EL PASO, Texas -

A new era began Thursday morning at Fort Bliss with the introduction of Major General Sean MacFarland.

General MacFarland is now at the helm of Fort Bliss after Major General Dana Pittard led the post since 2010.

General Pittard, an El Paso native, moves on to another assignment in Virginia.

General MacFarland is no stranger to Fort Bliss. He was stationed at Fort Bliss on three separate occasions since becoming a commissioned officer in 1981.

In 1990, he returned to post to work on research for the Strategic Defense Initiative.

That same year he earned his Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech.

Macfarland is credited with implementing a new U.S. military strategy in Iraq in 2006 that put a large measure of trust in local leaders.

In June of 2008 he assumed command of Joint Task Force North at Biggs Army Airfield.

It is the Pentagon's organization that assists local law enforcement with combating potential threats to the United States.

General MacFarland has another tie to El Paso. His wife Lynda, who he has been married to since 1984, is an El Paso native.

Before MacFarland took over Fort Bliss, outgoing General Pittard wrote a letter to the people of El Paso.

In the letter he expressed his gratitude to his hometown. He said he fulfilled a childhood dream serving as commander of the installation and community of his youth.

"Over the last few years, the Fort Bliss training area has been transformed into the best place to conduct home station training," wrote Pittard.

Pittard also credited some changes at Fort Bliss to his time at the post.

"We changed the culture surrounding seeking help for our soldiers in need of behavioral health assistance. We developed environmental responsibility and awareness while reducing our carbon footprint," wrote Pittard.

General Pittard added, "I feel blessed to be handing over command of Fort Bliss and the 1st Armored Division to Major General Sean MacFarland...I am confident that under his leadership, the best days for Fort Bliss, El Paso, and the 1st AD are yet to come."

On Friday, General MacFarland will hold his first news conference with local media.