PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Army News Service, Dec. 10, 2007) - The Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center command at Picatinny Arsenal has become the first federal organization to receive the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

The center is one of five recipients for 2007, out of 84 candidates, to receive the nation's highest presidential honor for organizational performance excellence and one of only two nonprofit organizations to win the honor, another first in the history of the award. In a joint press release, President George W. Bush and Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez announced the award.

"I am pleased to join President Bush in congratulating the five outstanding organizations that have been named to receive this year's Baldrige Award," Sec. Gutierrez said. "The organizations we recognize today have given us superb examples of innovation, excellence and world-class performance. They serve as role models for organizations of all kinds striving to improve effectiveness and increase value to their customers."

The award is the nation's top prize for performance management and quality achievement. Leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, information and analysis, human resource focus, process management and business results are among the criteria for the award.

ARDEC, already recognized as the internationally acknowledged hub for armaments technology and engineering innovation, joins the elite ranks of the 72 world-class role-model organizations that have been recognized since the Baldridge program's inception in 1988 for performance excellence.

"We are absolutely thrilled by our selection as a 2007 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient," Joseph A. Lannon, ARDEC director said. "Each member of our workforce is responsible for bringing this honor to our organization.

"The men and women of ARDEC earned this award as a direct result of what they are doing for our warfighters," he added. "I couldn't be prouder of each and every ARDEC employee."

"Awesome news," said Brig. Gen. William N. Phillips, commander of Picatinny Arsenal and the Joint Munitions and Lethality Life Cycle Management Command. "On behalf of the entire Picatinny community, I congratulate Dr. Joe Lannon and his entire ARDEC workforce for becoming the first organization in DoD to earn this prestigious honor."

More than 40 states and 45 countries worldwide have implemented programs based on the Baldrige criteria. ARDEC has used that criteria as its management framework for more than a decade and has won numerous other Baldrige-based awards at the state and federal levels.

The center, the Army's principal researcher, developer and sustainer of current and future military armaments systems, is focused in particular on developing and improving the technical capabilities of U.S. service members fighting the Global War on Terrorism. Headquartered here, it employs more than 3,000 personnel at its five different locations in the U.S.

Either the president or vice president will present the award to ARDEC at a ceremony slated to be held in Washington, D.C., in early 2008.