WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. (Jan. 12, 2021) On Jan. 10, Brig. Gen. Eric D. Little hosted an honor and welcoming ceremony for Robert E. Stone, who is now the White Sands Missile Range Executive Director and Deputy Commander.
“Rob is a technically gifted leader with an extreme attention to detail that I have not observed in over 28 years of military service,” Little said.
Amid the surge in COVID-19 cases, the event only had a few attendees in person. The majority of the workforce attended virtually to welcome and learn more about their new leader.
“His decision-making is incredibly sound and more thorough than you could ever imagine,” Little said. “I am sharing this with you because as our new executive director, I want you all to share the same confidence that Command Sgt. Maj. Melendez and I have in his ability to lead and move this organization in an incredibly positive direction.”
In 2017, Stone began serving as the technical director and deputy commander of the U.S. Army Redstone Test Center. He started his journey in the federal service over 22 years ago at the U.S. Army Aviation Technical Test Center, and before that, he was a federal contractor.
Stone was recently appointed as a Senior Executive Service member during a ceremony at Redstone Arsenal on Dec. 3, 2021. As the interim executive director, his work at WSMR began at the beginning of 2021.
“I felt the call to answer when asked, and I am so happy to be here," said Stone. “WSMR is unique among the DOD assets. Until you have been here and spent some time here, you do not appreciate the scope of White Sands Missile Range, its capabilities, available range space, and mission diversity. It is without peer within the DOD.”
Stone mentioned how WSMR is more than just an Army missile range, referring to the representation at the installation beyond the U.S. Army to include the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Special Operations Forces, and NASA. He also cited the extensive scope of the mission and how it encompasses cyber testing, nuclear effects testing, space, training, and much more.
Furthermore, he shared his thoughts on leadership to the workforce.
“I think ego is the antithesis of good leadership. When it's all about 'me,' it can't be about the people you are leading, and that's wrong,” said Stone. “It is my desire to be a servant leader.”
Stone also touched on the future of WSMR and the modernization of the Army. He hopes in his position to facilitate new technologies at the forefront of the Army, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cyber testing.
“While we look to the past and are proud of our legacy, I challenge us to look to the future. To do the things that are hard to do, that we need to do to make our country and our Army a better place.”