News: Navy Capt. Russell welcomed aboard as DCMA NE commander
Story by Nick D'Amario
LOUDWATER, U.K. - Defense Contract Management Agency International Northern Europe leadership transitioned from outgoing commander, Navy Capt. Mark Ohl, to incoming commander, Navy Capt. Joe Russell, during a Feb. 26 ceremony officiated by DCMA International acting commander Fred Kuhm.
During Ohl’s 43-month tenure, he commanded civilian and military personnel responsible for providing contract administration services - currently numbering more than 3,100 contracts valued in excess of $16 billion at 284 contractor facilities.
“DCMA NE is the agency’s largest business-based overseas command,” said Ohl. “My focus going in was to build upon the successes of this great organization and ensure it remained strong. I think we, the entire DCMA NE team, have done that.”
He further elaborated on the command’s successes while facing numerous challenges. “Not only did we maintain outstanding contract management over major defense acquisition programs, we did it while planning and executing a two-year long BRAC-style relocation of our command headquarters,” said Ohl. “Any such move would be the centerpiece of any tour.”
Ohl bestowed credit on the DCMA NE team. “I owe them an enormous debt of gratitude for their hard work and resilience during a particularly significant period in DCMA Northern Europe history,” said Ohl.
Kuhm praised the outgoing commander for having completed 34 years of dedicated service to the nation. For the past three and a half years Ohl has led the Northern Europe Contract Management Office, which spans 11 countries. “Ohl has truly had a superb command tour,” he said.
Over the past year Ohl initiated the planning and has managed the relocation of the command office from Loudwater to RAF Wyton, which is scheduled to be completed later this year.
“Bravo Zulu (job well done), Mark,” said Kuhm, himself a twenty-seven year Navy veteran. “As you close out your military career, we are fortunate to have another outstanding naval officer and contracting acquisition professional to take over the helm here in Northern Europe … Capt. Joe Russell, welcome aboard --big shoes to fill, but we know you are up to the task.”
Among the numerous presentations Kuhm made to Ohl were the Defense Superior Service Medal and two individually signed letters of appreciation for his Navy service by former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H. Bush -- both former naval officers. Following the ceremony, the DCMA NE staff presented Ohl with an antique 1887 cricket bat and a plaque that displayed the six commanders’ coins from of each of the DCMAI regions.
Since Russell’s commissioning as a naval officer in 1988, he has had numerous sea assignments and shore tours where he has held key positions in supply, contracting, acquisition and procurement management.
“It will truly be an honor to have the opportunity to lead the men and women of DCMA Northern Europe,” said Russell. “DCMA NE has met all challenges with dedication and determination and I'm confident this same dedication and determination will see us through the immediate challenges we will face over the next few months and I look forward to building on that success.”