Mar 30, 2018

Chairman’s Update

NIP is off to another great start in 2018!  In addition to our San Diego and Capital chapters, we now have NIP mates getting together in Bahrain, Tidewater, New York, Omaha and Hawaii.  It’s always great to get together to share our sea stories and lessons in Leadership. We have had some terrific Leadership discussions already this year at our 3rd Thursday events at Sonoma Cellar in Old Town Alexandria.  In February, RADM Heimbigner provided a timely perspective on the demands for global ISR and described how so many young Naval Intelligence professionals are playing key roles leading ISR operations.  Our March event featured the Director of Intelligence for DIA and retired Naval Intelligence Officer Neil Wiley. His topic for the evening?  It wasn’t about global threats, science and technology or intelligence production.  Neil’s superb and passionate talk to the gathering was on ethics and integrity. It was a terrific reminder of the importance and value of being an intelligence professional and serving in such a challenging and demanding business.  We don’t have a recording of Neil’s comments; but if you want to get a sense of his feelings on the subject, just look at his testimony before Congress which you can find by searching on line for “Defense Intelligence officials testify on ISIS, Feb 2017”.  Neil’s perspective on the importance of tradecraft and standards for intelligence is a good listen.

This month is the anniversary of the founding of Naval Intelligence, and we are celebrating 136 years since LT Theodorus Mason convinced the Secretary of the Navy to establish the Office of Naval Intelligence.  While much has changed in our world in nearly a century and a half, the challenge of stealing secrets and supporting decision makers with timely, relevant and predictive intelligence remains the same.  Despite the incredible advances in technology, it is still people who drive success in Naval Intelligence.  At the ONI birthday celebration, RADM Bob Sharp put the focus on people with an all hands to hand out annual awards for excellence in analysis, support and overall leadership.  He did a masterful job in highlighting the accomplishments of each awardee and reminded us all that “Naval Intelligence is for life” and that just like the Eagle’s famous song says, “you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.”  
In addition to our annual NIP scholarships (this year’s deadline is 15 April), your NIP membership dues provide the funding for the cash awards, plaques and food at the annual ONI birthday event, and we are always provided a place on the agenda.  During my remarks, I reinforced RADM Sharp’s comments, noting that NIP provides the means for NIP shipmates to stay connected and to continue to contribute the knowledge, experience and integrity that are the foundation for all we do.  Also, during the ONI ceremony, I was able to surprise George Fedoroff with the announcement that he is our 2018 winner of the NIP Red Tie Award!  We will formally recognize George for his more than 47 years of service to Naval Intelligence on Friday, 13 April, at our Spring Luncheon at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington.

Our guest speaker for this year’s Spring Luncheon is Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, the Honorable Joe Kernan (VADM, Ret).  Don’t miss VADM Kernan’s comments on Defense and Naval Intelligence or the chance to recognize George Fedoroff and connect with your Naval Intelligence shipmates.  It’s going to be a great event!  Sign up now at or contact us at  

And if you did not see the news on our website, Matt Kohler has been confirmed for his 3rd star and will assume duty as the Deputy CNO for Information Warfare and the Director of Naval Intelligence in June.  VADM Kohler is being relieved by RADM Brian Brown, a career METOC officer now at OPNAV who has been nominated for VADM. RADM T.J. White will pin on his 3rd star and becomes the 3rd Cryptologic Warfare officer to serve as Commander, 10th Fleet.  RDML Curt Copley has been nominated for his 2nd star and will be departing USSTRATCOM as the first Navy J2 for US Forces Afghanistan. RDML Kelly Aeschbach completed her tour as the DJ2 for USFOR-A and is en route Omaha to serve as STRATCOM J2.  RADM Steve Parode will move from NSA to take over OPNAV N2/N6F Requirements Integration.  Captain Mike Brookes (no relation to RADM Brooks) is the Intelligence flag pick this year.  RDML (sel) Brookes is currently serving at sea as an Information Warfare Commander aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) which just this month made the first carrier visit to Vietnam since the Vietnam war (always great to hear about your promotion when you are deployed!). Captain Heidi Berg is the Cryptologic Warfare Officer selection for flag, and she is serving on the OPNAV staff.  Captain Eileen Laubacher is the reserve Intelligence flag pick.  Also, of note, RADM Brett Heimbigner is retiring this spring from his current position leading Global ISR management for the Joint Staff.  RDML Trey Whitworth will depart his post as USAFRICOM J2 this spring/summer for duty at NSA.

On March 19th, we held the first of an annual Project 2032 working group meeting at ONI.  Our focus was to discuss the collective resources, capabilities and roles for NIP, ONI and Navy History and Heritage Command to apply to our effort on Naval Intelligence History.  RADM Bob Sharp and RADM (ret) Sam Cox (Director, Navy History and Heritage Command) are both strongly supportive of this initiative, and we agreed to hold a full day working group later this spring to more completely develop the scope of the work, resources and needs for this effort.  NIP’s key role is providing knowledgeable, experienced volunteers to collect material, conduct and summarize oral interviews, write and edit histories and support the administrative needs of this effort over the next 14 years.  We are focusing on publishing short, topical pieces as we progress through the project.  More on this topic and where your help is needed after our spring meeting.

Our Navy Information Warfare Day classified Industry conference with N2/N6 and jointly sponsored with AFCEA will be held on 10 May.  You can sign up for this event on the AFCEA web site.

The NIP and USNI Intelligence Essay Contest will be advertised in the next several months Proceedings magazine.  This contest, open to all, invites authors to explore priority investment, initia¬tive and innovation for Naval Intelligence to pursue in order to best contribute to achieving National Defense Strategy objectives.  First prize is a $5,000 cash award with 2nd and 3rd prizes also getting cash awards, and selected essays will be printed in Proceedings.  Deadline for submission is 31 July.

Our next Board of Directors meeting will be on Saturday, 23 June.  Our fall annual meeting this year will be on Friday, 26 October at Army Navy Country Club.
NIP and this community need your support just as much as the Navy and the Nation need great Intelligence.  We appreciate the support from everyone and most especially your efforts to reach out and introduce others to NIP.  Naval Intelligence is for Life!


Tony L. Cothron
Rear Admiral, USN, Retired
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Naval Intelligence Professionals