Vice Admiral Jan E. Tighe became the first female commander of a numbered fleet in U.S. Navy history when she assumed command of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet (FCC/C10F) on April 2, 2014 during a ceremony at the Frank B. Rowlett Building located at Fort George G. Meade, Md.
Prior to this appointment, Tighe’s assignments as a Flag Officer included serving as Deputy Commander, FCC/C10F; Naval Postgraduate School Interim President; OPNAV N2N6 Director, Decision Superiority; and U.S. Cyber Command Deputy J3. She also had staff assignments on the Headquarters of the Pacific Fleet, Naval Security Group, Naval Network Warfare Command, and served as Executive Assistant to Commander, U.S. Cyber Command/Director, National Security Agency. Tighe commanded more than 2,800 multi-service and multi-agency personnel at the National Security Agency/Central Security Service Hawaii in Kunia as an O6.
U.S. Fleet Cyber Command serves as the Navy component command to U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Cyber Command, and the Navy’s Service Cryptologic Component commander under the National Security Agency/Central Security Service. Fleet Cyber Command also reports directly to the Chief of Naval Operations as an Echelon II command. U.S. 10th Fleet is the operational arm of Fleet Cyber Command and executes its mission through a task force structure similar to other warfare commanders.
Vice Adm. Tighe responded to questions in writing in June.
Q: You began your career as a cryptologist and now you are serving as commander of the Navy’s Service Cryptologic Component to the National Security Agency/Central Security Service. Do you feel that you’ve come full circle?
A: As an Information Warfare (formerly Cryptologic Officer) and Information Dominance Warfare Officer, I feel a great sense of pride being at the helm of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. TENTH Fleet. Nearly my entire career has been spent in leading the pursuit of information and decision superiority. Furthermore, I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to pursue advanced education at Naval Post Graduate School (NPS) and later to serve as its interim president.
My studies and doctoral work at NPS directly benefit work in the SIGINT, cyber, and electronic warfare missions that are part of our mission sets here at C10F. Accordingly, I don’t view it as a circle … it is more like a multi-sided pyramid that has been building my entire career.
Q: It must be fascinating to be a Navy codebreaker – what types of people are drawn to the cyber and cryptologic missions?
A: I am lucky to be in such a fascinating and important field and our Navy and our country have a storied history of codebreaking in defense of the nation. Today’s team proudly and skillfully carries on that legacy. We have a diverse group of warfighters who represent a cross section of our country and all of its wonderful diversity. People who like to solve puzzles thrive in this environment. For me it is Sodoku, for Joseph Rochefort and many others it was crossword puzzles.
We tend to be strong in mathematical and analytical capabilities with an interest in technology, which is a reason the Navy strongly supports the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) focus in our nation’s schools. We also have a portion of the community that are gifted in linguistics, with a strong bent toward the analytical application of their skills.
It is worth noting here that FCC/C10F is the Navy’s central operational authority for information operations (IO), electronic warfare (EW), and space capabilities in addition to cryptologic/signals intelligence (SIGINT) and cyberspace/network operations. Furthermore, our capabilities will be enhanced as we leverage our strengths in the converged electromagnetic and cyber domains and continue to deliver on SIGINT, IO, EW, and space missions with our outstanding team of dedicated uniformed and civilian professionals.
Q: You have mentioned that the Navy is operating in the new “cyber norm” to “stay ahead of the adversary in the cyber arena.” Can you talk about how the Navy is meeting the challenge to succeed in the new cyber norm?
A: With the creation of Information Dominance in 2009 and the establishment of Fleet Cyber Command and recommissioning of TENTH Fleet in 2010, the Navy acknowledged the centrality of information as a domain within to maritime warfighting.
The Navy put in place a command structure and processes to better defend our networks and to develop full spectrum cyber capabilities in line with U.S. Cyber Command and the Department of Defense. This was essential, because cyber is such a fundamental part of the maritime operational level of war that it is sometimes taken for granted. In the new norm in which we operate, nation-states, terrorists, criminals, and hacktivists all look to exploit vulnerabilities and challenge our advantage in this domain.
It is our job at FCC/C10F to lead the fight and ensure cyber threats and risks are identified and mitigated. Our network defenders must consistently and dynamically outpace the enemy and we must continue to invigorate our acquisition processes and training to ensure we are ahead of the cyber adversaries. As important, every user must understand their responsibility to also deny the enemy any advantage through their activities on the network. After all, if the Navy has given you access to a keyboard or personal electronic device, you are operating in the cyber domain.
Q: Navy Cyber Power 2020 was released in November 2012 as the strategy for achieving the Navy’s vision for cyberspace operations. Can you discuss FCC/C10F’s role in supporting the vision of NCP 2020?
A: NCP 2020 requires FCC/C10F and the Navy to address cyber threats, key trends, and challenges across four main areas: (1) integrated operations; (2) an optimized cyber workforce; (3) technology innovation; and (4) reforming development and execution of requirements, acquisition and budgeting.
From the FCC/C10F headquarters at Fort Meade and around the FCC/C10F world-wide domain, we are working not only to fully integrate cyber at the maritime operational level of war, but also to continue highlighting the impact of cyber from system design and acquisition to maintenance. Put another way, we must continue the transformation of the Navy’s culture with respect to cyber in joint warfighting, from the deckplate up, so that all can understand the fundamental impact of cyber at every level of warfighting. This includes collaborating and working closely with our acquisition partners as well as teammates in industry and academia on cybersecurity, best practices, and technological innovation.
As the Information Dominance Strategy evolves and adapts for the future, FCC/C10F is working with our other Navy teammates toward the creation of an Information Dominance Type Command (ID TYCOM), which will also contribute to the NCP 2020 goal of optimizing the workforce. The ID TYCOM will generate readiness for the manning, training, and equipment functions. This advances development Information Dominance in line with every other warfighting discipline and aligns our readiness generation construct with every other Navy warfighting area under U.S. Fleet Forces Command.
Additionally, we are building out the Navy’s portion of U.S. Cyber Command’s Cyber Mission Force (CMF). Fleet Cyber Command serves as both a force provider for Navy-sourced CMF teams, and will also command and control (C2) some of the teams as a Joint Forces Headquarters-Cyber (JFHQ-C).
With NCP 2020 as a roadmap, therefore, FCC/C10F drives toward the point at which the Navy consistently and effectively operates, defends, exploits, and engages in cyberspace to ensure our maritime forces retain access to cyberspace for all mission critical functions and to provide Navy and Joint commanders with assured C2, battle space awareness, and integrated fires.
Q: What do you perceive as the current greatest threat to cyber security, and what actions can the Navy take to combat it?
A: The Navy recognizes the serious nature of evolving cyber threats from malicious individual actors to nation-state actors. We are actively and continuously adapting our cyber defenses and capabilities to address increasingly sophisticated and capable adversaries. Our strategic interests, however, and possibly the greatest threat in the cyber realm exists beyond the Department of Defense Information Networks (DODIN) — the .mil domain — and comprises the networks of companies and civilian universities that conduct research and development, or design, produce, manufacture, sustain or provide other sensitive products and services for the Navy.
Securing sensitive but unclassified non-public Navy information that transits or resides outside of the .mil domain from either theft or espionage is critical to maintaining our warfighting advantage. We intend to leverage the expertise and authorities of NCIS as well as work through USCYBERCOM with partners across the government (e.g., Department of Homeland Security, Defense Security Service, FBI, etc.) to prevent loss of sensitive Navy data from commercial vendors in the defense industrial base. It is essential that we take every step possible to ensure that the Navy's operational and technological information is protected from both theft and espionage in today's rapidly evolving threat environment.