REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space is ready to go to the next level.

And Col. Ole Knudson is set to take it there.

After a deployment that took him to both Iraq and Afghanistan, Knudson is looking forward to his role in the development and management of new and better missile systems that are used "literally all around the world."

Knudson was introduced as the new program executive officer for Missiles and Space at a change of responsibility ceremony Oct. 7. His predecessor, Maj. Gen. Genaro Dellarocco, is moving on to become commander of the Test and Evaluation Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

Lt. Gen. Bill Phillips, principal military deputy assistant secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology) and director of acquisition career management, introduced Knudson to a Bob Jones Auditorium audience.

"Col. Knudson, you're coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan. I want to thank you and congratulate you for taking over an extraordinary team that we know you will take to the next level," Phillips said.

PEO for Missiles and Space is a "trusted worldwide provider of missile systems. This team has worked so hard in support of Soldiers who are so successful on the field of battle," he added. It is an organization of more than 1,000 civilian and contractor employees, eight project offices and $3 billion annual budget with an additional $1 million in foreign military sales. Its systems support more than 35 countries.

Phillips said Knudson's work in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as with the Program Executive Office for Ammunition and in other assignments make him the right fit for the PEO for Missiles and Space assignment.

"There is no one more prepared to take the helm. He will simply take it to the next level. I am incredibly optimistic about the opportunities," Phillips said.

Knudson, a West Point graduate, was quick to tell his audience that he is happy about his new assignment.

"There's no place I'd rather be than right here. And this is being said by a guy whose last three jobs were almost in the Pentagon and in Afghanistan and Iraq," Knudson said, smiling.

"Thank you for all you've done to ease the transition. It has happened rather quickly."

Those last three jobs included serving as the project manager for Combat Ammunition Systems within the Program Executive Office for Ammunition in 2005-09; director for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Operation Forward in Iraq from August 2009 to January; and deputy director for the Security Assistance Office Afghanistan from February to August.

Prior to those assignments, he served as the director for plans, programs and resources within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. His career also includes an assignment as the system coordinator for Multiple Launch Rocket System, Guided MLRS and HIMARS, three systems that are today part of PEO for Missiles and Space.

But, regardless of his background, Knudson acknowledged there will be a significant learning curve in his new assignment.

"I've spent 10 days learning that I have a lot to learn," he quipped.

Although this is his first assignment at Redstone Arsenal, Knudson said he has been aware of the Arsenal's reputation since his early years as a lieutenant.

Mentioning HIMARS, MLRS, Avenger, Sentinel, Hellfire and Patriot among other systems, Knudson said "I know very well the capability of this PEO."

He is also looking forward to working on new missile systems, such as JLENS and MEADS.

"There is a degree of capability here that is right up there," Knudson said. "I am awed, humbled and excited to be part of this grand enterprise."

But, beyond those missile systems, Knudson said he has learned from his previous assignments that caring for partners - employees, contractors, Soldiers - always takes priority.

"As we focus on these missions we have to pay attention to our teammates," he said. "They are our precious assets. They help us get things done."