Chairman’s Update

Our Fall Luncheon featured an update from VADM Matt Kohler who focused on the new CNO, ADM Mike Gilday, and on the status of Naval Intelligence. We also had an exceptional presentation by Commander (Ret.) Leah Amerling Bray on the State Department’s Global Engagement Center efforts to counter foreign influence operations. She highlighted how the skills she learned as a young Intelligence professional and the mentors she had helped her in her roles at the National Security Council and now as a leader at State Department. Commander of ONI, RADM Kelly Aeschbach, also attended the Fall Luncheon and you can read her comments about Naval Intelligence in the fall edition of the Community “Comms Lines” at our website.

During the luncheon we also recognized the winners of the USNI/NIP Intelligence essay contest. They are:

First Prize: $5,000 + 1-year NIP/USNI Memberships
“A Design for Maintaining Maritime Information Superiority 2.0”
By Commander J. Michael Dahm, USN (Ret.)


Second Prize: $2,500 ($1,250 each) + 1-year NIP/USNI Memberships
“Uncommon Knowledge: Naval Intelligence Doesn’t Know Its Own Navy—Here’s How to Fix It”
By Commander Christopher Nelson, USN, and Eric Pedersen


Third Prize $1,500 + 1-year NIP/USNI Memberships
“Naval Intelligence and Information Warfare in the Gray Zone”
By Lieutenant Commander James Landreth, USN

Our open board meeting before the Fall Luncheon included an update on NIP membership, finance, and foundation activities. Board member Bill Bray was elected President, succeeding Eileen MacKrell, and we added three new board members: Dave McAlister (Captain, Ret.), James Biggs, (Captain, Ret.) and LT Jason Spencer.

Our new 2020 board has already met and developed a number of initiatives for next year with an intent to create more engagement and touch points with existing and new NIP members such as hosting each of the graduating Naval Intelligence Officer Basic Course (NIOBC) classes during their annual trips to Washington, D.C. Also, based on feedback at our fall meeting, we are going to be working on the capability for re-inventing a version of the old “NIP Quarterly.” We’ll be needing volunteers to help write and collect content and if you have specific ideas, please get in touch. We would especially like to hear from our chapters. Jason Spencer will be our new coordinator for Chapter communications and chapters can reach him at

Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Lynn Wright is retiring this month. Lynn was our Red Tie recipient this year and she completes over 35 years in Naval Intelligence. Thank you, Lynn, for all your exceptional service to Naval Intelligence and we expect to see you at future NIP events! Relieving Lynn will be Scott Bray, former ONI China SIO who is currently ODNI’s National Intelligence Manager for East Asia. Scott brings a wealth of expertise and contacts from his national agency work back to the Navy where he started his career.

ONI and distinguished guests honored George Fedoroff at Suitland, MD on 11 December as he retired with 48 years of service at the Office of Naval Intelligence. George has long been our recognized expert on the Soviet and Russian Navy and participated in every one of the U.S./Soviet-Russian INCSEA discussions. Rich Haver was the guest speaker for the ceremony and recounted how George had been one of the key analysts providing deep insight on the Soviet Navy and leadership in the late 1970s. These insights and the overall efforts by ONI personnel led to briefings to the most senior U.S. government officials and were pivotal to the formulation of strategy leading to the end of the Cold War. In his farewell comments, George noted that he was very pleased with the new generation of ONI personnel who will take over the leadership of the Russian Navy analysis. BZ and our many thanks to George Fedoroff; we wish you fair seas and following winds.

Please keep NIP in mind for your end of year donations to support the scholarship programs and the memorabilia we present to Naval Intelligence award winners. And for your next year’s calendars, please note the dates of our spring and fall luncheons: Red Tie Luncheon: Friday, 1 May and Fall Luncheon and Open Board Meeting, Friday, 16 October. Also, the D.C Golf tournament will be on 25 September.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, best wishes for the New Year and thanks for your continued support and interest in the Naval Intelligence Professionals!


Very respectfully,

Tony L. Cothron

Rear Admiral, USN, Retired
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Naval Intelligence Professionals
NIP, P.O. Box 11579, Burke, Virginia 22009-1579