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Commander, Naval Information Forces.
A New Chapter Begins at Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command
by Rebecca Siders, Outreach/PAO, NCDOC
11 August 2021
SUFFOLK, Va --
Hicks most recently served as the Deputy Executive Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations and took command of NCDOC from Cole, who will assume duties as the Director of Fleet Operations at Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR).
Rear Adm. Gene Price, Vice Commander, Naval Information Forces, was the ceremony's guest speaker and presiding officer. Price welcomed the guests, NAVIFOR leadership, family and friends, and commented on Cole’s exceptional leadership and accomplishments while in command.
“You do things right. You think clearly. You challenge assumptions, and you are always willing to listen. The team you and Capt. Jody Grady forged here between NCDOC and NETWARCOM was unparalleled. This kind of close partnership is something all Flag Officers talk about as the ‘key to success.’ What you two leaders did with your commands that made you co-reliant on each other truly enabled you to achieve some great mission successes over the last two years. It’s a testament of your exceptional leadership.”
Price presented Cole with the Legion of Merit Award and recognized him for the exceptional operational outcomes he delivered while in command
Cole recognized the Information Warfare Community leadership and thanked his family and friends, and the Sailors and civilians of NCDOC.
“To the government civilians, you are truly professionals, and I am honored to have served alongside each of you. Keep driving the mission while passing along your knowledge to the Sailors who come and go. To our Sailors – the backbone of our Navy – I could not have asked for a brighter, more energetic crew! You are what made this job so enjoyable and the reason I am so optimistic about our Navy’s future. Your curiosity, drive and initiative will continue to keep NCDOC and the Navy at the forefront of defending the nation’s networks. Thank you for all you do!”
Cole also provided some brief operational highlights, “Although I outdid my two immediate predecessors, in that I did not incur a name operation within the first month in command, we did plenty to keep us busy over the past two years, building ever stronger integration across our operations and intelligence teams, deploying Sailors shipboard on every strike group globally, executing adversary threat emulation through our Navy Red Team, and still finding time for multiple named operations, directing defensive cyber operations remotely from Suffolk, and locally through cyber protection teams and mission elements from NCDOC across the globe.”
Cole continued, “We did this while overhauling our mission systems, growing our internal networks, executing a major mission re-certification event in our cyber security service provider inspection, and earning approvals to operate through the Risk Management Framework process on multiple networks simultaneously… and, we did all this while dealing with the COVID pandemic. Today, we have more capability to sense, operate and defend across Navy networks globally, both ashore and afloat,
of COVID. I am so glad I was in this position during this time, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
After Cole’s remarks, Hicks was joined on stage by her father, Jeff Watson, Chief Operations Specialist (Retired), for the command insignia presentation and pinning.
Hicks then addressed the Sailors and civilians of NCDOC.
“To the men and women of NCDOC, thank you for welcoming me into the fold. It is clear to me already that this is a very special high performing team of bright, talented, dedicated, innovative, and imaginative professionals. Chief of Naval Operations Anderson once said, ‘
The Navy has both a tradition and a future – and we look with pride and confidence in both directions
.’ So, too, we look back with awe and pride in all that you have accomplished in the last few years and look forward with absolute trust and confidence in what you will accomplish in the years to come. I am honored and excited to be a part of this team and look forward to both serving with you and being in your service.”
Hicks is the ninth commanding officer selected to command NCDOC, and the third female commanding officer to command NCDOC since it began in 2006. Previous female commanding officers include Capt. Stephanie Keck (2009-2011) and Capt. Julia Slattery (2017-2019).
NCDOC is the Navy’s Cyber Security Service Provider (CSSP), whose mission is to execute defensive cyberspace operations and enable global power projection through proactive network defense. NCDOC reports operationally to U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet as Commander, Task Force 1020. U.S. 10th Fleet is the operational arm of Fleet Cyber Command and executes its mission through a task force structure similar to other warfare commanders. In this role, C10F provides operational direction through its Maritime Operations Center located at Fort George Meade Md., executing command and control over assigned forces in support of Navy or joint missions in cyber/networks, electronic warfare, cryptologic / signals intelligence and space.
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