Col. Thomas Rickard was appointed garrison commander of Fort Meade on Aug. 4. The Business Monthly will publish a full question and answer interview with him in an upcoming issue, but the following is an excerpt from an interview that appeared in the post’s publication, SoundOff!.

What is your command view regarding community relationships?

I want to remain open in our communication with our community partners. I’ve been introduced through a series of meetings to a lot of the key community partners and the different organizations that help support Fort Meade. I’m thoroughly impressed with their experience and vision. These are very experienced people, and they go out of their way to give volunteer hours to help support Fort Meade — and I want them to know that, as I’m learning my job, I absolutely want to keep open lines of communication.

The most important thing I believe is keeping open communications. A lot of problems arise when people just are not understanding one another, or understanding what the government’s priorities are or the community’s priorities. So the more we communicate, talk and understand what’s going on around us, I think we can defray smaller problems and tackle larger problems together.

What excites you about the garrison command at Fort Meade?

I’m looking forward to leading soldiers, service members and civilians again. I’ve been working staff jobs for the last couple of years, which is normal for people at my career juncture. It’s a great privilege to be around soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard personnel, and [Department of Defense] civilians, in a command position where I can help influence change and make things better.

What is the appeal of Fort Meade for a garrison commander?

I learned a lot about Fort Meade during the last tour I had with Special Operations Command while deployed to Afghanistan; I learned to appreciate more about what Fort Meade does than in previous assignments. And, it intrigued me because Fort Meade is really at the confluence of information, intelligence and cyberactivity — a true power projection platform.

So when I had the opportunity to command at Fort Meade, I was ecstatic. I thought this was an outstanding opportunity and a privilege for me to command here at the garrison.