ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- The Anniston Chemical Activity has a new leader and, for the first time in ANCA's 17-year history, that leader is not a Soldier.

Jesse E. Brown, III, was installed as ANCA's Civilian Executive In Charge during a brief ceremony last week. Brown has been the deputy to the commander since 2003, serving five of ANCA's nine military commanders.

Don E. Barclay, acting director of the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., presided over the Change of Responsibility ceremony. With the assistance of Anniston Army Depot Sgt. Maj. Jeffery Marcon, Barclay passed the ANCA flag from the outgoing commander, Lt. Col. Willie J. Flucker Jr., to Brown.

Flucker has served as the ANCA commander since July 2010. His next assignment is at the Pentagon as the Military Assistant to the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

ANCA's main mission was the safe storage and maintenance of seven percent of the U.S. stockpile of nerve agent and mustard agent munitions. The last chemical munition stored on the depot was safely destroyed last September in the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility. With the elimination of the Anniston chemical munitions stockpile, ANCA and ANCDF workers are now preparing for the closure of related activities and facilities.

Brown's new mission is to lead the ANCA civilian team through the final inspections and cleaning of the storage igloos for return to the depot. Additionally, all vehicles, equipment, and facilities need to be prepared for issue to other organizations or disposal. Simultaneously, Brown will manage a workforce reduction in force. Managers will assist employees who want to continue their federal careers, they will help others who will be transitioning to the private sector, and other employees will be counseled as they prepare for retirement.

Brown, a civil engineer from Talladega who graduated from the University of Alabama, has been a Department of Army Civilian employee for 30 years. Flucker, a Detroit native, has been a Soldier for more than 28 years. He has college degrees from Excelsior College and from Central Michigan University.

Barclay had words of praise for both Flucker and Brown.

"Convinced that Anniston Chemical Activity employees are the source of the activity's success, Lt. Col. Flucker was resolute in his commitment to achieving closure using Chemical Activity personnel and resources. Millions of dollars in contract costs have been avoided and, more importantly, valued Anniston Chemical Activity employees have remained employed to perform critical closure work," said Barclay.

In reference to Brown, Barclay said, "We at the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency have had the good fortune of watching Mr. Brown's career development for the past 13 years. Brown's familiarity with all of the organizations, activities, and agencies doing business on Anniston Army Depot; his personal knowledge and experience at the ANCDF Field Office; and his many successful years as the Anniston Chemical Activity Civilian Executive Assistant are sure to serve him well in the coming months."

Flucker had words of praise himself for the ANCA employees he led, as well as for the depot organizations and the civilian agencies he partnered with for the past two years.

"Our continued success is a testament to the flexibility and the professionalism of our incredible workforce, a group of wonderful patriots that I'm honored to have been able to work beside," he said.

Brown was the last speaker to address the ANCA workforce, family members, and guests at the ceremony. He said, "I would like to thank Lt.Col. Flucker for the last two years and commend him on how well he guided ANCA during this transition from chemical operation to the closure phase. He was truly the right commander at the right time.

"As we move forward, I have every confidence that, through the efforts of the dedicated ANCA employees, we will close in the same manner as we operated for so many years -- safely, efficiently, and professionally."