Reserve IP Officers Meet for Annual Symposium
Story and photos by MC2 William Sykes
U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. TENTH Fleet Public Affairs
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, MD (NNS) – The Reserve Information Professional (IP) Officers held their annual symposium at Fort George G. Meade, MD, April 5-7, hosted by U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet (FCC/C10F).
The symposium enabled attendees from across the reserve IP community to increase their technical and warfighting knowledge through mentorship and training. They also had the opportunity to build connections throughout the IP community from interactions with active-duty and reserve senior-level leadership, subject matter experts, and peers.
“The purpose of the symposium is to increase our readiness, responsiveness, and relevance to the total force, in concert with the active duty component,” said CAPT Jeff Adams, IP Integration Lead for Commander, Naval Information Forces Reserve (COMNAVIFORES).
U.S. Navy leadership and subject matter experts spoke on a range of subjects including cyber fires and data driven risk management; resilient communications and experiences in the Pacific area of operation; IP community career overview; IP officer educational opportunities; and updates on various command activities.
During the first day, attendees had the opportunity to hear from two flag officers from the Information Warfare community, RDML Danelle Barrett, Navy Cyber Security Division director; and RDML William E. Chase III, deputy director, Command, Control, Communications, and Computers/Cyber, J6, Joint Staff.
Barrett discussed how best the Reserve Force can focus future efforts to enable rapid response when called upon.
“I need all of you to think creatively about your roles in the civilian community to determine where the Reserve Force can be the ‘pros from Dover’ and make the best use of the talent you have,” said Barrett. “We have IP reservists doing incredible work for Fortune 500 companies. You know how to do this in the civilian world - so, how do you bring these talents to help shape how we operate in the future?”
The pair also answered questions from attendees concerning the IP community, the larger Information Warfare community, and operational Navy challenges.
“The flag panel provided a fantastic opportunity for the reservists to ask the hard questions to some really amazing Navy IP leaders,” said Adams. “I was pleased with how the dialogue sparked innovative ideas to better forge and facilitate the use of reserve component capabilities needed by the total force.”
The reserve IP officers also took part in training in the form of war games. War games are a tool used to familiarize and integrate Navy and joint stakeholders from the component to task group levels of command, and to identify challenges associated with complex warfighting environments. Throughout the symposium, there was an emphasis on the importance and value of war games.
“We deliberately included war games as part of the symposium agenda,” said CDR Mark Menke, lead symposium coordinator. “Participants were briefed Friday on a scenario. Over Saturday and Sunday, CDR Neal Harper dedicated three hours to team exercises and a game outcome brief based upon facilitator training recently received from the Naval War College.”
While many of the discussions were about the technical aspects of the IP community, a significant amount of time was spent on mentorship.
“Many of our officers are “embedded” into units that may have only one or two IP billets,” Adams said. “Combined with the high degree to which we are geographically dispersed across the nation, it takes deliberate action to make sure our IP officers get sufficient interaction with others in the community. This forum is a great opportunity for people to share professional experiences, gain new mentors, collaborate about innovative ideas, and just connect to each other. That simple thing, in my mind, is a huge benefit of these symposiums.”
CAPT Barry Tanner, FCC/C10F Reserve Director and Assistant Chief of Staff for Networks and Information systems, who hosted the symposium, agreed.
“The Navy has benefitted from the unique blend of civilian and military skills within the Navy Reserve in the past but only in pockets when the right person happened to be in the right place,” he said. “Leveraging those special skill sets in a consistent and sustainable way requires knowing your people, taking care of them, and aligning the right Sailor with the right mission based on those critical skills. I think everyone can agree this event helped to highlight this need, synchronize our community, and set us up for success.”
This is the first year the annual Navy Reserve IP Officer Symposium was held at FCC/C10F. Past events have been held at the Office of Naval Intelligence, Space and Naval Warfare Command Systems Center Atlantic (now called Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic), Andrews Air Force Base and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.
FCC is responsible for Navy information network operations, offensive and defensive cyberspace operations, space operations and signals intelligence. C10F is the operational arm of FCC and executes its mission through a task force structure similar to other warfare commanders. In this role, C10F provides support of Navy and joint missions in cyber/networks, cryptologic/signals intelligence and space.