PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Capt. Marc W. Ratkus relieved Capt. Nicholas “Nick” Andrews II as commanding officer of the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT) during a change of command ceremony onboard Naval Air Station Pensacola Corry Station, Pensacola, Florida, July 24.
The ceremony, a time-honored tradition of transferring total responsibility, authority and accountability from one individual to another, marked the end of a successful tour for Andrews, who led the CIWT domain in being recognized as Naval Education and Training Command’s best learning center for two consecutive years. Although Andrews is wrapping-up a very successful 27-year military career, he rescheduled his retirement ceremony to Nov. 6, 2020, due to COVID-19 safety measures.
Andrews, a native of Durham, North Carolina, assumed command of CIWT, May 24, 2018.
“To the Center for Information Warfare Training family, it has been the highest honor of my Navy career to serve as your commanding officer,” shared Andrews. “It has been magnificent to watch you perform like the championship team you are over the past two plus years. I have learned far more than I have taught, and I am proud to have been part of such a phenomenal organization…especially as my final tour in uniform. Thank you all for everything you do, every day, in support of our great nation.”
Andrews graduated Boston University in 1992, and earned master’s degrees from the Naval War College and the Naval Postgraduate School. Additionally, he’s also a graduate of the Joint Forces Staff College.
Andrews’ operational assignments include Patrol Squadron (VP) 4, where he served as a patrol plane commander; the commissioning crew of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) as the anti-submarine warfare officer and a tactical action officer; flag communications officer for Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12 where he served as U.S. Naval Forces Central Command's Task Force 50 battle watch captain; information technology deputy and knowledge manager for CSG 9; and information warfare commander for USS Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group. Additionally, he deployed as an individual augmentee to Baghdad, Iraq, where he served as Iraqi information and communications technology infrastructure branch officer and knowledge and information management branch officer for the directorate of communication and information systems at Multi-National Forces Iraq.
Ashore, he served as administrative officer for Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 2; deputy of command, control, communications, computers and intelligence plans (C4I) at U.S. Pacific Fleet; policy and compliance division head for Navy Cyber Forces; and executive officer for the Naval Satellite Operations Center.
The presiding officer, Rear Adm. Peter A. Garvin, commander of Naval Education and Training Command, participated in the ceremony via teleconference.
Andrews was lauded for his inspiring leadership and superior performance, highlighting 27 years of dedicated and honorable service.
Some of Andrews’ overall accomplishments while CIWT’s commanding officer include, “He demonstrated exceptional leadership of the Navy’s primary information warfare training command responsible for ten enlisted ratings, three officer communities, and 130+ courses; delivering more than 37,800 graduates trained to fight and win across all aspects of the information warfare domain. Simultaneously, he broke new ground by ushering in the era of Ready Relevant Learning and Block Learning for two enlisted information warfare ratings while also earning reaffirmation of accreditation for the entire domain from the Council on Occupational Education.
Andrews also procured $15 million to establish the Navy’s first Cyber Mission Force schoolhouse, ensuring the Navy was the only joint curriculum lead to execute cyber training in accordance with U.S. Cyber Command mandated timelines and resulting in 794 graduates. Andrews continued pursuit of technological advancements by transitioning to a cloud-based virtual training environment for Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services, increasing annual training capacity by 300%; and developing the capability to improve quality and throughput of electronic warfare systems technicians and operators in response to fleet requirements.”
During his remarks, Andrews welcomed and congratulated Ratkus for receiving orders to the best command in the Navy. Andrews also thanked all his family, friends and shipmates for their unwavering support and dedication throughout his 27-year career.
“To all my shipmates, past and present, thank you,” said Andrews. “No one navigates a successful Navy career alone, and I have been blessed throughout mine with some of the best leaders, mentors, friends and colleagues to have ever worn the uniform. I would not be here today without you. To my family, most especially my wife Jana, no words I can say will ever capture the depth of the sacrifices you have made to support me over the course of my career. Just know that I love you, and I am home now.”
Ratkus, a native of High Point, North Carolina, comes to CIWT from his last assignment as director of operations for the National Security Agency / Central Security Service Georgia.
In 1983, a then very young Seaman Recruit Ratkus first reported to Corry Station for “A” school, and 37 years later, he returns to take the helm of CIWT to lead this exceptional organization in delivering trained and ready joint service information warriors in support of tactical, operational, strategic requirements.
“I am immensely proud to join this extraordinary team,” said Ratkus. “CIWT has a long-standing reputation for delivering game-changing intelligence and effects, and I have witnessed first-hand how information warfare impacts decision makers from the foxhole to the White House.”
Selection and assignment to serve as CIWT's newest commanding officer is also a homecoming for the Ratkus family as they have served in Pensacola several times over the years, and his wife, Brenda, along with her family are from the greater Pensacola area.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Hawaii Pacific University, a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University, a master’s-level military sciences certificate from the U. S. Army Command and General Staff College and a master’s-level technical certificate in computer science from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.
Ratkus enlisted in the Navy in 1983 and served 14 years in the cryptologic technician (maintenance) rating, attaining the rank of chief petty officer. In 1997, he commissioned as a chief warrant officer, and in 2000, was selected for promotion to Lt. j.g. through the limited duty officer program. In 2002, he laterally transferred to the restricted line community as a cryptologic warfare officer.
His operational assignments include USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70); USS Virginia (CGN 38); USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71); USS Gettysburg (CG 64); Carrier Strike Group 8; and a deployment to Afghanistan.
His shore assignments include Naval Technical Training Center, Corry Station, Pensacola, Florida; Naval Security Group Det. Crane, Indiana; Naval Security Group Activity Kunia, Hawaii; Naval Security Group Activity Sugar Grove, West Virginia; U.S. Naval Forces Europe/U.S. 6th Fleet; U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet; Navy Personnel Command; Center for Information Warfare Training; and Tactical Training Group Atlantic.
Additionally, he commanded Navy Information Operations Command Colorado.
“Today is all about saying thank you,” added Ratkus. “Thank you to the information warfare leadership for their trust and confidence; thank you to all my shipmates, past and present; and thank you to my beautiful wife, Brenda, and my family for your love, devotion, and unwavering support over the years that made this assignment possible.”
With four schoolhouse commands, a detachment, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan, CIWT trains over 20,000 students every year, delivering trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. CIWT also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and officers in the information warfare community.
For news from the Center for Information Warfare Training domain, visit www.netc.navy.mil/centers/ciwt/, www.facebook.com/NavyCIWT, or www.twitter.com/NavyCIWT.