wake of his father's death, he worked briefly in construction and as a limousine driver before going to work at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, on April 9, 1984.
Muller built experience and skill sets while serving in various capacities throughout his career: project engineer, project lead, team lead, branch chief, and division chief.
In August 2002, he was named chief of the Information Operations Division of CERDEC's Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate, or I2WD, where he served for two years before spending the next four years as CERDEC's associate director.
Muller entered the Senior Executive Service Corps in November 2008 as director of CERDEC's Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate. In January 2012 he was named director of CERDEC I2WD where he served until 2015.
"Henry, like many who have come before him, will continue to remind me of the great Army acquisition professionals who have contributed to our Army throughout their careers," said Gary Martin, Program Executive Officer for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical.
"He is very good at reaching out to key stakeholders and getting buy in on critical matters. He can organize around a complex problem, get a group of folks focused, and deliver a product in a timely matter," Martin said.
Martin, who has known Muller since 2004 when he was CERDEC director and Muller was his associate director, said Muller's extensive knowledge and experience across the lifecycle domain were his greatest strengths, providing him a keen understanding of the key stakeholders across the Army's operations and Intelligence communities.
"Many of the systems he has worked on, directed, or managed have made major contributions to the protection of Soldiers in harm's way. His contributions have supported Soldiers of all regiments for many years and will likely continue to do so for many years to come," Martin added.
Muller earned a Master of Science in Management of Technology from Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1997, and is a graduate of the Harvard Senior Executive Fellows program. He also holds Army Acquisition Corp. Level III Certification in Engineering, Program Management, and S&T Management.
Since entering civil service in 1984, Muller has received many awards and recognitions, including the Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the Superior Civilian Service Award, and the Commander's Award for Civilian Service. He is also a member of the Association of Old Crows and the Association of the United States Army.
"He's still at an age that I believe it's quite possible to see him around serving the Army in another capacity. This isn't farewell; he's transitioning," Hewitt said.
Dr. Donald Reago Jr., director of CERDEC's Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, or NVESD, will serve as CERDEC's acting director as the Army begins the process to permanently fill the position. This detail, which began April 1, is slated to last no more than 120 days. During this time, Dr. Michael J. Grove will serve as the acting director for CERDEC NVESD.
In his concluding remarks, Muller noted that he looks forward to tracking CERDEC successes as the organization provides new discoveries, technologies and techniques to shape the force of 2025 and beyond.
"I've always said that we are the common denominator at CERDEC that provides our Soldiers the ability to create and deliver, decisive effects, command the operation, and dominate the electromagnetic spectrum," Muller said. "You bring all these pieces together: the platforms, the Soldiers, the operational environment."
"Regardless of whether our Soldiers are on foot, driving or flying, it's been our job to provide them the decisive advantage through superior knowledge of the complex world around them to ensure that they are never in a fair fight," he said. "The job will never be over, so remain vigilant and keep working hard; your country is depending upon you."