By Nathan BeckerJune 11, 2018
Members of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), U.S. Army senior leaders and distinguished guests, including representatives from partner nations, gathered for a change of command ceremony at the Fort Belvoir Community Center, June 11.
Maj. Gen. Gary W. Johnston, who previously served as the deputy chief of staff, Intelligence, Resolute Support Mission, North Atlantic Treaty Organization/Director, J-2, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, OPERATION FREEDOM'S SENTINEL, assumed command of INSCOM from Maj. Gen. Christopher S. Ballard.
The change of command ceremony is a homecoming for Johnston, as he distinguished himself as both the deputy commanding general (operations), and deputy commander of INSCOM.
"INSCOM is very fortunate to have such a promising leader in the able hands of my close friend Major General Gary Johnston, an extraordinarily capable, incredibly talented and committed leader," said Lt. Gen. Scott D. Berrier, deputy chief of staff, G-2, Headquarters Department of the Army, and the ceremony's reviewing officer. "There is no better successor to command INSCOM than Gary Johnston."
During his remarks, Berrier also spoke of the many INSCOM accomplishments under Ballard.
"Team Ballard is a family that is unquestionably committed to service. Chris is an exceptional leader. I'm sure all of you know what a difference he has made for the Command and how refreshing it is to have a leader like Chris," Berrier added.
"For the last two years, Chris Ballard has guided INSCOM through the most difficult intelligence challenges facing our Army, all the while the entire Ballard family continued to set a shining example as a committed Army family of service. Chris, thank you for all you and your team have accomplished."
In his farewell speech, Ballard, who is moving on to the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland, thanked the INSCOM family for their understanding of why INSCOM exists -- to save Soldier's lives.
"I'd like to think that there is a mother or father, a spouse or a child out there who has welcomed their Soldier home safe these past two years, thanks to our work here at INSCOM," Ballard said.
"Let me finish by saying what a privilege it has been for Michelle and me to serve with you these past two years. Our wish is that INSCOM will enjoy another 40 years of tremendous success, led by men and women of character and courage like Major General Gary Johnston, and served by the remarkable people who are all key members of the INSCOM family."
After taking the podium, Johnston thanked Ballard for the excellent transition and said he is excited to be back home.
"I learned early in my career about the power of the INSCOM enabled enterprise, flexibility through funding and resources, and the simple fact the people of INSCOM want to help the warfighter," Johnston said.
"For the past 31 years, I have benefited from your collective efforts. I would not be standing here today if it were not for INSCOM."
Johnston noted his time spent the previous week with former INSCOM commanders and concluded his speech with an affirmation to the workforce.
"As I spent time with former INSCOM commanders last week, there are threads of each of their impacts here. It is clear to me, we are all in this together, it is a collective coalition of like-minded and purposed people that make what we do in the Army and Joint Commands work to 'fight our nation's wars' and win. And INSCOM plays a unique and important role," Johnston added.
"So, I promise you as your Commander, I will give you 100 percent of all I have, and we will continue to serve and support Soldiers and units in the fight and training for the future fights."
Headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, with 17,500 Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians and contractors located at 180 locations in 45 countries, INSCOM executes mission command of operational intelligence and security forces; conducts and synchronizes worldwide multi-discipline and all-source intelligence and security operations; delivers linguist support and intelligence-related advanced skills training, acquisition support, logistics, communications, and other specialized capabilities in support of Army, Joint, and Coalition Commands and the U.S. Intelligence Community.