Dec 12, 2018

Chairman’s Report

Reflecting on NIP and world events this year, two items stand out.  First, early this year, Secretary Mattis published a new National Defense Strategy which has refocused our nation’s military forces and Intelligence Community once again on great power competition.  It’s a thoughtful and actionable strategy, and its dynamic force employment model has our Navy operating in ways and in places not seen since the Cold War ended. This new strategy, and the continued expansion of capabilities and “out of area” operations by our adversaries, have the attention and focus of Naval Intelligence. If you can see the digital map boards today, there are a lot of red “pucks” to track, much like the “old days.” You can also be sure, that the principles and tradecraft of OPINTEL are in demand, being practiced and are much appreciated by our Navy and Joint leadership.

The second key event this year is the passing of our Commander-in-Chief from the first Gulf War, our last President from the Greatest Generation who fought in WWII, President George Herbert Walker Bush.  No need to repeat all the accolades we’ve heard this past week, but the connection in my mind is that all the traits so wonderfully exhibited by President Bush - honor, courage, commitment and leadership - are the traits so important and critical to Naval Intelligence Professionals today and always.  

Our NIP family also lost a great leader and dedicated professional this past month when Melissa Drisko passed away.  Melissa served in uniform as a young Intelligence officer and a civilian at Navy Operational Intelligence Center (NOIC) in Suitland where she was a superb submarine analyst and married fellow NOIC analyst Phil Kosmacki.  Melissa later served as Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence and, most recently, was the Deputy Director of DIA.  Her memorial service overflowed with Naval Intelligence active and alumni personnel to hear from Melissa’s daughter, from fellow analyst and former senior Intelligence executive Earl Sheck and from the director of DIA, LTG Bob Ashley, US Army. It was a moving ceremony, with the Episcopal priest reminding us of the importance of relationships.  LTG Ashley spoke eloquently of Melissa’s great “heart” and her constant direction to “be smarter, do better and go faster.”  Wonderful words, and a wonderful life of service, to remember.

Your NIP Association continues to annually provide recognition for 16 categories of excellence to honor officer, enlisted, and civilian intelligence professionals. We awarded six $5,000 college scholarships to dependents of Naval Intelligence Professionals.  We also once again sponsored (through and with the US Naval Institute) the Naval intelligence Essay Contest and while the quantity of submissions was down, the quality was notably improved.  A consistent theme we saw across all inputs is the desire for better training and need to incorporate technologies to improve analysis.  Proceedings has already published one entry and NIP will post many of the other entries on our own web site.

Our fall Board meeting and luncheon again had more than 100 people attending. RADM Bob Sharp, Commander of ONI, gave us a great summary of the current actions by Naval Intelligence at our fall annual meeting and luncheon.  Naval Intelligence is doing great things for our national security!

New Board members elected at the October meeting include Bob Allen (CAPT, Ret), Bill Bray (CAPT, Ret), John Marshall (Senior Civ, Ret), Tom Nank (ISCM, Ret), Ori Scherr (ONI Senior Civ) and Lisa Townsend (LT).  Ori Scherr takes over from Cindy Sikes as our Secretary. Thank you Cindy as well as other outgoing board members Tony Brock, Ann Gilbride, Dave Mattingly and Rob Hoppa.

The new NIP board met on 1 Dec and we had a lively discussion on how to increase our membership and better support the NIP mission.  We committed to a small working group in January to refine our initiatives for 2019.  Please send in any ideas or desires you have for us to   

Bob Allen is now our events coordinator and he’s already set up 3rd Thursday NIP Social and networking events for 17 January and 21 Feb at Sonoma Cellar in Old Town Alexandria.  Speakers are TBD but we’ll get out details in early January.  Bob is also looking for other venues for later in the year. Also, for your 2019 calendars, our spring Red Tie luncheon will be Friday, 3 May at the Army Navy Country Club.

If you can’t remember the last time you paid your annual dues, now is a good time to visit to sign up again or to just make a donation. It’s tax deductible and we will immediately provide you an invoice suitable for your 2018 tax records. Your memberships, contributions and support are needed and appreciated.  Thanks for your support of your Naval Intelligence Professionals!

Happy Holidays to all and Best Wishes for Upcoming Year!

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