YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz.-- With record heat predicted for the day, Col. Ross Poppenberger assumed command of U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground on June 20, accepting the guidon from Army Test and Evaluation Commander Maj. Gen. John W. Charlton.

A native of Minnesota who spent his formative years in Arizona, Poppenberger said he sees the posting as a homecoming, and pledged to continue YPG's longstanding reputation for excellence.

"It's a phenomenal opportunity to work for some great people and a great community," he said.

Hailing from the Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville, Ala, where he served as deputy program director for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense program, Poppenberger said YPG's work is widely known.

"Almost all of us in the acquisition community are familiar with YPG and its reputation. When there were 25 different commands to choose from and I saw Yuma Proving Ground was on the list, I put it as my number one choice. Everyone across the service talks about the proving grounds and what great value they add."

Poppenberger credited the efforts of the military personnel and civilian workforce here with YPG's acclaim and notoriety within the Army Acquisition field.

"YPG wouldn't have the reputation it has if the civilians who work here weren't 100% dedicated to the mission. People want to test here because of the customer service YPG provides."

During his command, Poppenberger wants to ensure that YPG's range instrumentation and other infrastructure remains on the cutting edge to support testing of the next generation of military equipment.

"Across the force, readiness is our goal. Our equipment has been in combat for 15 years and is aging. Now is the time to prepare for the next fight. We need to improve the readiness of our equipment and YPG provides the answer of whether equipment is ready for use by the Soldier."

Poppenberger also stressed that he wants the installation to continue it's nearly 75 years of outstanding rapport with the local community to the maximum extent possible.

"I really want to focus on what we do for the community and support for the overall community, but first and foremost is our testing mission and providing good, quality results testing for the Army and other branches. I look forward to meeting with the community and getting involved as much as I can."