Col. Rosendo “Ross” Guieb said retiring from a three-decade career in the Army to become the first executive director of the George H.W. Bush Combat Development Complex is a sensible career transition for him.
Guieb, 51, took on the new role managing the Army research facility at the beginning of the month, leaving behind a top position with Army Futures Command. He reports to M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor of engineering and national laboratories for the Texas A&M University System.
The $200 million Bush Combat Development Complex, which officials broke ground on last year at Texas A&M’s RELLIS campus, will be a space for testing Army technology and will be part of the school’s partnership with Army Futures Command.
“I think it’s a logical next step,” he said. “I think it’s like-minded people with like-minded goals for a greater purpose, a greater end state. That’s a team, we’re just wearing a different uniform. We’re wearing the Aggie uniforms and not U.S. Army.”
The complex is designed to support the Army’s efforts to speed up its procurement process, an A&M system press release states, and accelerate it to be more like the technology advances seen in the private sector.
The facility will host the country’s largest enclosed-tube testing facility for hypersonic and laser technology, the release says. There will be laboratories and outdoor testing areas for air and land vehicles. The Texas A&M Corps of Cadets will work alongside soldiers from Fort Hood to assist with prototype testing.
While the complex is under construction, Guieb said he will focus on building the organization. He said he’s looking for partners within different parts of the Department of Defense, even outside of the Army, and potential partners in the industry.
During his third tour at the Pentagon between 2016 and 2018, Guieb became a critical part of the team that created Army Futures Command, which was developed to modernize the Army. Guieb said it is the largest restructuring of the Army since 1973. He was the executive officer and chief of staff for the Army Futures Command task force, and most recently he served as executive officer to Army Futures Command’s first commanding general before retiring to enter his new position with the A&M System.
He said Army Futures Command will be most successful if it deterred war, but helped to fight and win overwhelmingly when necessary.
Prior to his contributions to Army Futures Command, Guieb led troops in noncombat missions in Honduras, Panama and Haiti in the 1990s. He went on to be an exchange officer in Great Britain, where one of his duties was to plan and execute public military events to include the royal family. Around the same time in the early 2000s, he served in a noncombat mission in Bosnia.
From 2004 to 2006, he served two combat tours in Iraq, and a few years later he went on a combat tour to Afghanistan.
In 2014, Guieb commanded the Army’s largest military police brigade spread across four states and five installations, with a headquarters in Fort Hood. It included 4,400 soldiers and 300 civilians.
His first tour to the Pentagon was from 2006 to 2009, followed by a second from 2013 to 2014, and his last from 2016 to 2018, during which time he was on the Army Futures Command task force.
The path to a career of military service was marked with the footsteps of his relatives, with uncles in the Marine Corps and the Air Force and cousins in all services.
Both of his grandfathers, who were native to the Philippines, were part of guerrilla forces supporting the U.S. during World War II. His paternal grandfather was a Bataan Death March survivor. Guieb helped get legislation passed that allowed for his grandfathers, and other Filipino soldiers who supported the Americans during World War II, to be awarded with Congressional Gold Medals of Honor in 2016.
Guieb recalls hearing his grandfather speak about the war and how it played a major role in the family moving to the United States. Guieb said that knowing the opportunities the military brought to his family helped in his decision to pursue a career in the Army.
“I think that serving a greater purpose, being on a team of teams — that was very appealing to me,” he said. “I grew up playing sports, so I’m not a stranger to teams. I felt like that was a natural progression for me.”
While Guieb initially planned to serve four years and then move on to law school, he said the mission of service in the military and the people he met along the way inspired him to stay in the field.
“There are other reasons that drew me into the Army, but it was the people who kept me in,” Guieb said. “There is no better camaraderie, in my opinion, than serving in the military.”
Guieb’s parents were Filipino immigrants who met in the 1960s. His mother was a biochemist and his father worked in production for Anheuser Busch. Guieb was born in San Francisco and went on to major in international relations and political science at the University of California-Santa Barbara.
Guieb and his wife Kathleen, who is an elementary school teacher, raised three sons, two of whom plan to continue the tradition of military service. Dylan and Ryan are sophomores in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M. Their oldest son, Collin, works in technology.
Transitioning to College Station is the family’s 23rd move. Guieb said the constant change can be stressful, but he credits Kathleen being understanding of the military lifestyle and their children’s resilience as keys to managing the challenges.
The leadership and organization-building experience Guieb acquired throughout his 29-year Army career will be helpful in his new role at A&M, he said. To him, being the complex’s executive director is all about achieving the goals for the space set forth by Banks and System Chancellor John Sharp.
“That is where I really see my role,” Guieb said, “is making that vision of what BCDC could be a reality.”
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