US Navy creates cyber warfare development group unit

Navy Reserve leaders formally inaugurated a new Navy Cyber Warfare Development Group (NCWDG) Reserve unit during a ceremony at Fort George G Meade in Maryland.  “We at U.S. Fleet Cyber Command are determine to increase our competitive advantages over our nation’s adversaries by focusing on our capabilities, processes, and mostly importantly, our people” said Butler. “This new Reserve unit will leverage reservists’ skill sets to support the active duty NCWDG component and its overall mission to test and deliver advanced cyber, cryptologic and electronic warfare capabilities to the Navy.

Orders for the new NCWDG unit started Jan. 1. Its Sailors and Marines were previously operating as a NCWDG directorate within the FCC /U.S. 10th Fleet (C10F) reserve structure, also under Lee’s direction. Although they will now operate independently, their focus will still be on providing new capabilities to FCC/C10F and U.S. Cyber Command (USCC).

I’m really pleased that we can harness reserve skill sets to augment key active duty and command capabilities,” said Capt. James Lee, the new unit’s commanding officer. “This would not have been possible without active duty support and recognition of what reservists can bring to the table.”

The unit will provide support in four areas: acquisitions, program and project management, research and development, and technical expertise. But that may not be all, said Capt. Michael B. Tanner, FCC/C10F reserve component director.  “With the stand up of NR NCWDG, we can now assign reservists with the right experience dedicated to NCWDG’s mission, as well as establish links with other elements of the Reserve Acquisition and R&D community,” Tanner said.

The NCWDG unit combines a number of different designators from across the Navy, including Engineering Duty and Information Warfare Officers.  “There is a growing demand for Reservist skill sets from all designators,” said Lee. “This is where it all comes together. Regardless of their designator, they have impressive skill sets from their civilian work they can apply to Navy needs.”

Lee opted for a traditional stand up ceremony, including giving “plank owner” certificates to the unit’s founding members, something traditionally given to crew members present at a ship’s first commissioning, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command.

NCWDG serves as the Navy’s Center for Cyber Warfare innovation. For over 30 years, NCWDG has conducted technical research and development to create, test and deliver advanced cyber, cryptologic and electronic warfare capabilities to the Navy using rapid prototyping and acquisition authority. As FCC’s lead for cyberspace operations innovation, NCWDG military and civilian personnel experiment with and test new cyberspace capabilities to meet the strategic and operational goals of Fleet and Combatant Commanders.

Jeremy Parkin