ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command changed leaders Feb. 10, welcoming a civilian executive at the helm for the first time.Dale A. Ormond assumed responsibility in a ceremony at the APG Post Theater. About 500 Soldiers, Army civilians and local elected officials attended Ormond's introduction to the community.ORMOND TAKES REIGNSOrmond is the first civilian to lead RDECOM since the Army created the command in 2004. He assumed leadership from Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, the RDECOM and APG installation commander since Dec. 4, 2009.Ormond thanked Justice for his 42 years of Army service and commitment to the nation."[Justice] has built a tremendous organization at RDECOM," Ormond said. "Now comes our challenge to build upon that foundation."RDECOM's employees must continue to support Soldiers with the best technology for current conflicts, as well as to defeat future adversaries, Ormond said."For the RDECOM employees, I have been so incredibly impressed with each of you. Each one of us has the central motivation to help a Soldier in the middle of nowhere execute their mission and come home safely," Ormond said. "I don't know that anyone does this more profoundly than our RDECOM employees do."To the men and women of RDECOM -- we have a lot of work to do. We must continue to accelerate the work that is already in progress to support our Soldiers. I know you are up to the task."Ormond comes to RDECOM from the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where he served as deputy to the commanding general since 2008. He previously served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Elimination of Chemical Weapons) and as acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Policy and Procurement.Ormond is a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and holds a master of science in environmental systems engineering from Clemson University. He was selected for Senior Executive Service in 2004.FAREWELL FOR JUSTICEJustice joined the Army as an enlisted Soldier and earned his commission upon graduation from Officer Candidate School in 1977. He was promoted to major general in 2008.Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody, commanding general of U.S. Army Materiel Command, praised Justice's work to empower, unburden and protect America's Soldiers. She also commended his efforts as a trailblazer in Army information technology."I was just issued my first Apple iPad. Nick Justice is the only guy in the entire Army who could teach me to use it," Dunwoody said jokingly."The Army quickly recognized that we have a tech genius in Nick Justice," Dunwoody said. "He had a greater impact on Army information systems and the way Soldiers communicate than anyone in our entire institution."Nick is the founding father of Army Knowledge Online. Today, it is the largest intranet in the world, but it all started with this man."Dunwoody also recognized Justice's emphasis on inserting RDECOM's scientific and engineering expertise into the operational Army. Through this accomplishment, the mission to empower, unburden and protect Warfighters has moved even closer to the battlefield."In a time when the need to get the benefits of science and engineering out to our Warfighters was never greater, Nick was there -- on point -- making sure it happened," Dunwoody said. "He personally worked with the commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan to get science and technology embedded in our operational units."Nick has employed nearly 1,300 members around the globe. Now more than ever, RDECOM has a global presence, a global force and a global voice around the Army."Justice echoed Dunwoody's remarks about RDECOM's scientific contributions enhancing Soldiers' capabilities."You heard General Dunwoody recognize our deployed capabilities. It will be an enduring presence in the future that will be integrated into the Army's deployable capabilities," Justice said. "That recognizes your skills, talents, importance and value to the operational Army."We have changed the very essence of war this decade much out of the strength and intellectual capacity of this organization. I salute you, RDECOM, for what you do for me and my brothers in arms."Justice thanked many of those in attendance -- his fellow Soldiers, civilian employees, Gold Star Families, state and local elected officials, and his wife -- for their support during his time at RDECOM and APG."We will always have you in our hearts. We will always be involved in the relationships and associations that we have established in this community. Thank you very much for what you done for me."This is one of the greatest assignments that a Soldier could ever have."RDECOM is made up of nearly 17,000 civilian researchers, scientists, engineers and support personnel. There are about 100 Soldiers assigned to provide important feedback to researchers developing technologies.