Commander Robert Cadena is a native of Los Angeles, CA, and began his Navy career completing boot camp and follow-on schools in Orlando, FL; Ballston Spa, NY; and Groton, CT. His first tour was as a nuclear-trained Machinist Mate serving on board the USS BIRMINGHAM (SSN 695) home ported out of Pearl Harbor, HI.
In 1998, he graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles through the Enlisted Commissioning Program (ECP). After receiving his commission he then entered into the Navy flight-training program stationed in Pensacola, FL and Corpus Christi, TX.
Commander Cadena then served on board the USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70) out of Bremerton, WA. His duties were a Tactical Action Officer, Junior Officer of the Deck, Electronic Warfare (EW) officer and Operations Department OW Division officer.
He began his career in the Information Warfare Community when he was re-designated as a Cryptologist and was assigned to Naval Station Group Activity (NSGA), Fort Meade, MD. His assignments were to the National Security Operations Center, supporting offices, and the Officer Assignments Coordinator on the Navy Information Operations Command, Maryland (NIOC MD) staff.
Commander Cadena then reported to the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), Fort Bragg, NC. There he served as the J2 SIGINT Division Chief, Joint SIGINT Technical Expeditionary Troop Commander, and liaison officer to various Intelligence Community (IC) and Inter-agency (IA) headquarters.
His next assignment was to Naval Special Warfare Development Group, Virginia Beach, VA, as the Information Operations (IO) Troop Commander. His team of Cryptologists worked jointly on research and development (R&D) projects enhancing testing, tactics, and procedures (TTPs) on Cyber, Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), and EW capabilities partnering with other military service components, the IA/IC, and partnering nations.
Commander Cadena follow-on tour was to the COMUSNAVCENT/COMFIFTHFLT staff in Bahrain. He was the Kinetic Non-kinetic IO Fires Effects (KNIFE) Chief, Special Access Programs Coordinator, and Special Technical Operations Chief. KNIFE is a joint N2/N39 department with a team of Cyber, IO, EW, Intel Fires professionals, and coalition partners.
Most recently he served as the Executive Officer of NIOC MD in Fort Meade, MD.
Commander Cadena has a BA in Economics with minors in Math and Naval Science from UCLA, a BS in Nuclear Engineering Technology from Edison College, and a MA in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. His deployments include Western Pacific (WESTPAC) tours, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF), Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF), the Horn of Africa (HOA), and other contingency operations.