By Dawn M. Stankus, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Public Affairs.
Rear Adm. Christian "Boris" Becker relieved Rear Adm. David Lewis as commander, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in a change of command ceremony at the Naval Base Point Loma Old Town Complex, March 30.
During the opening ceremony, SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific color guard presented the colors and Navy Band Southwest performed the National Anthem and ceremonial music.
The ceremony marked an end to Lewis' two and a half years as commander of over 10,000 SPAWAR military and civilian employees worldwide.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced Tuesday that the president nominated Lewis for appointment to the rank of vice admiral, and for assignment as director, Defense Contract Management Agency, Fort Lee, Virginia.
"It seems like only yesterday that I assumed command in August 2014," said Lewis. "On that occasion, a mere 31 months ago, I offered three elements as my commander's intent to set our initial course: 'A promise is a commitment, we deliver on our commitments'; 'Cyber is a warfighting issue and requires all hands on deck'; and 'There is opportunity in adversity, take it.'"
Adm. Scott Swift, U.S. Pacific Fleet, served as the ceremony's presiding officer and guest speaker. He commented on Lewis' key role within the information warfare domain and innovative initiatives to best serve the warfighter.
"Dave has kept his team focused on the mission: getting hardware, training and better capabilities to warfighters," said Swift. "The results are impressive. Making the most of limited financial resources, his SPAWAR team has accomplished over ten thousand installations on ships, submarines and shore sites."
Swift went on to explain Lewis as a champion of innovation, particularly in regards to patents, research and development.
"[As] a champion of innovation … He knew that we cannot continue to tell the Fleet what it needs only to deliver it decades later. He has ensured innovation is not a cell or an internal organization," emphasized Swift. "Under David's leadership, SPAWAR has had 250 patent disclosures, 85 patent applications, and 111 issued patents. These are not minor achievements [but rather] award-winning work in such areas as radar identification, geolocation and new communication paths … that are already improving naval operations. This work continues in unmanned vehicles, satellite systems and cybersecurity."
Swift expressed that Lewis leaves behind an impressive legacy at SPAWAR and has confidence that Becker will continue the strong tradition.
"Information technologies are the central nervous systems of our ships, aircraft and weapons – it's also true of our people," said Swift. "Boris, I am excited for the Navy, Pacific Fleet and SPAWAR with you at the helm. Great challenges demand great leadership skills. You are perfect for the job!"
Swift awarded Lewis the Distinguished Service Medal on behalf of the president reflecting Lewis' immense accomplishments throughout his tenure. The award citation highlighted Lewis' precise planning and integration of installations, including 42 Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) and more than 1,200 other Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) systems. Lewis' drive for modernization also delivered new technologies for the warfighter as demonstrated by the successful launch of three Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellites and the establishment of the Navy's first cloud access point to commercial providers.
Prior to Becker's assumption of command, Lewis thanked the SPAWAR workforce for their resilience and dedication to mission under his leadership.
"I confess it is difficult for me to leave our SPAWAR team," said Lewis. "It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be part of this remarkable team and to see our wonderful work that goes on every day across the SPAWAR enterprise. I will miss all of this, and you, but I am also confident the command will be in very good hands, because they are your hands."
Becker assumed command of SPAWAR following his most recent assignment as the commander of both Program Executive Office C4I and Program Executive Office Space Systems.
Becker expressed his gratitude for the ceremony participants, coordinators and attendees, as well as Lewis for leading and guiding the SPAWAR team to greatness.
As an avid baseball fan, Becker used a baseball analogy to explain the importance of SPAWAR and the role each uniformed and civilian employee plays in the command's mission accomplishment.
"For those of you who do not know, Monday is opening day for the 2017 Major League Baseball season," said Becker. "Come Monday [baseball records] do not matter much ... players have to go out and face every game, work hard and compete to win. It's not one game, it's 162 games. Each one matters because the goal, the only goal, is to win. In the Navy we are also in it for the long haul, but it's much more serious. We can't afford to be off our game for even a single day because the stakes of our nation are too high."
Becker continued to emphasize the importance of warfighting readiness and how SPAWAR possesses the necessary momentum of innovation for the future.
"We know the Navy is a team of hundreds of thousands of dedicated Americans, uniformed and civilian, moving with a single purpose to help our Navy compete and win every day," said Becker. "Our SPAWAR team is a critical part of that. We have built a solid strategic plan to keep SPAWAR on course to best support the Navy mission. Now our charge is to carry out that plan and make sure our Navy can compete and win. Every one of you has a position to play and a job to do. You are the technical experts and the thought leaders in information sciences ... you install and sustain the modern capabilities our Fleet and our Sailors need to operate at their peak of warfighting readiness ... I look forward with pride to serving with each and every one of you."
Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) is the Navy acquisition command which develops, delivers, and sustains advanced information warfare capabilities for warfighters. SPAWAR, along with its system centers, space field activity, and its partnership with three program executive offices provides the hardware and software needed to execute Navy missions. With over 10,000 active-duty military and civilian professionals located around the world and close to the fleet, SPAWAR is at the forefront of research, engineering, and acquisition, keeping forces connected around the globe.