Among her varied assignments, Rear Adm. Gretchen S. Herbert, has been commanding officer of Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Washington; branch head, Naval Networks for OPNAV N6; and assistant chief of Naval Operations for the Next Generation Enterprise Network. She also served as director of the Communications, Networks and Chief Information Officer (CIO) Division on the staff of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance.
Fleet assignments include combat systems officer embarked in USS George Washington (CVN 73), where she deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom; and assistant chief of staff for Communications and Information Systems (N6) to commander, Carrier Strike Group 7 embarked in USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), where she deployed to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf with the Ronald Reagan Strike Group.
In June, 2011, Herbert assumed command of Navy Cyber Forces at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia Beach, Va.
Navy Cyber Forces (CYBERFOR), as delegated by Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces, is the global C5I type commander responsible to man, train and equip all C5I forces afloat and ashore to generate required levels of current and future cyber force readiness. With a headquarters staff of nearly 600 located at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, CYBERFOR provides ready forces and equipment in cryptology/signals intelligence, cyber, electronic warfare, information operations, intelligence, networks and space.
Rear Adm. Herbert responded to CHIPS questions about CYBERFOR's mission in writing in September.
CHIPS: Can you discuss NAVCYBERFOR's role as the global C5I type commander (TYCOM)?
Herbert: Similar to the role of the Navy's platform TYCOMs (surface, submarine, aviation), the role of Navy Cyber Forces is to adequately man, train, equip and assess the readiness of fleet C5I forces — East Coast, West Coast, Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) and shore C4I commands. Navy Cyber Forces professionals ensure operational readiness and mission assurance throughout the cyberspace domain.
More fundamentally, NAVCYBERFOR's type commander role is to assess, train and certify cyber forces for basic phase and integrated training, ensuring that our Sailors and systems are fully ready for joint and coalition operations. We work very closely with the platform TYCOMs to ensure that the numbered fleet commanders have the required capabilities and trained cyber forces to meet all missions.
Our networks, sensors, combat systems, intelligence and communications systems all rely on unfettered access to the electromagnetic spectrum and the Global Information Grid. Mission success requires us to have information dominance — manifested in our freedom to operate, maneuver and enable decision superiority in and through cyberspace. Our cyber forces need to be trained to provide the right level of expertise across the full spectrum of operations from humanitarian assistance/disaster relief through major combat operations.
The Navy's cyber workforce is also known as the Information Dominance Corps. The IDC is comprised of nearly 50,000 professionals — officers, enlisted and civilians — serving as specialists in information-centric fields, including intelligence, information warfare, information technology, oceanography and space. Navy Cyber Forces works to build, train and maintain a strong IDC with unique skills and capabilities for delivering innovative solutions, expanding decision space, delivering kinetic and nonkinetic effects, and successfully operating and winning in the cyberspace domain.
CHIPS: How would you assess force readiness in cyber operations, and what is Navy Cyber Forces doing to improve force readiness?
Herbert: On a monthly basis the Navy Cyber Forces, in conjunction with Fleet Cyber Command (FCC), assesses the readiness of the afloat/ashore C5I units. The review starts with the commander's assessment of readiness and continues with a review of resource pillars — personnel, equipment, supply, training, ordnance and facilities, or PESTOF. Any shortfalls identified by the unit commander or identified in the PESTOF pillars are addressed and mitigated by NAVCYBERFOR and FCC personnel or, for longer range solutions, addressed in the POM (program objective memorandum) budget process. Specific areas of focus include the following.
• Cyber Workforce
Provisioning a cyber workforce capable of addressing the challenges of information-centric operations is a top priority of NAVCYBERFOR. We work very closely with stakeholders throughout the Navy — including the office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV), both in the Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education (MPT&E OPNAV N1)) organization and Deputy CNO for Information Dominance (N2/N6). Our manpower team also collaborates with U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet at Fort Meade, Md., the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Millington, Tenn., Naval Education and Training Command in Pensacola, Fla., and our two primary schoolhouses: Center for Information Dominance in Pensacola, and the Center for Naval Intelligence, Dam Neck, Va.
Navy Cyber Forces also incorporates fleet feedback on shortfalls and gaps in IDC manning, and periodically conducts Human Performance Readiness Reviews (HPRRs) to ensure that fleet Sailors receive the training and education required to meet current and emerging mission requirements.
Recently, Navy Cyber Forces was designated as the executive agent to help lead and execute a Navywide cyber workforce zero-based review (ZBR). Led by a task force commissioned through OPNAV N2/N6, the ZBR will baseline our current cyber work and workforce, and identify gaps in skill sets and positions. The results of this study will assist the Navy in making strategic decisions on how to align limited resources and talent capacity, by putting our critical skill sets where they are needed most.
