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ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – Maj. Gen. Joel K. Tyler relinquished duties as the commander of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) to Brig. Gen. James J. Gallivan during the change of command ceremony July 15 on Aberdeen Proving Ground.

A change of command is a military tradition that represents a transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit or command. The history, tradition, and accomplishments of the command are embodied in the colors. The passing of colors from an outgoing commander to an incoming commander ensures that the unit and its Soldiers are never without official leadership, represents a continuation of trust, and signifies an allegiance of Soldiers to their unit's commander.

Gen. Joseph M. Martin, the 37th Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, presided over the ceremony. He credited Tyler for his incredible leadership to a dynamic organization, and reflected on his accomplishments and responsibilities during his time at ATEC.

“Your optimistic can-do style of leadership has paid dividends here especially through the trying times we have all recently experienced,” said Martin. “Your leadership to the modernization effort has been nothing short of transformative. You have provided understanding to Army Senior Leaders, which is not easy to do when you are speaking a different language with multiple dialects and being able to communicate that to a universal audience.”

Martin listed many of Tyler’s accomplishments, to include: restructured ATEC to align with U.S. Army Futures Command (AFC) Cross Functional Teams; planned and executed tests for signature programs; tested and evaluated more than 900 systems; established an ATEC Line of Effort to recruit, develop, and retain the skilled and innovative workforce; served as an advocate for ATEC modernization efforts; and assisted in increasing the funding for testing infrastructure and capabilities.

“He [Tyler] will never see the benefits but this organization will because of his leadership and vision,” said Martin.

Tyler assumed command of ATEC June 7, 2018; prior to that, he served as the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Joint Modernization Command at Fort Bliss, Texas. His other assignments include service stateside, in the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Korea. In addition, he has deployed to Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Spartan Shield.

When Tyler took command two years ago, he was tasked to “move test and evaluation out of the industrial age and into the information age.” “Today I can report that we’re getting there, along with the rest of the Army Modernization Enterprise. We have updated our processes to conduct essential testing, we are building methods to share data and test artificial intelligence-enabled systems, and thanks to Army senior leader interest, we are upgrading our decades-old infrastructure,” said Tyler.

Tyler credited the ATEC workforce for their amazing skill and commitment. “The most recent example is that Army Modernization has stayed on track during this pandemic because ATEC has stayed on the job.”

“I am so proud to have been part of this amazing organization and helping to tell its story,” said Tyler. “ATEC strives every day to remain relevant and contribute value to the Army and the Nation’s defense. To realize that transition to the Information Age, it is time to consider the future of test and evaluation as resources are challenged, systems grow more complex, and time to deliver becomes more critical. ATEC remains the organization best postured to bring the Army’s future to life, and I ask you to consider what it needs to do just that.”

Tyler’s next assignment is to serve as the director of the J-3 Operations and Cyber at U.S. Africa Command, Germany.

Martin presented Tyler with the Distinguished Service Medal and his wife, Stacy, with the Army Public Service Commendation Medal.

Martin introduced the new commander to the ATEC team. “I know you’re the right leader for the right job and you will keep this organization on track towards realizing our modernization efforts. I’m looking forward to observing future tests with you and I will bring as many people that are willing to come to those tests so they can see what’s going on not only in the Army, not only with that equipment, but in the greatness of this organization.”

Tyler also welcomed Gallivan to the ATEC team. “You will never serve with a more dedicated and competent group of people. I wish you the best of luck.”

Gallivan previously served as the chief of staff for AFC, located in Austin, Texas. Additional assignments include deputy commanding general (Operations) for 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, and commander of the 402nd Field Artillery Brigade and the 5th Armor Brigade.

“It is a true privilege to join the ATEC team and build on the vision and leadership that Gen. Tyler brought to ATEC,” said Gallivan. “I am excited to serve with all of you.”

In the transition of the passing of the colors during the ceremony, Command Sgt. Maj. Jon E. Helring passed the colors to Tyler signifying his relinquishment of responsibilities as the ATEC command sergeant major. Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald J. Graves received the colors from Gallivan, signifying his assumption of responsibility as the ATEC command sergeant major.

“Command Sgt. Maj. Graves, I know that you too, will bring great care and concern to the Soldiers in this organization,” said Martin. “As you advise Gen. Gallivan, I expect you to voice the care and concern to ensure that we are truly putting our people first.”

Martin concluded his remarks by capitalizing on the amazing teamwork between Tyler and Helring. “The net result of your work is a highly effective organization, consisting of the right people and the right equipment that we trust to modernize our Army and make that effort happen. You are leaving this organization better than you found it. You have left an incredible mark of excellence in testing and evaluation community and the effects of which will be felt for many years to come.”

Martin recognized Tyler and Helring’s spouses with a round of applause. “Your contributions here were invaluable and the command is much stronger because of your actions.”

Special thanks to the ATEC Salute Battery and the Brass Quintet from the U.S. Army Field Band for their support to the ceremony.

To view the ceremony livestream, please visit ATEC’s Facebook at