Chair Update - December 2023

Holiday Greetings NIP colleagues and friends!

It’s been quite a busy year for NIP and for Naval Intelligence Professionals across the globe. I’m not sure how we fit all our activities into a single year, and it looks as though 2024 will be even busier—and more exciting.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the progress in our key initiative areas and where we’re heading in the New Year:

Growing NIP Membership: I’m pleased to share that we broke the “800” total membership barrier and are forecasting to grow further in the future. We’re focused on expanding our total force representation—expanding the number of our uniformed sailors (officer/enlisted/active/reserve/veteran) and our tremendous government civilian warriors (past and present). We’re also positioned to make ourselves truly “naval”, bringing aboard Marine Corps Intelligence Professionals and expanding/establishing programs accordingly. We’re projecting 2024 to be a year of significant growth.

Expanding and Reinvigorating NIP Chapters: You’ve likely noted additional social activities from the chapters being highlighted on our website. Several of our chapters have started meeting in person on a regular basis, and we’d like to see that continue and expand over the next year. The Capital chapter, in cooperation with our membership chair, has reinitiated monthly happy hour gatherings, and we invite all Naval Intelligence professionals stationed here or traveling through the area to join us. Membership isn’t required to attend—feel free to help us advertise and bring a friend! In addition to the current chapters, we have some shipmates who are taking steps to create a chapter in Japan, and as we further integrate the Marine Corps into NIP, we’ll be assessing whether that expansion may require some additional chapters as well. We’re anticipating expansion of NIP chapters and chapter activity in 2024.

Increasing Communications with the Membership: The NIP’s flagship publication, the READBOOK, continues to be well received. Our ability to continue to provide a truly professional product with quality content and engagement has been buoyed by last year’s decision to increase the resources dedicated to ensuring the READBOOK sets the gold standard and meets members’ expectations and professional needs—we will sustain this production as a priority. We’ll also continue sending out this new quarterly “seasonal” communication and persist in our effort to improve our website and social media presence. You should see a redesign and reboot of our social media presence on Facebook and LinkedIn in early 2024 and perhaps an expansion to additional platforms. 

Although not directly related to the three initiative areas above, you’ll see us also investing in our ability to communicate outside our membership. As a 501(c)(3) we’d like to educate the public about the value our nation derives from Naval Intelligence Professionals. Project 2032 and our partnership with the USS Midway Museum will provide us with the opportunity to tell our story, and 2024 will be a busy year for both important initiatives.

In addition to confirming my own appointment as NIP Chair, we welcomed three new members to the NIP Board of Directors during our annual open board meeting and luncheon in October: Steve Horrell as President; Jon Hilzinger as Membership Chair; and Ally Wagner as our new Outreach and Communications Committee Chair. We also said “farewell” and a big “thank you” to our former president, Bill Bray, and our former membership and outreach leads Steve Shepard and Joe Cheneler (with us that day in spirit). Bill, Steve, and Joe will remain active members of the NIP. Please take the time to thank them personally for all they’ve done for the community the next time you see them.

As I’ve noted in separate correspondence, although we have taken some hits on the value of some of our holdings (like the rest of the world), NIP remains in a healthy financial status due to our Foundation and the investments made in our longer-term accounts. We do not cover all our costs solely on membership dues, though, and are currently in the midst of our end-of-year donation campaign. Please consider donating and making it a tradition going forward. Every contribution makes a difference, no matter the size, and is greatly appreciated as we try to shape the future. You can transfer funds in two ways:

In closing, I want to provide a special thanks to all those who are deployed and/or standing the watch over these holidays. We thank you and your families for your service and sacrifices. What you do is special and necessary—even though not necessarily understood or appreciated by the general population. During the Naval Intelligence Dining-In earlier this month Vice Admiral Kelly Aeschbach provided those attending just a little insight into the tremendous contributions from our community in dealing with the myriad of ongoing complex security challenges. Even at the unclassified level skimming the wave tops, the stories were impressive and eye watering. We’re with you in spirit—proud to call you shipmates.

Happy Holidays to all of you and your families. Wishing everyone a 2024 filled with health, happiness, joy, and success!

Best, Bob

NIP Chair