By Capt Kari Miller (TRADOC)July 29, 2011
Brigade Modernization Command’s guidon passed from Maj. Gen. (P) Keith C. Walker to Brig. Gen. Randal A. Dragon at the Fort Bliss Museum Thursday with Gen. Robert W. Cone, commanding general for the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, presiding.
Walker is next in line to be the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, Training and Doctrine Command’s (TRADOC) hub for the development and integration of force capabilities within the joint and multinational environment.
After the passing of the guidon, the traditional ceremony that symbolizes the transfer of command responsibility from one commander to another, Cone began his remarks by commending Walker and Dragon for their dedication, talent and willingness to sacrifice.
“Today, in a time of war, Keith and Randy again volunteer, stepping up to provide the leadership, trust, discipline, and fitness our Soldiers and our Army must have to succeed in the defense of our nation,” said Cone.
The Brigade Modernization Command (BMC), previously known as the Future Force Integration Directorate, is the Army’s vehicle for the Network Integration Evaluation (NIE), a series of semi-annual evaluations designed to integrate and mature the Army’s tactical network.
Cone noted that Walker, in addition to overseeing the inaugural NIE, developed a key initiative that “explores the possibilities of using existing social networking tools and technologies to increase the ability and speed of Soldiers to collaborate in both a tactical and administrative setting,” referring to Connecting Soldiers to Digital Applications (CSDA).
During the first NIE which wrapped up in mid-July, the BMC worked with 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division to conduct combined tests and evaluations of developmental and emerging capabilities in order to make recommendations to the Army.
“The NIE delivered a proof of concept that will significantly impact the development of the Army in 2020,” said Cone.
Cone praised Walker’s leadership and the unit’s command climate, highlighting Walker’s ability to foster initiative amongst individuals under his command.
“In doing so, he has laid the foundation for the Army’s continued success in the future by training and educating leaders how to think and adapt in an increasingly complex and ever-changing world,” said Cone.
Dragon will only be the second commander to stand at the helm of the BMC. Cone, citing Dragon’s reputation as “one of the best organizational leaders in the Army today,” remarked that he is confident that Dragon’s leadership will play a key role in the future of Army force integration and in building the Army of 2020.
“I will look increasingly to the Brigade Modernization Command to help me define what the next Army will look like, what capabilities we will possess, and how we will best equip our force,” said Cone.
During Walker’s remarks, he noted the juxtaposition of BMC’s focus on the future of the Army and the Army’s enduring traditions such as the passing of the guidon, “a time-honored event,” according to the typical change of command script.
Walker said families of BMC soldiers understand that what the Soldiers do is essential to saving lives in battles that have not yet been fought.
Walker took the opportunity to thank BMC’s partner organizations and the community for their support to the command’s Soldiers and families, and prior to leaving the podium, revealed that he had been accessing his speech from his electronic notepad, a manifestation of his two-year involvement in applying and integrating technology into everyday Army life.
Dragon thanked the El Paso community leaders and Fort Bliss leaders for the warm welcome and expressed his enthusiasm to be joining their “team of teams.”
Before the start of the official ceremony, Cone presented Walker with the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest non-valorous military decoration for exceptionally meritorious service in a position of great responsibility.