Maj. Gen. Randy S. Taylor has rotated through multiple assignments during his 30-plus-year career in the Army, including the Pentagon and the White House, but his two-year tenure as senior commander of Aberdeen Proving Ground has been his favorite so far.
“There’s just overwhelming goodness here [in Harford County] and people just trying to make things better and just trying to help their neighbors out,” Taylor, 56, said during a recent interview at his office in the Communications-Electronics Command headquarters at APG.
Taylor serves a dual role as commander of CECOM and senior commander of Aberdeen Proving Ground. The Army post has more than 20,000 soldiers, civilian DOD employees and contractors and is the largest employer in Harford.
Taylor, who has been the senior commander of APG since April 13, 2017, will depart his current assignment in June however for a new post with U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.
The Army has not yet announced who will succeed Taylor, but that announcement is expected in the coming weeks, and a change-of-command ceremony should happen in late June, Philip Molter, a spokesperson for APG, wrote in an email Thursday.
Taylor will serve as chief of staff for the Strategic Command, one of 10 Defense Department “unified commands” that brings Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps assets, as well as civilian workers, together to deter nuclear and other forms of “strategic attack” against the U.S. and its allies, according to the command website.
“USSTRATCOM combines the synergy of the U.S. legacy nuclear command and control mission with responsibility for space operations, global strike, and global missile defense,” according to the website. “This dynamic command gives national leadership a unified resource for greater understanding of specific threats around the world and the means to respond to those threats rapidly.”
Commanding generals at APG typically serve 18 to 24 months. Molter noted the Harford County Council sent a request to the Secretary of the Army last year seeking an extension of Taylor’s term, stating that “our office is aware of the letter, but have received no notification of any response.”
Molter said the Army assigns its generals in accordance with DOD “national security priorities.”
“For over two decades, China and Russia have actively sought to exploit perceived U.S. vulnerabilities and are directly challenging the U.S. in areas of long-held strength,” Molter stated.
He noted the Strategic Command is focusing on its current duties of modernizing the nation’s nuclear command, control and communications, or NC3, and that Taylor’s “unique experiences align with this critical NC3 capability modernization.”
Bel Air Mayor Susan Burdette mentioned Taylor’s upcoming departure during a town commissioners’ meeting Monday evening, as she reported attending a “birthday soiree” for the general March 21.
She said town officials “feel pretty sure” Taylor will move back to Harford County following his retirement from the military.
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“We’re all looking forward to having him come back — that’s not definite, but we have hints of that,” Burdette said.