By Jerome MappJune 28, 2019
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia. -- The Office of the Program Manager-Saudi Arabian National Guard Modernization Program held a change of charter ceremony June 23 as the outgoing program manager, Col. Kevin Lambert, relinquished his duties to Col. John DiGiambattista.
Maj. Gen. Jeff Drushal, commander of the Security Assistance Command, hosted the event.
The ceremony officially passed leadership of OPM-SANG to DiGiambattista, who will serve as the organization's 23rd program manager. Lambert, who assumed program manager duties in June 2018, is slated to become the chief of staff with the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas.
"We call today's ceremony a 'change' of charter, but this really is about continuity," Drushal said. "We are changing program managers, but our team of professionals ensures the transition is seamless. That's what we mean when we say 'Army Strong' -- we have a strong foundation and our leaders are given the opportunity to build on that.
"The responsibilities of the program manager at OPM-SANG are like nothing else you will find in the Army. So having the right Army officer is crucial. Today we welcome that officer -- Col. John DiGiambattista."
A 1991 graduate of West Point, DiGiambattista joins OPM-SANG after serving on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. He has served in a variety of tactical assignments in light, airborne and armored units. During his career, DiGiambattista has commanded an airborne rifle company, a combined arms battalion and an armored brigade. He wears the Bronze Star Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge and the Ranger Tab.
Dignitaries included John Abizaid, U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Maj. Gen. Wendel Hagler, senior defense official at the American Embassy in Riyadh; and officials from the Saudi Arabian Ministry of the National Guard, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense and military officials from the United Kingdom.
OPM-SANG is a subordinate organization of the Security Assistance Command, which executes the Army's security assistance and foreign military sales program.