FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- The military's provider of tactical electric power for the front lines recently welcomed aboard a new leader, who will continue his predecessor's push for efficiencies in generating and using power on the battlefield.

Col. Brian P. Cummings assumed responsibility for the Project Manager for Mobile Electric Power (PM MEP) during a Sept. 7 change of charter ceremony here, which signifies the official transition and assumption of authority by the Project Manager. The charter charges the Project Manager with total life cycle support management of his assigned programs. Cummings accepted the PM MEP charter from Michael Padden, who led the organization from 2007 until earlier this year.

The ceremony was led by Brig. Gen. N. Lee S. Price, Program Executive Officer for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), the Army organization to which PM MEP is assigned.

"Mike Padden took the reins during a period when the simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan unleashed a thirst for power that strained existing methods and resources," Price said. "Under Mr. Padden's leadership, PM MEP rose to meet this challenge. That legacy and responsibility now passes to our incoming PM, and with his stellar reputation and experience, I have no doubt that Colonel Cummings is up to the task."

Following the change of charter, Price presented Padden with the Department of the Army Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service, the highest award granted by the Secretary of the Army to Army civilian personnel.

"Serving as PM MEP has been the most professionally rewarding experience of my almost 30-year career," Padden said. "Never before has there been greater focus on power and energy. During this time, the MEP team has established itself as a recognized leader in power generation, distribution and environmental control."

Thanking Padden for his service, Cummings said he is eager to lead an "incredible" PM MEP team.

"I'm going to give it my heart and soul, and give it 100 percent," he said. "We're going to do a great job on this mission."

Among the major projects Cummings inherits are the Army's first microgrid, which is currently installed at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, and the production of the next generation of standard tactical generators, which will be shipped to Afghanistan starting later this year. Once in place, these Advanced Medium Mobile Power Sources (AMMPS) generators are expected to save 300,000 gallons of fuel a month over the current models they are replacing.

The PM MEP portfolio of equipment also includes larger and smaller classes of standard generators, as well as power distribution equipment, environmental control units, and hybrid system prototypes that use solar power and other alternative energy sources. As a Department of Defense (DoD) project manager, the organization supplies equipment to the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps along with the Army -- therefore serving as a central hub for power system expertise and training.

That role also makes PM MEP a critical partner in the military's aggressive efforts to reduce its energy footprint while ensuring troops' power needs are met. Initiatives such as AMMPS, Improved Environmental Control Units (IECUs), centralized power systems for command posts, and microgrid technologies that link generators to intelligently manage the power supply will all cut down on the amount of fossil fuel needed to produce power.

In recognition of these efforts, PM MEP was awarded the David Packard Excellence in Acquisition Award in 2009. The David Packard award is the Army's most prestigious acquisition team award and is given annually to only a handful of recipients across the Department of Defense. PEO C3T also won in 2010, along with its teammates from PEO Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (IEW&S;), for their efforts in standing up the Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIXS)- International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) [CX-I] secure network, the U.S. component of the Afghan Mission Network (AMN).

Cummings joins the PM MEP team from a year-long deployment in Iraq, where he served as the Chief of Staff for the Deputy Commanding General for Advising and Training. He has more than 15 years of experience in Army Acquisition, much of that at the Program Executive Office Soldier.