CECOM commander delivers his last town hall address

By Maya GreenMay 23, 2024

Senior commander in uniform stands on stage in front of flags
Maj. Gen. Robert L. Edmonson II, senior commander of Aberdeen Proving Ground and commanding general of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, speaks at his final town hall in the Myer Auditorium May 7, 2024. (Photo Credit: Sean Kief, CECOM PAO) VIEW ORIGINAL

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command held its second quarterly town hall of the year in the Myer Auditorium May 7, 2024. Leadership briefed the CECOM workforce on the Federal Employment Viewpoint Survey, workforce development, and NETCOM services. More than 1,400 tuned in online via Microsoft Teams from across the world, and the auditorium was full for the senior commander’s final town hall.

Maj. Gen. Robert L. Edmonson II, senior commander of APG and commanding general of CECOM, opened the town hall by touching on CECOM’s part in Army modernization.

“We can’t transform the whole Army overnight, but our strategy as an army to modernize—to remain the world’s premier army is to transform while in contact,” Edmonson said. “We are going to outpace our adversaries across the board. We don’t want the fight to be fair. We want it to be quick and over with, then bring people back home. The one way you can do that is to make sure that our Soldiers, sons, and daughters have the right kit.”

Edmonson then passed the floor to Casi Boyer, a human resource specialist from CECOM’s G1 who explained the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. FEVS opened May 20, 2024 and will continue until July 5, 2024. Boyer explained the brief survey is open to all CECOM employees onboard as of November 2023.

“It makes a huge impact on the programs we do in the G1 and throughout the command,” she stated. “We need everyone’s participation in order to make this work. We need you to put your voice out there. The voice of the employee is very important.”

Boyer informed the workforce to expect an email from Office of Personnel Management asking for participation.

Boyer said the FEVS is a way for employees to implement changes within the organization. For example, based on answers compiled from the FEVS, the interview process was recently changed so that applicants have the right to ask for feedback after an interview.

Another change that came about from FEVS was the Health and Wellness Program.

The next presenter was G6’s Chief of Architecture and Enterprise Applications Christopher McKay who discussed Army NETCOM services.

He revealed the new call functionality in Microsoft Teams, a call feature tied to your account. CECOM employees can send and receive calls that aren’t just Teams, McKay said. McKay encouraged the workforce to use that phone number to update Global Address List information.

McKay also shared some features of Army 365 that aren’t very well-known. As of October 2023, all employees were granted Power BI licensing and the software is now available in the software center to download, he added. He highlighted apps like Power Apps and Power Automate, stating that they are dynamic tools that can interact with all aspects of Army 365 and alleviate the stress of mundane tasks.

McKay shared another one of his “favorite” services, Azure Virtual Desktop, also known as Army Virtual Desktop. AVD is a full-on Windows virtual desktop environment that is available to the workforce everywhere in the world and can be accessed from virtually any device. McKay added that even contractors can access AVD from their corporate laptops.

“[AVD] is going to change the way you telework,” he continued. “So, sign up for AVD and go check it out.”

Lastly, McKay shared apps that allow non-government devices to access government applications. Hypori allows access to email, MS Teams, and more from your phone. Yubikey is a CAC for devices that don’t support CAC readers.

Army Unified Directory Services is going to change the face of the Army, McKay stated.

“When you log into it with your Army 365 account, it starts an enrollment process which brings your computer into compliance for the Army within hours, and then you’re essentially at a [Government Furnished Equipment] computer,” he said. “You can now take this laptop all over the world and as long as you’re at a NETCOM controlled Ethernet port, you can plug in and use it as your work computer without having to have reimaged for whatever region you go to.”

For more information on these topics please visit the CECOM G6 SharePoint site: https://armyeitaas.sharepoint-mil.us/sites/CECOM-G6/.

Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions to leadership throughout the meeting. The town hall concluded with a brief award ceremony to recognize the awardees of the Meritorious Civilian Service Medal; C5ISR Team of the Quarter, FY24, second quarter; Employees of the Quarter, FY24, second quarter, at the junior, mid, and senior levels; Supervisor of the Quarter, FY24, second quarter; the retirement of Lt. Col. Dustin Gray, Master Sgt. Danielle Smith, Sgt. 1st Class Chrisopher Smith, Lt. Col. Bashiri Phillips, Maj. Robert Wallace, and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Torre Williams; and various team members’ length of service.

Edmonson closed out his final town hall by thanking Team CECOM for their support during his service.

“I want to thank everyone for the efforts they made to bring me in and make me comfortable on this stage in front of you experts [and] outstanding people from across the globe,” he said. “I continue to be impressed by each and every one of you, and the care that you show to your teammates, the care that you show to the Army, to the headquarters. This [townhall] is going to be my last one. And I’ve said it for many years, but the Army goes rolling along and I know that the Army is going to be in a really good place. There is no one person that is that indispensable.”

To watch the town hall, visit: https://dod.teams.microsoft.us/l/meetup-join/19%3adod%3ameeting_752fe81e06154e51af79e0e88b7efa24%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%22fae6d70f-954b-4811-92b6-0530d6f84c43%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%225367987d-e4d5-4dc5-b5b6-6b7ef39f5fbc%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d.