Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert was the presiding officer as Rear Adm. David Lewis relieved Rear Adm. Patrick Brady as commander, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in a change of command ceremony Thursday, Aug. 7.
Lewis reported to SPAWAR from his most recent assignment as the Program Executive Officer (PEO), Ships, where he was responsible for Navy shipbuilding for surface combatants, amphibious ships, logistics support ships, support craft and related foreign military sales.
"It's an honor to be here and to have the opportunity to work with such a capable team of professionals who are shaping the future of Navy information technology," said Lewis.
The ceremony marked an end to Brady's four years as commander of nearly 10,000 SPAWAR employees worldwide.
Greenert served as the ceremony's presiding officer and guest speaker. He commented on Brady's key role in making SPAWAR synonymous with Information Dominance and cyber excellence.
“SPAWAR is the technical agent for information dominance, we know that. It is also the technical agent for a new era in Navy and naval warfare,” said Greenert. “Control of the information is going to be the key to the future. Until we put a pod on the Growlers, with all the electronics working to dominate the electromagnetic spectrum, they’re just aircraft flying around burning fuel. Our future survival at sea rests on your shoulders, on everyone here in this room. You are the information dominance systems command and the technical agent providing and sustaining the fleet capabilities through the entire spectrum.”
Greenert went on to discuss the challenges faced by a highly technical command and the importance of experience in major programs and complex systems.
“We need a leader that has the right abilities; somebody who has the technical expertise that you all can have a conversation with, someone with the bandwidth and discipline, and it has been Pat Brady these past four years,” said Greenert. “He has been the right leader at the right place and right time. It is his vision and your dedication that has moved Information Dominance from concept to the reality it is today."
Greenert also talked about a cyber-awakening, or reawakening, that is occurring across the Department of Navy.
“All this stuff we build is really cool. We need to look at it and understand that it has to be safe, just like we have submarine safety. You have to be able to keep the water out of the people tank,” said Greenert. “We need cyber safe equipment out there. We’re on the right track, but we have a lot of work to do. A lot of that will be Dave Lewis’s responsibility.”
As SPAWAR's commander, Brady worked to bring Information Dominance capabilities to the fleet by establishing the organization as the Information Technology Technical Authority and creating the Fleet Readiness Directorate. During his tenure, the Navy's next generation tactical afloat network - CANES - was introduced to the fleet. Additionally, two next-generation narrowband satellite communications satellites, known as the Mobile User Objective System, were launched for defense department users.
"The last four years have been an incredible experience leading such bright and dedicated individuals," said Brady. "I'm very proud of all that we've accomplished and want to thank this talented workforce for all they have done for the fleet."
During his tour as PEO Ships, Lewis had more than 17 ships under construction and an additional 24 ships and craft under contract. Lewis also served as vice commander, Naval Sea Systems Command.
Lewis said he will focus on three core areas, including delivering on commitments for equipment with defined performance and cost, focusing on cyber as an "All Hands" evolution and finding opportunity in this era of fiscal challenges.
He stressed that cyber is a warfighting challenge and will require an all hands on deck approach. His vision is that every Navy system will be cyber secure and every Navy sailor, civilian and contractor cyber savvy. He said SPAWAR has made great strides in cyber awareness under Brady's command.
"Our senior leadership has sanctioned SPAWAR as the Navy's single Information Technology and Information Assurance Technical Authority. We have to deliver on our commitments," said Lewis. "We will deliver executable fleet-wide assessments that categorize our current cyber risks and prioritize investments to enhance our security posture. We will deliver systems that balance mission and cost with cyber protection so the fleet fights on the "network" just like we fight on the seas and in the air. My job as commander is to make certain this organization continues to deliver an enduring cyber engineering construct that codifies and establishes the way we architect, design, accredit and continuously monitor our secure, performance-based afloat, ashore and aloft systems."
As the Navy's Information Dominance systems command, SPAWAR designs, develops and deploys advanced communications and information capabilities. With nearly 10,000 active duty military and civil service professionals located around the world and close to the fleet, SPAWAR is at the forefront of research, engineering, acquisition and support services that provide vital decision superiority to our forces at the right time and for the right cost.