Aberdeen Proving Ground commander promoted to Pentagon

Aberdeen Proving Ground commander Gen. Robert S. Ferrell, shown here addressing an education related event on Aberdeen Proving Ground, has been promoted to a post at the Pentagon.
Aberdeen Proving Ground commander Gen. Robert S. Ferrell, shown here addressing an education related event on Aberdeen Proving Ground, has been promoted to a post at the Pentagon. (Aegis file photo, Patuxent Homestead)

Maj. Gen.-promotable Robert S. Ferrell, the former senior commander of Aberdeen Proving Ground, has accepted a promotion to the Pentagon after less than two years at the helm of the Harford County Army post.

Ferrell has served since February of 2012 as commander of at APG and of the Communications-Electronics Command at APG.


The Communications-Electronics Command, or CECOM, is the "senior mission command" at APG; it is a worldwide command of about 12,000 people, Bob DiMichele, public affairs officer for the command, said Thursday.

There are about 22,000 people working at APG, including military personnel, civilian defense workers and contractors.

Ferrell was confirmed by the Senate as a three-star lieutenant general effective Dec. 20, according to Army officials.

DiMichele said Ferrell relinquished command Dec. 23 and has moved to the Pentagon in Northern Virginia.

He will serve as chief information officer for the Army, responsible for "setting the strategic direction, objectives, and supervising all Army C4 [Command, Control, Communications and Computers] and IT [Information Technology] functions," according to the Army Chief Information Officer/G6 website.

The chief information officer reports to the Secretary of the Army.

Col. Charles Gibson, chief of staff for CECOM, will serve as acting commander until a new commanding general is named, DiMichele said.

No commanding general has been named yet for APG, however.

Ferrell is scheduled to return to APG Jan. 7 for a farewell dinner; he will also receive awards from Army officials, DiMichele said.

Ferrell, a 36-year veteran of the Army, formally took over as the commanding general of the Communications-Electronics Command at APG on Feb. 9, 2012.

The Anniston, Ala. native and son of a Korea and Vietnam War veteran joined the Army in July 1977, according to a biography posted on APG's website.

He was commissioned as an officer in the Army Signal Corps in August of 1983.

His career has taken him throughout the U.S., Europe and Korea, and he has been deployed to Bosnia and Iraq.

He served as director of C4 Systems and chief information officer for the U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany before transferring to Aberdeen Proving Ground.


He is married and has two children.

Harford County Executive David Craig said senior commanders at APG typically stay in the position for about three years, but he was not surprised that Ferrell was promoted early.

"He's an excellent person, [a] lot of commitment to our country and our county, and he's done a good job and we will miss him," Craig said Thursday.

The county executive spoke of the close relationship Ferrell and his staff maintained with county and Aberdeen city leaders.

Craig even nominated Ferrell for the Military Leader of the Year award given by the Association of Defense Communities.

Ferrell accepted the award in June of 2013 on Capitol Hill.

"He was very knowledgeable; he was very hardworking," Craig said Thursday. "He was on a constant outreach to both the mayor of Aberdeen and myself to know about what our concerns were on this side of the fence. . . . We were in constant collaboration and cooperation."

Craig noted that in his new position, Ferrell will still be responsible for activities at Aberdeen Proving Ground, "so we will still have those connections."