ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The U.S. Army's premier science and technology unit welcomed a new leader Dec. 4. The new commanding general hopes to set the tone for the future of the Research, Development and Engineering Command.

Army Materiel Command Commanding General Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody transferred the unit colors to Maj. Gen. Nickolas G. Justice from retiring Maj. Gen. Paul S. Izzo.

Dunwoody enthusiastically greeted Justice as she described the characteristics and values that make him the best person to lead RDECOM in its mission to support the Soldier through science and technology.

"Losing a commander in a time of rapid transformation always poses challenges, but I believe once again the army has chosen wisely," she said. "Today, I'm delighted to officially welcome our new command team, Maj. Gen. Nickolas G. Justice and his wife Anna. They don't come any better qualified or ready for command than Nick."

Justice, formerly the Program Executive Officer for the Army's Command, Control and Communications-Tactical at Fort Monmouth, N.J., spoke graciously as he thanked the prior commander for his service, and prepared for the challenges ahead.

"I truly cherish the opportunity (given to me) today. I am so excited to join the team at RDECOM," the new commander said.

Izzo, who leaves with just over a year in command, agreed with Dunwoody as he applauded the decision to name Justice commander following his departure.

"Welcome to RDECOM," Izzo said. "You are the perfect match for this job and I depart knowing this great team is in very capable and caring hands."

Dunwoody thanked Izzo for his service and congratulated him on his accomplishments and his ability to lead RDECOM in the right direction. His impact on the command will be his "towering legacy."

"You and everyone in the RDECOM team should be very, very proud of your many accomplishments. Under (your) watch RDECOM has received wide recognition through scores of awards earned just this year. These honors are a tribute to (you), the RDECOM leadership - many of you here today, and the dedicated talent of the workforce," the AMC commander said.

Izzo said he was proud of his time at RDECOM, and although not every decision was easy, he said he believes the choices he made advanced the command and resulted in better prepared Soldiers.

"Tremendous strides have been made in accelerating the responsiveness to our Warfighters. Each deserves the best we can offer in return for their dedicated service during these difficult times. RDECOM's quickness to receive requirements, develop solutions, and rapidly transport those solutions to both Iraq and Afghanistan has saved countless lives. I cannot be prouder of this command," the retiring Soldier said.

The veteran of almost 35 years thanked the RDECOM Soldiers and civilian employees for their passion and dedication, saying they make this command strong.

"(RDECOM) is blessed with a great workforce. What a super concentration in combination of winners, a diverse organization in terms of race, gender, and ideas. And there is great strength in that diversity," Izzo said.