On a very hot and humid day in early July with temperatures rising toward three digits, Colonel Frank Kelley assumed command of Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) from Brigadier General Michael Brogan.
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- “The first thing that I’d like you to do is think about the last four years we’ve had under General Brogan’s leadership,” Kelley said. “I am confident that it will be known as the Brogan era, with unprecedented growth in terms of personnel and budget authority, and saving the lives of our men and women in OIF and OEF [Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom].”
“This has been an incredibly rewarding tour,” Brogan said. “To look at the M-ATV [MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle] and know that nearly 27,000 other MRAP [Mine Resistant Ambush Protected] vehicles were produced, fielded into Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world – we have made a difference in the lives of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. And it wasn’t just MRAP. It was each piece of equipment produced by this Command that increased both the lethality and the survivability of the Marine Corps, provided command and control capability, or improved situational awareness. Thank you all.”
With a traditional ceremonial parade and passing of the Command Colors, salutes rendered and handshakes accepted, the Colonel and the Brigadier General switched places, signifying the change of command. Under new leadership MCSC’s mission to equip the warfighter to win will continue, and major revisions are not expected.
“For Marine Corps Systems Command, our mission is not going to change,” the new Commander said. “I don’t see a wholesale reorganization on the horizon.”
The Marine Corps has selected Kelley for the rank of Brigadier General, and a frocking ceremony is expected in late July or early August. Kelley, a native of Philadelphia, graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering. Upon graduation, the Marine Corps commissioned him as a Second Lieutenant, and he spent most of his early career flying and serving with Marine Corps air squadrons and air groups.
In addition to his other military assignments, Kelley attended the Marine Corps War College and taught at the Command and Staff College. He then transferred to MCSC where he served as the Program Manager for Unmanned Systems. The Colonel next served as Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition.
In August 2007 Kelley accepted the position as MCSC’s Program Manager for Training Systems in Orlando, Fla., followed by an assignment as MCSC’s Chief of Staff in August 2009. The new MCSC Commander would like his entire workforce to consider a few ideas.
“Our Commandant has asked us to cast an eye back out to sea so that we can embrace our naval heritage and our expeditionary role,” Kelley said. “I would also like you to consider two imperatives that have been revealed to us recently. The first of those is to squeeze maximum value out of every dollar we spend on behalf of the American taxpayer. The second is to develop and implement best practices.”
The Commander stressed that these tasks need be tackled deliberately, extensively and out in the open.
“We’re going to provide visibility to the people we work with,” the Colonel said. “I would ask you to keep the collaboration throughout this entire enterprise. Doing that is not going to be easy in an environment where we don’t really know what the future is.”
The future may be unclear, but the confidence level is high.
“General Brogan has told you that I have been working at MCSC for a while,” Kelley concluded. “I do know you, and you know me. I know that we will be up to any task or demand that our Corps has for us.”