By Andricka Thomas
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland – Maj. Gen. Peter D. Utley relinquished command of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command to Maj. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler during a change of command ceremony on the front lawn of the command headquarters, June 15, at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
Karbler took command over the Army’s independent test and evaluation enterprise, which is responsible for the planning and execution of experiments, developmental and operational testing, and assessments on new and emerging capabilities.
“This command [ATEC] is fundamental to the process of choosing the right warfighting systems and modifying them for the realities of combat and support to Soldiers,” said Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, Army vice chief of staff and presiding officer for the ceremony. “ATEC ensures we [the Army] procure the best systems and helps us focus our resources both effectively and efficiently.”
Karbler joins the ATEC team from his most recent assignment as the Joint Integration Director in the Army G-8, where he was no stranger to navigating through the fiscal challenges ATEC, and the Army, currently face. He understands the importance of keeping an Army ready, equipped and postured to meet the current and future needs of the Force.
The 35th Vice Chief of Staff of the Army referenced Gen. George Washington’s inaugural address to the nation stating, “being prepared for war was one of the most effective means to preserving peace.”
“The Army Test and Evaluation Command is a fundamental contributor to our preparation for war,” Allyn said. “Confidence in our tools of war, helps solidify the essential trust that empowers our warriors to fight with courage and tenacity, the trademark of the American Soldier.”
ATEC’s mission directly impacts procurement and acquisition decisions as the command ensures Soldiers have effective, suitable and survivable equipment. With this in mind, as he starts his new assignment, Karbler described three mission areas on which he plans to focus.
“My message is simple; we will continue to rigorously and thoroughly test and evaluate new capabilities, whether they are emerging technologies or upgrades, that will allow us to extend the life of current systems,” said Karbler. “We’ll do so in operationally robust test environments while staying cognizant of the fiscal reality constraining all of us. And, we will ensure that all of ATEC’s military and civilian professionals remain on the cutting-edge of professional development and education.”
During his remarks, Karbler thanked the ATEC team for their supreme professionalism as they welcomed him and his family to the command and said he looks forward to working together.
Allyn thanked Utley for his contributions over the last two years and made mention of the plethora of success stories had by the command while under Utley’s leadership. Among these achievements is the execution of four Network Integration Evaluation events on 10 major programs in the last two years. He’s impressed upon Army and DoD senior leaders and stakeholders the importance of testing early and continuously throughout a system’s life cycle. Utley is also credited for paving the way for leading the establishment of cyber test and evaluation processes as the Army conducts cyber defense operations.
“He led the effort to keep the Army at the cutting-edge of cyber warfare by establishing a rigorous cyber testing and evaluation regimen in coordination with the Army Research Laboratory and the Threat Systems Management office,” said Allyn. “Something you may notice about each of Pete’s accomplishments is they span across multiple and diverse organizations. Pete’s ability to work with stakeholders across the Army, from the ASA/ALT, [Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology)] to TRADOC, to U.S. Forces Command, and to integrate the joint interagency team has been fundamental to achieving the efficiency and maximum capability for our national defense.
As Utley bid farewell, he was not focused on what he achieved while serving at ATEC, but rather with whom he achieved it with. During his remarks, he sent a message of thanks to his colleagues from Office of the Secretary of Defense, Department of Army, Team APG, and ATEC communities. He also thanked Aberdeen Mayor Michael E. Bennett and the local community for their unwavering support of Team APG and the workforce who reside in the area and call here home.
“Our surrounding communities are filled with patriotic citizens who believe in their military and represent what is best about our great nation,” said Utley. “Your outpouring of support to team members of Aberdeen Proving Ground and the Army Test and Evaluation Command have truly been meaningful,” said Utley.
Utley thanked Team APG for being great partners on joint initiatives like STEM outreach, the APG’s annual Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Program (SHARP) Summit, and joining together to create cross-organizational professional development opportunities for the APG workforce.
Allyn commended Utley for his commitment to being a straight forward leader of character, something he says is an essential attribute in the test and evaluation business.
“In the Army we pride ourselves on building leaders of character, and ATEC exemplifies this commitment,” Allyn said. “Testing in an international setting, leading to critical billion-dollar decisions, our independent testers have the team’s trust because of their proven integrity while delivering honest assessments in an extremely high-pressure environments, while supporting an Army at war.”
Allyn wished Utley and his wife, Lt. Col. Catherine Rusnak, who will soon retire after 26 years of Army service, well in their next assignment in Saudi Arabia.
Looking forward, Allyn introduced the new ATEC commander and his family, Karbler, his wife Leah and two children, at the ceremony, characterizing them as a true Army Family.
“One of the many strengths of our Army is our deep bench of experienced leaders who are ready to take and sustain the command’s momentum. We’re blessed today to welcome [Major] General Dan and Leah Karbler to lead ATEC into the future,” Allyn said.
A United States Military Academy graduate, Karbler was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Defense Artillery Branch. He’s served in Operation Desert Storm in Iraq; Operations Desert Vigilance and Desert Fox in Saudi Arabia; and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Karbler has experience at all echelons of leadership, to include being aide-de-camp to the commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Defense Center where he later served as a cruise missile defense development officer. He would later return to the Center as the Chief of the Joint Requirements Division for the Combat Developments Directorate.
With significant experience working in the Joint military community, Karbler served at the Pentagon at multiple points over the course of his career. He served as the Architecture and Concepts Branch officer as part of the Joint Staff’s J8. He was also the Chief of the Army G-8 Air Defense Division in the Force Development Directorate. He later returned to serve in his most recent assignment as the G-8 Director of Joint and Integration, before taking command of ATEC.
“I’m confident he will effectively synchronize this great ATEC team with all of our partners,” Allyn said. “I have full confidence that the Karbler family is ready to take this championship ATEC team forward to an exciting and challenging future.”