REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Three times have been the charm for Maj. Gen. Bob Harter in a career defined by military leadership, multiple wartime deployments, and assignments of increased responsibility and impact.
Harter has served at Redstone Arsenal on three separate occasions – first, as a student at the Army Ordnance Munitions and Electronics Maintenance School in 1992; second, as an instructor for the school’s Ordnance (Ammunition) Officer Basic and Advanced Courses in 1997-99; and, lastly, in his current assignment as the chief of staff at Army Materiel Command. During each assignment, Harter and his family became more enamored with Huntsville and North Alabama.
“I could see myself retiring here,” said the Virginia native. “My family loves it here, my second child was born here. This community is so supportive of the military and the Army. The people are so great, both here at AMC and in Huntsville. We have enjoyed it here.”
But retirement is still a ways off for this Reserve General Officer with 33-plus years of military service. Harter’s next assignment will soon take him to the Pentagon, where he will serve as Deputy Chief of Army Reserve, Office of the Chief of Army Reserve. His accomplishments at AMC were recognized July 20 during an awards and farewell ceremony at AMC Headquarters.
“As long as I can contribute and make a difference and it’s rewarding, I’ll continue to ruck up,” Harter said.
During the ceremony, AMC Commander Gen. Ed Daly presented Harter with a Legion of Merit. He also presented Harter with the General Brehon Somervell Award of Excellence on behalf of the Combined Arms Support Command. Both awards recognize Harter’s ability as a multi-functional logistician.
“Like any good organization, AMC has tremendous people that serve, and go on to bigger and better things,” said AMC Commander Gen. Ed Daly. “Maj. Gen. Harter is an officer who knows the Army, cares about people, and who is a great example of the Army values and a great ambassador for this profession. He has set the example of what right looks like, not only as a leader but as a chief of staff.”
Harter came to AMC in the spring of 2019, following an assignment as commanding general of the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), during which he deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Spartan Shield. His career has also included multiple border security missions in Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification; a deployment to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in support of Operation Desert Storm; various logistics jobs at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to include Support Battalion S3 (Operations, Plans and Training) and command of a Direct Support Maintenance Company; and leadership positions with the Office of the Chief of Army Reserve. He transferred to the Active Guard Reserve program in 1999.
Harter said serving at AMC has been a learning experience that has shown him how impactful a four-star command can be on the Army’s operations. “This command has a powerful embrace across the Army,” he said.
Harter has seen the significant impact of the organization on logistics, maintenance and sustainment through its 10 major subordinate commands. He has been instrumental in addressing Soldier Quality of Life issues and People Strategy initiatives; assisted with the assimilation of the Installation Management Command as one of AMC’s major subordinate commands; aided in managing Army privatized housing and tenant bill of rights; oversaw mediation measures (including teleworking) during the COVID-19 pandemic; worked budgeting priorities related to military construction at installations; and focused on building efficiencies within AMC Headquarters.
“AMC is making a big difference for the Army,” Harter said. “What AMC does for the Army and for the nation is not fully realized. Installations, housing, refurbishment of equipment, contracting, medical logistics – the list of Army missions that fall under AMC make it the most complex Army four-star command. AMC is impactful to our Army and our nation, and I’m proud to have been a part of it. I’m honored to have been the chief of staff here.”
Among his accomplishments, Harter said he is most proud of the support AMC employees – mostly civilian – provide to Soldiers.
“My goal has been to synchronize and empower the staff to get after the Commanding General’s priorities,” said Harter, who supported both Gen. Gus Perna as AMC commander followed by Daly, Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker as AMC’s deputy commander, and Lisha Adams as AMC’s executive deputy to the commanding general.
Harter’s family includes his wife and three adult children. His father is a retired lieutenant colonel and a Vietnam veteran.
“My dad asked me, “Why do you think you’ve been successful?” Harter said. “It was three things – my upbringing based on faith and family, partly my personality, and my dad taught me to empower people and turn them loose to do their job.
“I’m confident that 99.9% of Americans want to do the right thing. Empowered employees are productive employees. If you empower your employees, they will take care of you, they will run through a brick wall for you.”
In his new duties as Deputy Chief of Army Reserve, Harter will assist in overseeing more than 200,000 Soldiers and civilians in 50 states, five territories and more than 30 countries, serving as a critical force provider of trained and ready units and Soldiers essential for the Army to fight and win wars, and respond to homeland emergencies. Harter’s focus will be on strategy and policy development, planning, programming, and resourcing at the national, departmental and service levels; and the coordination, integration and synchronization of the Reserve staff within the Headquarters Department of the Army Staff.