Chairman's Update - March 2016

More Visible - More Relevant

These are indeed, dangerous times.   This audience doesn't need to be reminded of the facts since you are getting them daily, whether in the SCIF, on board the ship or in the press.  There is a lot at stake and that is why your Board Members for the Naval Intelligence Professionals have been focused this winter on making your NIP organization more Visible and more Relevant.  

To create more visibility in the Navy and promote more discussion among our members on Naval Intelligence, we have launched five key initiatives.  We have hired a small company to provide the technical help we needed to redesign, re-host and improve our website.  The "new look" for NIP will continue to be accessible under the NAVINTPRO.ORG address when it goes live. The website will be retired.   We'll also be constantly adding new features and new content to the site through our second key initiative. We have hired a NIP Web Editor.   J.R. Reddig, (Captain, US Navy, retired) is highly accomplished writer and widely known as the past volunteer editor for our NIP Quarterly.  He has agreed to take on the job and be our lead to ensure the web site has timely and appropriate content.  With JR at the con, we intend to make our online presence  a place that our members will connect with mentors and peers, read about and share their own history and stories describing the art and practice of Naval Intelligence.

 Our third key initiative is a partnership with the US Naval Institute to resume an annual Intelligence Essay contest.  That effort launched this month and you'll find details in the March Proceedings and at  This year's theme  is "How can Naval Intelligence contribute to meeting the challenges and objectives outlined in CNO Richardson's “Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority."  A NIP committee will review all of the essays and identify the top five to USNI who will determine the final award decision.   We are looking for articles with bold ideas on the purpose, organization, training and operations of Naval Intelligence; how it currently supports the Navy and the Nation and how it should operate in the future, to provide timely, relevant and predictive intelligence for every warfare area and every Commander, from the national to the tactical level, to enable the Navy to fight and win.     

To be more Relevant, we have two other key initiatives.  First, we are focusing NIP efforts on expanding opportunities for mentorship among NIP members.   Ray Cross (Captain, USN, retired) is serving as our Mentor coordinator and is putting together an inventory of volunteer mentors that will appear on our web site.  Tony Brock (CDR, USN,  retired and ONI civilian) is gathering ideas for professional development and mentoring sessions while Tom Dove (Captain, USN,  retired and currently a senior VP in a major Defense company) is leading the creation of mentoring sessions specifically focused on supporting our NIP members in the private sector or who are transitioning from active duty to industry.  We'll be announcing these sessions on our web site and in emails later this spring.

Our final initiative is our most ambitious and is called Project 2032.  I will have more to say on the details of this exciting project at our spring meeting and Red Tie Luncheon which is scheduled for 29 April at the Army-Navy Club in Arlington.  Sign up to attend at!

Our NIP Foundation Committee continues an active campaign to support the Navy's recognition of outstanding Naval Intelligence professionals.  Under the auspices of the Chief of Naval Operations Naval Intelligence Awards Program, the Foundation supports seventeen award programs encompassing over 50 individual awards which recognize and reward outstanding leadership and performance of military and civilian naval intelligence professionals throughout the community.  This year we are pleased to announce once again an increase of $1000 in the amount of all scholarships in the Rear Admiral Sumner Shapiro Scholarship Program.  We will be awarding six scholarships in the amount of  $5000 apiece, effective with the 2016-17 academic year awards.  Scholarship online application details are at or www.  I would like also to recognize the efforts of those associated with two annual charity golf tournaments held in the DC Metro area and in San Diego which support the Foundation Committee scholarship program.  Hats off to J Todd Ross (Captain, US Navy, retired) and the NIP San Diego Chapter for putting on those events in September each year.  Your participation in or support of those events this year are  appreciated.    
Last month I had the pleasure of attending a gathering of the NIP membership hosted by our San Diego chapter.  It was well attended and great to see old and new NIP members getting together and sharing stories from the days of OSIS and swapping current stories from the waterfront and Fleet training establishments.  We have had very strong chapters in Washington DC and in San Diego for many years and are looking to get more interest in NIP in every fleet/joint headquarters. CDR Charleese Sampa is our Chapters Committee lead and can be reached at to help any group wanting to start a local chapter.

Since its establishment in 1882, Naval Intelligence has been instrumental in our Navy's transformation. From its earliest days, those who were interested in and  worked in Naval Intelligence in Washington DC, in the fleet or overseas, were of all types and backgrounds - sailing ship officers, enlisted and civilians clerks, linguists, draftsman and "laborers.  What they all had in common then, and still today, is an inquisitive, observant and imaginative nature coupled with a sincere desire to serve and protect our country.   

A young professional and recent college graduate I sat with recently on a long plane flight asked me after a few hours of my sea stories  "what keeps you going?" My answer to her is one that I think illustrates the character of all our Naval Intelligence Professionals - "I just want to make a difference."

Your NIP organization is another way to make a vital difference.  To sustain the initiatives we have launched and to support the Navy and the nation's need for a strong Naval Intelligence community, we must expand our membership. There are thousands of individuals who have and are serving the mission of Naval Intelligence. We need your help in reaching out to them and getting them all on board NIP!   We also need your input, your comments and ideas. This really is the right time, as a Naval Intelligence Professional, to be more Visible and more Relevant!

Your Board of Directors and new NIP Editor all look forward to hearing your thoughts on Naval Intelligence!  You can contact me at and our NIP Editor at
All the best!
Tony Cothron
Rear Admiral, USN, Retired