He doesn’t wear a uniform anymore, but Gary Martin is a dedicated and decorated Army professional. For nearly 30 years, he has worked to support the various missions of the United States Army – as an active duty Signal Corps Officer from 1984 to 1988, to his recent roles supporting the Commanding Generals of Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) and Research, Development, and Engineering Command (RDECOM). And, through it all he strives to live by the Army values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage.
Martin’s Army career began after graduating from college and finishing ROTC. He started active duty as a second lieutenant and was stationed at Fort Monmouth, N.J., for his first assignment as an Army officer. “My original intent was to stay and retire from the Army,” admits Martin. “Fort Monmouth, however, was one of those installations that had few military units because their purpose was to largely develop, acquire and field equipment. So, for three or four years, I tried to get assigned to a military unit, but for a variety of reasons was sort of stuck there. Knowing that by the time I completed my first assignment, my peers would have completed the officer advanced course and would have already accumulated extensive experience as platoon leaders and company commanders, I thought it was probably not in the best interest of my career advancement to stay in the military.”
Martin left the Army, met and married his wife, and began working for a contractor. Around that same time, a new program office for satellite communications was forming and looking for a new test officer. “I had briefed the colonel just before I left, and they were looking to start fielding, which was what I used to do in the military,” explains Martin. “They asked if I would take the job if offered, and I said absolutely.” Martin spent the next 20 years in a range of assignments at Fort Monmouth serving as the Deputy Project Manager for Tactical Radio Systems up to his longest assignment as the Technical Director for the Army Communications-Electronics Research Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC). In February 2008, he moved to Maryland as part of the base realignment and closure.
What he discovered when he got here surprised him. “I had little insight into the breadth of the missions at APG,” admits Martin. “In my roles at Fort Monmouth, I had been coming down for meetings for years but had no idea of the breadth of the missions that were here – AMSAA, ARL, DTC, RDECOM, ECBC, Public Health Command, etc.”
Just as APG surprised him, so did Harford County. Born and raised in Maine and attending school in Vermont, Martin divulges that it took him awhile to get used to New Jersey. “It was far more urban that what I was used to. I find Harford County much more like where I grew up.”
Like his military counterpart, Major General Robert Ferrell, Martin was taken aback at the reception he and his family received when they moved here. “The people here are extremely friendly. For example, when we were shopping for appliances, the salesclerk at the store gave my wife her card and said to call her if she needed help with anything during the transition. There are also a lot of activities going on, lots of little festivals. The engagement between the community and the installation here is far closer and more active than my recollections at Fort Monmouth. My interactions with Mr. Craig (Harford County Executive David Craig), other county folks and local mayors are an order of magnitude more than I ever had up at Fort Monmouth. I find the county and the local townspeople here are very connected and active with the proving ground.”
Prior to his current position, Martin was the Executive Director to the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command (RDECOM) where he oversaw the appropriation of approximately $2.5 billion in annual investments. He served in this capacity under four separate commanding generals from February 2008 to November 2011. He moved to CECOM earlier this year and met MG Ferrell when he arrived for the change of command.
Martin’s role at CECOM as Deputy to the Commanding General, who is also the Installation Commander, is quite extensive. Under the leadership of MG Ferrell, Martin oversees the development and execution of CECOM’s organizational goals, objectives and policies. “While General Ferrell handles interactions as the Installation Commander and interfaces with most of the external organizations, I focus my attention on the day-to-day mission of the command.”
Under Ferrell, Team APG has been emphasized to help synergize APG’s mission areas, which include the Chemical/Biological, C4ISR, Public Health and Medical Research, Test and Evaluation communities and simplify the entry points for interested outside parties in the following six installation focus areas: STEM K-12 Outreach, Public Health, Veterans Affairs and Survivor Outreach, Professional Workforce Development, Systems of Systems Network Engineering, and Technician Para-professional Warfighter Development. Martin serves as the installation focus area lead for workforce development. “I coordinate and facilitate the installation’s activities [on workforce development], particularly as it relates to leadership development and bringing university programs on base.”
Martin is working with several educational institutions developing programs to ready the APG personnel for the future. “The ones that are the most active are Harford Community College, University of Delaware, Florida Institute of Technology, Central Michigan University and Towson University. I’ve worked with MHEC (Maryland Higher Education Commission) to bring seven specific programs to the region of which the Towson program is one – Morgan State University, UMBC, and University of Maryland College Park are all part of that consortium.”
Martin explains that in addition to recruiting new talent right from college, he is tasked with the continuous education of APG’s current employees. “I’m focused on bringing leadership courses, advanced degrees and technical courses that round out their current skill sets. We have classes on the installation, hybrid courses, some in our training center and some at the HEAT Center. We also have an online course from Naval Postgraduate School providing a systems engineering masters course that they teach right here on Post.”
Martin’s influence can be felt in other areas on Post through several programs he’s initiated since 2008. “Recognizing the anticipated loss or replacement of significant personnel due to BRAC, in particular leaders and senior managers, I initiated a leadership development course to enhance those skills in our current senior staff across the installation. Joe Wienand (Technical Director of ECBC) was a significant factor in shaping the content of the course and obtaining a team from OPM (Office of Personnel Management) to pull it together. The program is now in its fourth year with 50 participants, nearly double the number of the initial year. I also initiated a bi-monthly senior leader lunch to bring together the General Officers and Senior Executive Service members at APG. The intent was to create a venue where leaders from across the many organizations at APG could get to know each other and address issues that affected the entire installation. This effort continues today.”
While those entities associated with APG are the primary beneficiaries of Martin’s influence and leadership, the Harford and Cecil communities at large can be grateful for his role as a catalyst in the local STEM initiative. “I approached the NMTC (Northeastern Maryland Technology Council) to see if they would be willing to co-host a proposal to bring the various government, academia, and industry players together under the construct of a regional STEM Summit. What started as a vision of a meeting or two has developed into a strategy of expanding and enriching the STEM efforts across the region.”
While retirement is many years away, Martin shares that he would like his legacy to be as someone who lived the Army values and was a good steward of taxpayer dollars. “I hope I’ve left each job at least a little better than when I took over and will leave the Army having taken care of the people that worked for me.” I95