NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – Navy Capt. Christopher McDowell, the former deputy program manager for the Air Combat Electronics Program Office (PMA-209), assumed the role of program manager during a May 25 change of command ceremony at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.

As PMA-209’s program manager, McDowell will be responsible for the Navy’s development, integration and cradle-to-grave sustainment for common avionics solutions in safety, connectivity, mission computing and interoperability.

“The needs of our Fleet Marines and Sailors are as pressing as ever,” McDowell said in his opening remarks. “Their warfighting requirements and the capabilities they need to execute their tough and varied missions in support of our great Nation are never-ending, and they are absolutely challenging to meet. But … I can confidently say that the proactive acquisition professionals embodied by the Air Combat Electronics team continue to stand ready, to rise to any challenge, and it will be an honor and privilege to lead this team as we continue to push the bar that has been set for us, ever higher.”

McDowell, who has served as PMA-209’s deputy since June 2016, succeeds Candace Chesser, who transitions to acting director of the Logistics Management Integration Department (AIR-6.6).

A University of Florida graduate, McDowell also holds a Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. He previously served as a test naval flight officer and project officer with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20, and as the MQ-4C Integrated Product Team Lead for Persistent Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Office (PMA-262).

Guest speaker Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for Aviation, Headquarters, Marine Corps, passed his congratulations to both Chesser and McDowell on their new endeavors and thanked them for their support to the military service.

“I wanted to be down here today to see where the readiness engine starts and where it gets done here for the U.S. Marine Corps and the Naval Services,” Davis said. “First and foremost, thanks to all of you for what you do every single day to help generate readiness … to make sure that our Marines and Sailors can carry the day at sea and ashore in the battles that lie off our Nation’s bow.”

In her speech, Chesser also sent well wishes to McDowell and spoke of her time in the program office.

“It’s amazing; it’s been almost three years since I stood here and accepted the responsibility of program manager of PMA-209,” she said. “It’s been one of the most satisfying professional accomplishments of my career … and I’ve witnessed success beyond my imagination.”

Afterward, Chesser was presented with a Navy Superior Civilian Service Award by Gary Kurtz, NAVAIR assistant commander for Acquisition, for her work as PMA-209 program manager from June 2014 to May 2017.