New commanding general takes charge of 7th Signal Command
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FORT GORDON, Ga. -- Brig. Gen. LaWarren Patterson assumed command of 7th Signal Command (Theater) from Brig. Gen. Jennifer L. Napper during a ceremony at Fort Gordon's Barton Parade Field Pavilion Sept. 8.

7th Signal Command, with headquarters at Fort Gordon, operates and defends the Army's portion of the Global Information Grid. The command provides information technology solutions, infrastructure, support and services that include Internet, telephone, email, and teleconferencing for the Army, Joint, Interagency and Multinational forces at military installations throughout the Western Hemisphere.

"Warren is an exceptional visionary, technically one of our best, and a superb leader," said Maj. Gen. Susan Lawrence, commanding general of 9th Signal Command, Fort Huachuca, Ariz., the commander to whom 7th Signal Command reports.

Patterson reported here after serving as the Deputy Commanding General at 9th Signal Command. He has 28 years experience as an Army officer commanding at all levels.

"Warren is best known for his ability to masterfully steer through a maze of organizational bureaucracy and overcome institutional resistance to accomplish any mission," said Lawrence. "His unique qualities guided the 9th Signal Command through a complicated web of transformation while responding to multiple cyber threats to our nation."

Patterson acknowledged the significance of becoming the new commanding general of 7th Signal Command.

"I am well aware of the great gift that has been given to me today," he said. "Command is always a privilege and I am excited today to be joining the 7th Signal family."

The new 7th Signal commanding general also expressed the implication of the challenges facing the command as it operates and defends the Army's network in the Western Hemisphere.

"The U.S. is the most technically advanced country with the greatest dependency on computer-based systems and networks," he said, "therefore, making it also the most vulnerable nation in the globally connected world."

Patterson told the 7th Signal Command team to enjoy their accomplishments, thank their families, and catch their breath. "...but just take a moment because the next challenge is right around the corner," he said.

Patterson also acknowledged the accomplishments of Napper and her husband, Mark, during their time at 7th Signal Command.

"I congratulate and commend you and Mark for the admirable job you have done in guiding the unit's mission, for our Soldiers and families, Fort Gordon, the city of Augusta and the surrounding communities. You can be extremely proud," he said.

The general concluded his remarks, emphasized his commitment, and underscored his expectation of the 7th Signal Command team with a quotation from General Matthew Ridgway as he took command of United Nations forces in the midst of the Korean conflict.

"I will give you my utmost, I shall expect yours," he said.

Lawrence also praised Napper for her many accomplishments while serving at 7th Signal Command the past two years.

"Building the 7th Signal Command from the ground up, transforming the Network Enterprise Centers, establishing baseline and enhanced services, and educating customers on a new approach of doing business are all remarkable accomplishments," she said.

NEC teams are instrumental in applying the command's approved Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Information Management (C4IM) services across the CONUS (Continental United States) enterprise network according to Lawrence.

"NECs give customers a much needed and uniform standardization of information technology, which is crucial to the realizations of the Global Network Enterprise," she said.

"Likewise, providing and defending network capabilities for the entire Western Hemisphere is no easy task. Doing so required the vision of a chief executive officer, the technical ability of an information technology expert, the acumen of an entrepreneur, and the diplomatic skills of a statesman," she said. "It is no understatement to say that General Napper was just the right person at just the right time to fulfill these roles."

The 7th Signal Command's subordinate units include the 93rd Signal Brigade, Fort Eustis, Md.; the 106th Signal Brigade, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.; and, the 21st Signal Brigade, Fort Detrick, Md. The 93rd and 106th operate 37 NECs, which provide information technology solutions, infrastructure, support and services to Army posts, camps and stations in the United States. The 21st performs a variety of unique missions spanning Army North and Army South Areas of Responsibility. Missions include Global Presidential Communications, National Airborne Operations Center, Secret Service Protective Communications, and the Army's Combat Camera Company.

Patterson graduated from Norfolk State University, receiving his commission as a second lieutenant in the Signal Corps in 1982, and earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications. He also holds a Master of Science Degree in General Administration from Central Michigan University, and a Masters in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.