REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center has a "bright future" according to its new Director, Dr. Juanita Harris.

AMRDEC employees gathered at the Bob Jones Auditorium for a town hall meeting Feb. 20 to hear upcoming changes and potential future. This was Harris' first town hall meeting since her selection as director in Nov. 2017. She took the opportunity to introduce herself and explain her vision for the center.

"I am here to represent you," said Harris. "I will always push for AMRDEC enterprise solutions, but expect our team members to serve in their own mission lines. Fasten your seat belt. We are moving forward as a united front. That's why I'm here, to move us forward as an organization."

One of the biggest topics discussed was AMRDEC's potential role in Army modernization. Established as one of the Army's highest priorities, Harris explained the significant part AMRDEC plays in modernizing the Army.

"Modernization strategy has one focus: make Soldiers and units more lethal to win our nation's wars and come home safely," Harris said. "AMRDEC supports three of the six modernization priorities including long-range precision fires, future vertical lift platforms, and air and missile defense capabilities. As we move forward, we will work well with our partners and customers to make sure the Warfighter receives the capabilities they need."

During the assembly, several service awards were given, as well as special recognition awards. Harris also addressed some major changes to the center including organizational restructuring, a new proposed staffing model and a recent $30 million award for facility improvements scheduled for fiscal year 2022. She detailed four areas she plans to advance within the center: people, processes, products, and partnerships.

"I will fight for the things we need as an organization," she said. "I am aware of the needs of the organization and have a plan for ways to improve and change."

AMRDEC is working to develop a strong strategic plan that will align with its higher commands the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command; the U.S. Aviation and Missile Command; and the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

"I recognize the skill sets that we have here," Harris said. "I will continue to advocate the expertise that AMRDEC has because you all are a phenomenal workforce. I have a true passion for this organization."

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U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.