Commandants recognized for excellence during time of transformation

By Laura LeveringMay 22, 2024

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1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Paul Stanton, presents U.S. Army Signal School Commandant Brig. Gen. Paul Howard with a plaque during an awards ceremony in his honor. (Photo Credit: Laura Levering, U.S. Army Signal School) VIEW ORIGINAL
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2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Maj. Gen. Paul Stanton explains the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence unit coin design prior to presenting it to Brig. Gen. Brian Vile. (Photo Credit: Lesli Ellis-Wouters, U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence) VIEW ORIGINAL
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3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army Signal School Commandant and 42nd Chief of Signal, Brig. Gen. Paul Howard, expresses gratitude for everyone who played a part in his success. (Photo Credit: Laura Levering, U.S. Army Signal School) VIEW ORIGINAL
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4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Brig. Gen. Brian Vile sits with his wife, Kristen, and daughter, Alice, during an awards ceremony held in his honor May 13. (Photo Credit: Lesli Ellis-Wouters, U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT EISENHOWER, Ga. – The Fort Eisenhower community bid farewell to two of its prominent leaders in an awards ceremony at Darling Hall on May 13.

U.S. Army Cyber and Electromagnetic Warfare School Commandant Brig. Gen. Brian Vile and U.S. Army Signal School Commandant Brig. Gen. Paul Howard were each awarded the Legion of Merit for their exceptional service and dedication to the mission during their tenures as commandant.

U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Paul Stanton, presented the gentlemen with the medal during what he described as an “unorthodox” occasion, noting that the presentation would normally be done in conjunction with a change of responsibility. However, both officers have been summoned to fill important positions “that cannot be gapped,” Stanton explained. Vile and Howard are heading to work for four-star combatant commanders where “when they say that they need somebody to report in, then those individuals report in.”

Stanton went on to give a brief overview of expectations for general officers, conveying the significance of Vile's and Howard's roles.

“There is a number of things that you do as a general officer when you walk into a new position. What you don’t do is immediately start changing things, because at the general officer level, the change that you introduce has significant ripple effects, and your predecessor probably spent a lot of time and energy setting conditions for strategic-level decisions and strategic-level initiatives,” Stanton explained. “So, when you walk in … you inherit a lot that has been set up for you. You are tasked then with driving that to fruition – achieving outcomes – while setting conditions for your own initiatives that oftentimes you won’t see in your tenure.”

Stanton said that a significant amount of attention had been placed on electronic warfare (EW) when Vile arrived, ultimately leading to what had become the “120-day study,” which was intended to help define “what EW meant for cyber operations and electromagnetic warfare operations in support of the Army” – something Stanton described as “game-changing.” He also credited Vile with being instrumental in the forward movement of advanced operator training.

“[Vile] has been driving a new program to ensure that we don’t lessen the educational foundation but change it so that it is more affordable and can be executed on a different timeline so that we can create a bigger pool of highly talented and qualified Soldiers to execute cyber operations,” Stanton said. “That’s vision … picking up and carrying advanced cyber operational training into fruition, developing a vision for where we are headed from with electronic warfare, driving the portfolio to meaningful outcomes, and then setting conditions for his successor.”

Vile said that none of his success would’ve been possible without countless others – namely those on staff who were attending the ceremony to honor him.

“Nothing I did would’ve been successful without your efforts,” Vile said. “Thank you for everything in the background … You dealt with all the details and everything else that we have to do behind the scenes.”

Like Vile, Howard began his tenure at a time when transformation was at the core of daily discussions and actions. Recognizing the Signal Regiment of the future “has to be sufficiently technically deep yet still broad enough to understand how to put all of the pieces and parts together” is no small feat, Stanton said, referring to MOS convergence – a process in which the number of signal MOSes went from 17 to seven.

Stanton also credited Howard with the Signal of 2030 Force Design update and Signal Mobile Advanced Readiness Training, or “SMART” concept.

“Now the whole Army has recognized that that vision is the right way to approach training in the future,” Stanton said.

One of Howard’s greatest accomplishments and passions, Stanton added, has been preserving the history of the Signal Regiment.

“He has held me to task a number of times of ensuring that we maintain and preserve the history of the Signal Regiment because it matters a great deal, and of course I agree,” Stanton said.

Staying true to that passion, Howard shared the story of 1st Lt. John Darling, a signal officer who was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his heroic actions in Vietnam. Howard is known to share stories of Signaleers like Darling as a means of conveying the significance of the Signal Regiment and instilling pride in fellow Signaleers.

“Be proud to be a Signaleer … wear your orange, go out there and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with everybody else,” Howard said. “You’re just as important as anybody else in any of those missions.”

Stanton praised both general officers for their success, noting that the accomplishments he shared were just a few examples of what will become their legacy.

Vile will report to U.S. Army Cyber Command, at Fort Meade, Maryland, where he will serve as the deputy director of future operations, J-3.

Howard is heading to U.S. Army Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, where he will serve as the J-6 director.

Individual assumption of responsibility ceremonies will be held at later dates.