AFRL Munitions Directorate fuels ‘Engine to Accelerate’ with induction of new commander

  • Published
  • By Catherine Sprague

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFRL) — On June 28, 2024, the Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, welcomed its new commander, Col. Matthew Caspers, further fueling the Lab’s “Engine to Accelerate.”

Munitions Directorate, or RW, personnel bid farewell to Col. Woodrow “Tony” Meeks, who began his role as the directorate’s commander and director in the summer of 2021 and is now retiring after 30 years of service in the Air Force.

“As I reflect on my time in the Munitions Directorate, I am humbled to have joined such a strong organization with a multiple decades-long legacy of making the seemingly impossible possible,” Meeks said. “The accomplishments of the men and women of RW often go unheralded because of classification and real-world applications. I could not be prouder of what team RW has done, is doing, and will do. I am better for being a part of the Munitions Directorate family.”

During the ceremony, AFRL Commander Maj. Gen. Scott A. Cain officially inducted Caspers as the directorate’s new commander and director.

Caspers previously served as the deputy commander of the 412th Test Wing at Edwards Air Force Base, California. As the deputy commander, Caspers led a wing of nearly 8,000 personnel in the planning, execution and reporting of all flight and ground testing of aircraft, weapons systems, software and components, as well as modeling and simulation for the U.S. Air Force.

“Col. Casper’s education, prior experience and deep understanding of testing and acquisition will be invaluable as he takes the helm of the Munitions Directorate,” Cain said.

Several long-time Munitions Directorate personnel who attended the ceremony spoke about how Caspers’ background in acquisitions sets him apart as a unique new leader for the directorate. They said that by introducing new leadership with this particular professional experience, AFRL will be able to demonstrate its readiness to realign and reshape the directorate, along with the rest of the Department of the Air Force, and ultimately produce and move technologies to the warfighter better and faster.

During the ceremony, Gen. Cain expressed his confidence in Caspers’ ability to take leadership of the directorate.

“You’re the right leader to guide the Munitions Directorate through this era of technological competition and this ‘time of consequence,’” Cain said. “The work done here will directly contribute to our victory in the next fight. It’s that important ... it’s that consequential of a mission.”

Upon acceptance of his new leadership role, Caspers expressed his admiration for the men and women of the directorate, emphasizing his determination to synergize his expertise in acquisitions with the directorate’s science and technology expertise.

“Right now, my top priority is getting to know the organization and the people doing the amazing work here at RW,” Caspers said. “As a flight tester, I’m coming from the opposite end of the acquisition timeline. I’m excited to see how early science and technology seeds are cultivated to grow into maturing developmental systems that are proven in flight test, and ultimately fielded as war-winning capabilities.”

Caspers emphasized the role the directorate will play in the nation’s current and future warfighting challenges, the growing relevance of the directorate and his eagerness to be a part of the directorate’s accomplishments.

“We’re facing very real operational challenges in several theaters, but I think science and technology research, particularly weapons technologies, will play an outsized role in offsetting adversary advantages and deterring conflict,” Caspers said. “I’m very much looking forward to meeting the team and hearing their ideas about how we can cultivate the next generation of weapons technologies.”

About AFRL
The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 12,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit www.afresearchlab.com.