• Training our Fleet
NAVCYBERFOR is responsible for C5I readiness assessments of Navy ships and submarines, as well as multiple IDC-related shore commands (i.e., such as the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Stations, Navy Information Operations Commands, Fleet Intelligence Detachments (FID) and Fleet Intelligence Adaptive Force (FIAF)).
In order to quantify C5I material readiness and cyber forces readiness for tasking, NAVCYBERFOR solicits and incorporates fleet feedback. We analyze C5I performance metrics from returning strike groups and independent deployers, and we routinely conduct assist visits to provide C4I training and assistance. We take our fleet customers through a certifying process to prepare them for the integrated training phase, and certify ashore units for basic phase operations. Tenth Fleet, in turn, certifies the units for continuous operations. Together, we monitor all units throughout the Fleet Response Training Plan (afloat units) and Cyber Shore Training Plan (ashore units).
• Electronic Warfare
In our role as the Fleet Electronic Warfare Center, NAVCYBERFOR is leading a critical EW readiness improvement campaign to build a robust and relevant fleet EW capability. Specific efforts include establishing EW as a primary mission area, breaking out EW visibility in DRRS-N (Defense Readiness Reporting System-Navy), conducting Tactics Seminars at the Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS), performing technical assist visits for surface units, and establishing an electronic warfare officer training continuum.
Additionally, Navy Cyber Forces and the Navy Marine Corps Spectrum Center have been leading efforts to protect Navy's operational equities in [the] National Broadband Initiative and associated efforts to relocate operating radio frequencies for critical Navy combat systems. SMEs (subject matter experts) from NAVCYBERFOR also work to identify and preserve Navy frequency assignments for Aegis missile defense and CVN (carrier) air traffic control radars.
• Network Warfare
In coordination with the platform TYCOMs and Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet, and the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), we are assessing, training, inspecting and certifying networks of afloat and ashore units. Navy Cyber Forces has two distinct roles in this effort. First, as the global C5I type commander, we are assessing and training units in conjunction with the platform type commanders to ensure afloat units are certified in the basic phase of training and can advance to integrated training. With Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet and DISA, we are helping prepare units for the Command Security Inspection and Certification Program (CSICP). This inspection program measures the effectiveness of our information technology programs of record and their integration with the afloat and ashore units they support.
Navy Cyber Forces is also leading a performance review of Navy afloat software applications. The fleet functional area manager (FAM) effort was established to review all afloat software applications for performance and accreditation issues, fixing those apps that are underperforming or removing them from the afloat inventory. We've also been working with PEO C4I to employ their Sailor 2.1 tool (https://sailor.nmci.navy.mil) to provide updated information on authorized apps and software patching procedures to improve application functionality and security.
The fleet FAM is a partnership of stakeholders from across the fleet, platform TYCOMS, systems commands and resource sponsors. We each have equities and responsibilities in ensuring that the systems and products that we are employing on our networks are secure, interoperable and are value added to the fleet.
Navy Cyber Forces continues to receive positive feedback from the tactical commanders regarding the increased readiness of our Fleet Intelligence Detachments and Fleet Intelligence Adaptive Force. FID personnel are receiving comprehensive training at two Centers of Excellence prior to deployments. The FID at the Office of Naval Intelligence, Nimitz Operational Intelligence Center, hosts "all-source" intelligence officers and intelligence specialists (IS) trained in imagery interpretation, while the FID at Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC) hosts IS strike intelligence analysts.
FID augmentation is event-focused and driven by specific skill sets for validated operational requirements levied by numbered fleet, carrier strike group (CSG) and amphibious readiness group (ARG) commanders. FIDs are designed to augment aircraft carriers and large deck amphibious ships. They were created to provide better trained, more operationally ready intelligence professionals to the fleet in the critical, high demand skill areas of all-source operational intelligence, imagery interpretation and strike support.
The FID concept was developed after examining lessons learned from other Navy communities that deploy in detachments or provide direct support ship riders. This DCNO for Information Dominance approved concept called for transitioning a portion of ship's company intelligence billets, with the most highly perishable skill sets, from aircraft carriers and large deck amphibious ships (CVN/LHA/LHDs), to intelligence centers, where their unique skill sets were tested and employed more routinely.
The remaining ship's force intelligence personnel would maintain and sustain organic intel systems and provide robust intel support to the combat systems training teams.
One of the unique attributes of the FID model is that it is designed to produce teams that will stay together from their first embarkation during basic phase to the final at-sea event in the deployment/sustainment phase of the Fleet Response Training Plan (FRTP).
When not embarked, FID personnel provide remote real-time intelligence support to deployed operating forces, receive sustainment training/qualifications and share lessons learned.
