FORT BLISS, Texas – Col. Joseph E. Escandon assumed the duties as commander of U.S. Army Joint Modernization Command from Col. Tobin A. Magsig during a change-of-command ceremony February 10 at the command’s headquarters.
Lt. Gen. D. Scott McKean, deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Futures Command and director of the Futures and Concepts Center, hosted the ceremony. Because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the ceremony was held with limited attendance and streamed live on JMC’s Facebook page.
McKean praised the leadership of Magsig and Escandon and spoke about how JMC has transformed itself to better serve the Army Modernization Enterprise.
“Col. Escandon brings with him a wealth of operational institutional knowledge and experience as a Joint warfighter,” McKean said during the ceremony. “Most recently he served as the deputy director of the Secretary of Defense’s Close Combat Lethality Task Force and director of the Army’s campaign plan. Joe, we all have faith and confidence in your leadership, and we know you are going to take JMC to new heights.”
Escandon thanked McKean for the opportunity to lead JMC during this important moment.
“This is both an exciting as well as a critical time to be at JMC,” Escandon said. “All you have to do is look at the current strategic and operational environment, take a look at current events, and it’s very clear that JMC’s mission to support Army modernization is, more than ever, going to be absolutely critical in the Army’s ability to meet the challenges of the unprecedented and rapidly changing character of warfare. I look forward to helping forge the future.”
Escandon enlisted in the Army as an infantryman in 1988 and was commissioned in 1996. Escandon’s operational experience includes deployments to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as well as to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. A veteran infantry officer, Escandon previously commanded units in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), 10th Mountain Division, 82nd Airborne Division, and an Infantry Training Brigade.
After serving as the commander of JMC from 2020-2022, Magsig now will head to Washington, D.C., to become the Army Futures Command’s liaison officer to the Pentagon. AFC was formed in 2018 to integrate all aspects of Army modernization underneath a unified headquarters. JMC serves as the operational arm of AFC, incorporating Soldier feedback during live experimentation to modernize the Army.
During the ceremony, Magsig looked back fondly at his time in El Paso and leading JMC through the beginning and sustainment of the large-scale modernization experiment, Project Convergence.
“It’s been 17 years since I lived off an Army installation … it’s been overwhelmingly special to be embedded in a city, and I’ve never felt so welcomed and warm as I have in El Paso,” Magsig said. “Maybe it’s just that I’m old and sentimental, or maybe it’s my love of tacos and mescal, but I will certainly miss the city of El Paso, the people, the wonderful weather, and the wonderful vistas and views that I’ve been enjoying.”
McKean expressed his joy at being able to travel to El Paso for the JMC change of command ceremony.
“It’s truly an honor to preside over this change of command, which recognizes two of our Army’s best leaders,” McKean said. “Under Col. Magsig’s leadership, JMC transformed itself and has become the lead in experimentation not only for our Army, but for all of our Joint services. From Pacific war games to European exercises, culminating in the unmatched Project Convergence 21, Tobin and the JMC team have provided the venues for our most senior leaders to learn and develop warfighting capabilities.”
JMC has now set the foundation for a busy year ahead, with Project Convergence 22, Joint Warfighting Assessment 22 and much more on the horizon. Col. Escandon and his leadership team are ready to help continue the push toward Army modernization.