Major General Bruce T. Crawford
Major General Bruce T. Crawford assumed senior mission commander and commanding general of CECOM (U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command) in May. His appointment comes at a time of great change in the Army’s active engagement worldwide, assuming the effects of sequestration and budget reductions to Department of Defense funding, and real time changes in the methods of warfare. CECOM is at the center of the post-war transition, responsible for maintaining the Army’s C4ISR weapon systems readiness, developing logistics and supporting the warfighter, even as the U.S. Army reduces uniforms system-wide while escalating a military presence in the Middle East.
MG Crawford’s integration into CECOM and the Aberdeen community has been at a ferocious level. His command assignments during the last 28 years have moved him all over the world. He has served in leadership positions at tactical, operational and strategic levels. He is protective of his charges and proactive in his interest to diversify and magnify the importance of the work at CECOM on APG. He has big ideas about how to leverage APG and its resources, and big challenges that he believes can be levered into positive outcomes. He believes that there is an incredible story to tell.
Take for instance the demographics of APG. MG Crawford says, “The intellectual capital of the 22,000 employees here is focused on science and technology, with over 3,000 Ph.D.s and engineers. We have as many engineers here as many small cities. And, the balance is a highly technical workforce. Imagine if you leverage this in the community, and invite businesses to become industry partners. We have an opportunity to involve companies who want to test technologies that bridge the old and the new. We have both old and new technologies right here and are the perfect lab for that type of research.”
MG Crawford is looking for industry partners to engage in what he is calling The Open Campus Initiative, which would allow public and private companies and regional universities access to the intellectual property on APG. This would require making changes to a more collaborative environment, while continuing to manage secure entry at the post’s gates. The goal is to make it easier to collaborate on research and development for positive outcomes and business partnerships.
“As a result of my former role as director of the C4/Cyber European Command, I would say an area of growth and investment for the next three, five or 10 years, is anything cyber,” says MG Crawford. “We live in a world where we have to be connected, so anything to do with building infrastructure, protecting and defending our networks, is an opportunity for collaboration.”
Building and developing small business is also a priority for MG Crawford. He has added Alice M. Williams to his team. She is a nationally recognized authority for successfully building small business engagement in her role as Chief Associate Director for CECOM Office of Small Business Programs. MG Crawford has tasked her to develop a Small Business Leader Development and Mentoring Seminar scheduled for Nov. 18. “We need to help small business overcome barriers to entry. This seminar will include legal, small business development, education and training with a goal of building employment opportunities locally,” says MG Crawford. Williams added that the goal is to balance the awarding of contracts to both large and small businesses. “While we are reaching our socio economic diversity goals for the state of Maryland, we want to be a partner and provide small businesses what they need to become a part of APG,” she says.
One of the challenges is the transition to an expeditionary Army, says MG Crawford. “For the last 10 years, what we’ve been used to is to drop into an infrastructure and go from there. Now, we must transition to force that will deploy to an austere environment, one that will start from nothing, with no infrastructure, and build it and be capable of operating from there. And, we must do it with a smaller Army. We have to relearn some old lessons, but no one does this better.” Additionally, CECOM will need to respond and provide training and maintenance at posts, camps and stations where the forces deploy. This new, smaller Army will also will guide the mission for CECOM. Readiness is at the core and decisions must be made regarding equipment, communications and electronics repair. One of the goals of headquarters is to train soldiers to be able to maintain their own C4ISR is equipment. However, first there are critical questions regarding what will be kept, how to train on it, stay proficient and maintain it.
MG Crawford’s commitment to leadership and professionalism includes a program to reaffirm Army values, which he launched in 2011 while a Colonel, and commander of the 5th Signal Command in Wiesbaden, Germany. “It’s critical that civilian, enlisted and officers think about the oath they took and the frame of mind they were in when they took it,” he says. “The Army is the most trusted profession in the world. Problems occur when there is a failure of discipline,” he says, “and we believe the values in the oath are the foundation of what we do.” MG Crawford plans to hold the program, Operation Solemn Promise, on APG this November “to remind us all of why we serve.” This will segue into another hot button for the MG, sexual harassment or SHARP, a program that promotes awareness, increases prevention and improves the ability to respond to sexual harassment and assault through training, dialogue, events and assessments. “We have a no tolerance policy for sexual harassment,” he says. I95