CARLISLE, Pa. -- Gen. Gus Perna, commander of Army Materiel Command, challenged the Army War College Class of 2018 to make a difference within the Army at its graduation ceremony, June 8.

"Decisions made today will have significant impacts for decades to come," Perna told the class of Army officers.

The Army is designed to prepare for and execute war, and the graduates today will be the leaders who will fight them, he said.

"We do not know when we will be going to war, but we know we must always be prepared," said Perna.

As the graduates assume key roles in the Army, he urged them to always serve the needs of the warfighter first. Perna encouraged the officers to uphold three fundamental principles: always question and never settle; have unwavering commitment to the warfighter; and act with urgency.

Perna briefly highlighted distinguished Army War College alumni, such as Gen. John Pershing, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who, through their knowledge obtained as students, were able to lead the U.S. to victory during turbulent times throughout history.

"All of you will have an ability to apply your experience to challenge and change the status quo," said Perna. "I remain confident that you will rise to the occasion. It is because of great military leaders, such as these graduates, that we are the best at what we do."

As he congratulated the Class of 2018 on their distinguished achievement, he acknowledged the support and sacrifices made by their family members and reminded them that this was not done alone.

"Even though the graduates' names are printed on the diplomas, we who wear the uniform know that the strength of our Army is the family," said Perna.

The Army War College Resident Class of 2018 consisted of 378 graduates represented by 220 Army officers, 6 Navy, 26 Air Force, 17 Marines, 1 Coast Guard, 29 Civilians, and 79 International Fellows from 76 countries.