Vice Adm. Brian B. Brown, commander, Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR), visited Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Monterey to meet and interact with staff and students, Jan. 17.
Brown expressed the need to maintain a connection with Sailors across the information warfare community as it moves forward with major strategic shifts. During the visit, Brown also presented awards to staff and administered the oath of enlistment to three reenlisting first class petty officers.
“It was a proud moment to be reenlisted by a three-star admiral in front of the entire command,” said Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 1st Class Joel Kelly, an instructor and division leading petty officer at IWTC Monterey.
Brown followed the ceremony with opening remarks and an all-hands call, primarily aimed at the student population. Brown’s remarks centered on the strategic view of the Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Michael Gilday.
“He [Gilday] spent the first 40 days of his term on the road visiting Sailors out at sea and all over the globe,” shared Brown. “He was getting down at the deckplate level to understand what the real issues are for you and what we need going forward. The result of that is the Fragmentary Order (FRAGO) 01/2019: A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority.”
FRAGO 01/2019 is built on the framework of an earlier version from former CNO, retired Adm. John Richardson. It provides a simplified vision which maintains its focus on warfighting, warfighters, and the future Navy. Brown emphasized what this guidance means regarding the roles of the future information warfare professionals in attendance.
“Information warfare capabilities are shaping the battlespace,” said Brown. “You are no longer the people hidden away in back rooms, working out of sight. The whole information warfare community, particularly cryptologic technicians (interpretive), are becoming more connected to the fight. What we need from you is to keep being lifelong learners, be vigilant, take everything you learn here to your shipmates in the fleet.”
Brown then opened the floor to questions. This is Brown’s second visit to the IWTC Monterey and the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in as many years, the first occurring in February of 2019. Last year’s visit appeared to have left an impression.
“I’ve done a lot of all-hands calls since I was here last,” said Brown. “Yours was the most challenging for me because you all ask really hard questions. I’m looking forward to what you have today!”
The students did not disappoint. They asked tough questions, drawing the full benefit of the opportunity to directly interact with the commander of NAVIFOR.
“How do you view the effects of environmental changes on strategic operations?” asked one young Sailor.
“I’ve been watching the effects of climate change for the last 40 years and a lot of things are on the table,” Brown began. “Climate usually has an indirect effect on conflict, but almost every one of the conflicts we see across the globe, we can trace back to some kind of change in the environment. You see stressors on populations that create conflict or exacerbate existing conflicts; fighting over water or other resources for example. It’s one of those things where it’s hard to predict where the hot spots might be. It is causing stressors for all the major powers, and from a national security perspective, we need to be able to put these pieces together in a more predictive way.”
Brown continued fielding questions for nearly an hour. Students inquired about topics ranging from the expansion of opportunities in the field of cyber operations to how the Navy will interact with the newly created Space Force.
Brown later held a separate khaki call with IWTC Monterey chiefs and officers to discuss strategic issues within the cryptologic technician (interpretive) community and overall Sailorization efforts. He enjoyed the honest and candid feedback among a myriad of issues and praised the Chief’s Mess for identifying creative solutions to overcome Sailor readiness issues.
“It’s always great to have senior information warfare community leaders visit the command to frame language learning in relation to the challenges our Navy faces today and tomorrow,” said Capt. Michael Salehi, commanding officer of IWTC Monterey. “Vice Adm. Brown’s message to our command was one that was solidly grounded in the criticality of Sailor readiness, and how that is directly harnessed to achieve our national security goals in the joint and maritime domain. His vision was inspiring, and stretched the intellect of our students and staff to think more broadly and contextually of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”
NAVIFOR oversees the manning, training, equipping and modernization for Naval Information Forces units across the Navy. Training for the Navy’s linguist community, who begin their careers at IWTC Monterey, falls under the purview of Brown.
IWTC Monterey, as part of the Center for Information Warfare Training, provides a continuum of foreign language training to Navy personnel, which prepares them to conduct information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations.
With four schoolhouse commands, two detachments, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan, CIWT is recognized as Naval Education and Training Command’s top learning center for the past three years. Training more than 20,000 students every year, CIWT delivers trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. CIWT also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians and officers in the information warfare community.