Vice Adm. Kelly Aeschbach, commander, Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR) hosted the Commanders’ Summit in Suffolk, Va., Nov. 30 through Dec. 2. More than 160 civilians, officers and enlisted leaders representing command triads from more than 50 information warfare (IW) commands worldwide gathered to exchange ideas, voice concerns, and chart the way forward for NAVIFOR and the community.
The theme for the three-day summit, “Information Warfare – Delivering Decision Advantage: “Our People Are our Platform,” stressed the importance of trained, professional information warfighters in winning across all warfare areas.
In line with this theme, Aeschbach stressed the demand for IW professionals during her opening remarks.
“We are in demand everywhere; this is an incredibly exciting time to be part of the information warfare community. We have a lot to be proud of in terms of what we’ve accomplished,” said Aeschbach. “But competition is pacing or outpacing us, and the sense of urgency is high. We need to maintain our sense of urgency. But we also must maintain our optimism, because we have world class talent – no one in our Navy can meet their mission without us. ”
During the summit, IW leaders discussed several key IW enterprise priorities, including the Navy’s Get Real Get Better movement; IW readiness; medical and mental health updates; diversity, equity and inclusion; and civilian manning in the IW community.
Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, addressed the summit as the keynote speaker.
“When I look at NAVIFOR, and think about what makes this command unique, it’s not just the number of commands, or the eclectic designator mix that makes up the TYCOM, or that twenty-five percent of your domain is composed of civilians,” said Caudle. “When I think of your mission set [of assured command and control, battlespace awareness, integrated fires and decision advantage], I can think of few missions as important and that will ensure our warfighters win in conflict.”
Ms. Elizabeth Nashold, deputy commander, Naval Information Forces opened day two with a discussion on TYCOM updates and priorities, to include civilian manning, future outlook of TYCOM responsibilities, budget and requirements.
“The demand for IW has grown in every aspect of warfighting,” said Nashold. “We have to be able to keep up with the current demand and future outlook, continually taking a hard look at how we’re investing in our requirements to meet these responsibilities and outpace our competition.”
Ms. Tami North, director of NAVIFOR’s Information Warfare Readiness Directorate, (IWRD) also provided an update on the 2022 realignment of NAVIFOR’s former N3 and NAVIFOR West elements to form the IWRD, with a focus on three major focus areas: Fleet unit readiness, ashore readiness, and afloat readiness.
Live Virtual Constructive Training (LVC), Ready Relevant Learning (RRL), Cyber Mission Force and IW training committee was also part of the day two discussions.
“RRL will change the “when,” “how,” and “what” of Navy training to support continual Sailor development,” emphasized Assistant Chief of Staff for Education & Training Capt. Chris Gabriel, “We need to improve individual performance, and enhance mission readiness. We need the feedback from the leaders and Sailors in the Fleet.”
NAVIFOR’s Force Master Chief Laura Nunley also held a breakout discussion with command master chiefs and senior enlisted leaders that discussed senior enlisted talent management, Sailors’ concerns regarding professional development, and how she is looking to the Chiefs’ Mess to mentor and implement the GRGB rollout to the IW community.
The final day of the summit include updates from Naval Safety Command; medical and mental health updates; diversity, equity and inclusion; public affairs, The IW Naval Junior Officer Counsel, and a mentoring panel.
In her closing remarks, Aeschbach encouraged all leaders to connect with NAVIFOR for assistance to more rapidly effect change when needed.
“We are committed to the TYCOM being the force enabler for you, especially when it comes to removing barriers to make your jobs easier,” said Aeschbach. “We get the credit for what we do because you are doing great things in the Fleet.”
NAVIFOR’s mission is to generate, directly and through our leadership of the IW Enterprise, agile and technically superior manned, trained, equipped, and certified combat-ready IW forces to ensure our Navy will decisively DETER, COMPETE, and WIN.
For more information on NAVIFOR, visit the command Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NavalInformationForces/ or the public web page at https://www.navifor.usff.navy.mil.
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