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CHIPS Articles: Naval Information Forces Hosts US Naval Academy Midshipmen

Naval Information Forces Hosts US Naval Academy Midshipmen
By Lt. Cmdr. Megan Shutka, Naval Information Forces Public Affairs - August 8, 2018
SUFFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR) hosted U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen for a third and final opportunity of their Information Warfare (IW) Summer Cruise in Suffolk, Virginia, Aug. 1.

“I chose my major because I saw how it will impact global communications and our economy, and this visit was great to see the IW operational structure and what they do at individual commands,” said Midshipman 1st Class Zach Makkonen, a native of Dollar Bay, Michigan. He plans to major in Cyber Operations and once served as an enlisted Sailor prior to his appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy.

NAVIFOR hosted the Midshipman for two other occasions, June 6 and July 11 in which similar briefs and discussions took place.

“This visit was very rewarding and I learned how each community in IW works together,” said Midshipman 1st Class Mary Elise Brady, from Buffalo, New York majoring in Cyber Operations.

The IW Midshipman Summer Cruise strengthens the value of what midshipman see, experience and witness through discussions, briefs and tours of various IW commands.

“I learned a lot more about the IW organizational structure and specifics of the mission,” said Midshipman 1st Class Sam Teplov, a native of Holland, Pennsylvania. He chose to major in Cyber Operations and to service select Cryptology because of the mentorship and interaction at the Naval Academy.

Cmdr. Steve Sollon, NAVIFOR’s Deputy N1 and U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2000, represented NAVIFOR in discussions with the Midshipman July 11.

“Originally I planned to do five and dive,” said Sollon speaking with the Midshipman. “18 years later, my best advice to each of you is always keep your options open. I find the Navy fulfilling to do my job which is why I chose to stay all this time.”

Midshipman 1st Class Lauren Lipkin, a Fredericksburg, Virginia native majoring in Computer Science, said she took a Cyber Course her plebe year that opened her mind to the option of the major she chose. She found the IW Summer Cruise very informative, originally having no idea what service selection she wanted. Approaching the IW Summer Cruise conclusion, Lipkin said she is now leaning toward service selecting Cryptology.

“Prior to this IW Summer Cruise, I never heard of NAVIFOR before and it was great to learn about the command,” said Midshipman 1st Class Colin Gallacher from Mesa, Arizona. He plans to major in Cyber Operations with a minor in Japanese because of his previous background and experience working for Apple in which he sees this as a future wide open for him.

Midshipman 1st Class Morgan Giraud, a Cyber Operations major from Petaluma, California, also stated during the IW Summer Cruise that it was the first time she ever heard of NAVIFOR. Her impression during the IW Summer Cruise is that NAVIFOR is the integration of all communities and she plans to service select Cryptology, feeling it’s the most relevant to her major.

“Always show pride in your job, no matter what,” said Lt. Liz Arrow, NAVIFOR’s Flag Aide and U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2012, while speaking with Midshipman during the final IW Summer Cruise Aug. 1. “There is no other rewarding job in the world than serving in the U.S. Navy.”

NAVIFOR’s mission is to provide combat-ready Information Warfare forces to operational commanders, ashore and afloat, that are forward deployable, fully trained, properly manned, capably equipped, always ready, well-maintained and combat sustainable.

For more information about NAVIFOR, visit the command's website at, Navy News webpage at or Facebook page at

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