More than 60 Reserve officers and Sailors gathered together on the West Coast for the first Reserve Intelligence Leadership Summit, held at the Center for Information Dominance Unit San Diego, Jan. 29-31.
This event was designed specifically for reservists, providing a venue to reinvigorate attendees’ awareness of numerous activities within the intelligence community and afford an opportunity to network with fellow intelligence professionals.
Rear Adm. Dan MacDonnell, Reserve Deputy Commander Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR) said, “This summit marked the first time reserve intelligence officers and intelligence specialists assembled as a distinct community to receive updates on the various maritime threats to our nation, the Navy's future efforts for dealing with those threats and what those issues mean to the reserve force.”
Tactical, strategic and future issues impacting the intelligence community were discussed during the three-day event including capabilities, developments, threats and an assessment of the current state of the force.
“Intelligence used to be a supporting attribute to warfighters but now we are the warfighters,” said Capt. Gary Barron, Intelligence Community Lead for Naval Information Force Reserve (NAVIFORES). “Today we face a new type of warfare; the adversary is cunning, dangerous and aggressive; we have to work hard continuously to understand and prepare for these new types of threats.”
“These past few years we’ve been focused on integrating within the Navy’s Information Warfare Community (IWC), but it’s important for us to also recognize our specific specialty within this force and enhance these skills,” said Barron, one of the event’s co-organizers.
The summit’s attendees serve in the NAVIFORES, which commands over 7,000 personnel from the IWC. The IWC encapsulates officers, enlisted and civilian personnel who possess skills related to information –intensive fields including intelligence, signals intelligence, networks, cyber, space, meteorology and oceanography disciplines.
Information shared during the event was geared toward the NAVIFORES with the understanding and intention of familiarizing attendees so they can be ready, at a moment’s notice, to step into an active-duty capacity and perform with the same aptitude and capabilities as their active-duty shipmates. Additionally, these leaders contribute operational support during drill weekends and annual training.
“The reserve intelligence community has for years been the Navy's 911 augmentation for the active-duty community, and that relationship is as strong as ever,” said Rear Adm. Gene Price, deputy commander U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, who served as the presiding officer for this event. “The presence of Rear Adm. Bob Sharp, former Director for Intelligence, U.S. Special Operations Command, for the entire conference illustrated the depth of that relationship; as was the keynote address by Rear Adm. Steve Parode, Director for Intelligence, U.S. Strategic Command, which he provided even while dealing with critical operational activities.”
“It’s great to be a part of this field,” said Barron. “There is so much variety; it would be difficult to ever be come bored. I’ve had the opportunity to work in several different sectors of the Navy throughout the world including aviation, special operations, surface, human intelligence and diplomatic relations – there isn’t a day that I’m not glad that I joined the Navy as an intelligence officer.”
A second Navy Reserve Intelligence Leadership Summit will be held July 2016 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.