The FIAF detachments are collocated at the maritime operation centers (MOC) at the six numbered fleets and Pacific Fleet to meet new fleet and operational requirements with rapidly adaptive intelligence capability. The FIAF is designed to fill validated combatant command (COCOM) information assurance (IA) requirements, support Navy Cyber Forces and numbered fleet missions, maintain fleet intelligence readiness throughout the FRTP, and enable Navy operations by supporting MOC operations.
The FIAF constitutes the "flexible" portion of the intelligence manpower plan, giving Navy Cyber Forces the ability to rapidly redistribute resources (from MOC to MOC) and address in theater crisis/emergent intelligence demand signals for missions, such as maritime interception operations intelligence exploitation teams (MIO-IET), small tactical unmanned aerial system (STUAS) detachments, nuclear-powered cruise missile submarines (SSGN) detachments, and similar requirements or priorities as identified by operational commanders. The long-term FIAF approach is to build a flexible capability that will give Navy Intelligence the ability to respond to validated current and emergent IA requirements, provide forward MOCs on-site expertise to increase intelligence readiness of deploying naval forces, and enhance enterprise-wide intelligence readiness by creating the capability to do remote support from multiple locations.
The FID and FIAF are maturing and providing a better prepared Sailor to the operational and tactical commanders. To measure the effectiveness of these new models, Navy Cyber Forces will be hosting an Augmentation Planning Board this fall to evaluate the current state of the FID and FIAF, identify any shortfalls, and determine what course adjustments are needed to better position the force to meet current/future operational demands.
CHIPS: In June, the Defense Department released its first strategy for operating in cyberspace in the fight to protect the nation from potentially devastating network attacks. This is just one of the several building blocks, such as the stand up of U.S. Cyber Command, designed to allow U.S. military forces to operate in cyberspace and protect critical national infrastructure. Does the continuing national discussion regarding how the military should operate in cyberspace affect CYBERFOR's man, train, equip role?
Herbert: Absolutely. One of the core tenets of the new strategy is that we need to treat cyberspace as a domain, and with that comes all of the associated responsibilities of defining how we operate, train and equip our forces to prevail and win in this domain. There is increased emphasis on the development and certification of relevant, reliable and enduring cyberspace and information dominance skills at the individual and unit level, through the operational, and ultimately, strategic level of war.
As we continue to develop metrics and Navy mission essential tasks to evaluate our warfighting readiness and effectiveness, we're also learning that we may need to incorporate variations in training and certification methods. Existing structures, boards and processes are not necessarily nimble, flexible or responsive enough to meet the fast-paced requirements and operational demands of the cyberspace domain. We need to work through those issues to ensure we can deliver the right personnel, with the right skill sets and the right tools to do the job, before we're "in extremis" in cyberspace-related mission areas.
Another area of focus is on developing a holistic continuum of training and education for not only the immediate cyber workforce, but for anyone who works and operates in the domain — and that includes just about everyone in the Navy. In this domain, more so than any other, it's vitally important that the "customer" understands the inherent risks, threats and vulnerabilities of operating in a battlespace that is not separate and distinct from our adversaries' battlespace — and that the cost of entry into this domain is unprohibitively low.
The national discussion about how the military will operate in cyberspace may also inform resource allocation decisions which, in turn, would impact personnel and equipment decisions that will source the fleet. Additionally, the national discussion includes issues, such as how the law of armed conflict applies to military actions in cyberspace. Both legal and policy decisions will be made that will clarify our understanding of the law and inform the development of various rules of engagement. Ultimately, the policies and rules developed at the national and service levels will influence training provided to operators.
CHIPS: What are your thoughts about the future of Navy cyber?
Herbert: In light of the changing nature of operations in the information age, there is every reason to believe that the future of naval warfare will place increasing demands and expectations on the Information Dominance Corps. NAVCYBERFOR will be "front and center" in addressing those demands and meeting those expectations.
As we look at the emerging challenges and increasing complexity of modern warfare, it is clear that our Navy needs now, more than ever, a dedicated, technically skilled, engaged and innovative total workforce to fill the ranks of our cyber team. While these are challenging times, in terms of emerging mission requirements, combating blurry but persistent threat vectors and managing DoD-wide budgetary constraints, this is also an incredible opportunity to redefine the way we man, train, equip and sustain our Navy cyber workforce, now and in the future.
Much of our mission success will be driven by our ability to draw from the best of America — and in showcasing the Navy as an employer that values the talent, creativity, enthusiasm and ambitions of our nation's youth. Each of us has an incredibly important role in mentoring others and raising awareness of the great opportunities available in the Navy's Information Dominance Corps.
CHIPS: Is there anything you would like to add?
Herbert: I would just like to say that it is a profound honor to lead the exceptionally talented and dedicated professionals at Navy Cyber Forces. They inspire me each day, and I know that our Navy is stronger, and our nation safer, because of their dedication, focus and commitment to mission success.
Navy Cyber Forces: www.cyberfor.navy.mil/