PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Corry Station hosted the British Consul General in Miami, David Prodger, onboard Naval Air Station Pensacola Corry Station, June 12.
One reason why Prodger came to the area was to see firsthand the benefits of the Navy's Personnel Exchange Program (PEP), and to support the special relationship between the U.K. and U.S.
Currently, Chief Cryptologic Technician Paul Thomas, a Royal navy sailor, serves at IWTC Corry Station through the PEP. Thomas is billeted as an instructor, fully integrated with the U.S. military and civilian staff.
"The Navy's Personnel Exchange Program is just one example of the U.S. Navy working closely with the Royal navy to increase security and prosperity worldwide," said Cmdr. Chad Smith, commanding officer of IWTC Corry Station. "There is a major return on investment from having Chief Thomas on board. The experience that he brings to the classroom is, in many cases, more than most."
As both the U.K. and U.S. build up their cyber capabilities, they both see some of the same challenges.
"These are the best and brightest Sailors that we bring here," added Smith. "Both countries are seeing the challenges of finding these unique Sailors, and then retaining them once their obligation is complete. They learn very unique and mentally-challenging skills that are highly coveted by non-military firms. However, the opportunities that they will have and firsthand experiences of using these skills in the Navy are impossible to find outside the military."
Currently, there are approximately 700-800 British military personnel located in 34 states throughout the U.S. This is 10 times the number of British troops than in any other country, and 60-70 of them are in Florida ? from Key West to Pensacola.
"It really helps to be able to say that we have these U.K. military members here, and this is what they are doing and this is the depth of the relationship they have," said Prodger.
Prodger accepted his appointment as the British Consul General in Miami in August 2014, and is now in his final year. Before taking this position, he served in a number of roles, both in the U.K. and overseas, within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) since joining in 1999. In his current position, his region encompasses Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to include supporting the work of the governors of the U.K.'s overseas territories. He is regularly traveling the state to meet with local and state politicians to build on the strong relationship that already exists. When Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017, he worked alongside U.S. Southern Command and other state organizations and military commands to coordinate a U.K. relief effort.
Information Warfare Training Command Corry Station, as part of the Center for Information Warfare Training, provides a continuum of training to Navy and joint service personnel that prepares them to conduct information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations.
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