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Pentagon Fills Key Cyber Command, Army Signals Slots

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on

WASHINGTON: An Army general was named Friday to head plans and policy at Cyber Command, based at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Maj. Gen. Jennifer Napper is moving from Fort Huachuca, where she headed Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, to Fort Meade, where she’ll be the director of plans and policy — staff section J-5 — for the inter-service Cyber Command. At Army NetCom, Napper helped consolidate the Army’s scattered email systems to a centralized “cloud” service called Enterprise Email, run by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Congress had ordered a halt to the migration over cost concerns but allowed it to resume in March. The outward and visible manifestation of this massive IT project has been the replacement of “@army.mil” addresses with “@mail.mil” ones. The deeper drivers, though, are cost savings and better security — the latter a particularly crucial issue in Napper’s new job at CyberCom.

Napper joined the military as a National Guard soldier in 1980, while studying at Texas A&M, then transferred to the active-duty force in 1983; she’s served in the Signal Corps ever since. She has deployed to Bosnia and Iraq, where she commanded a signals brigade. She is an advocate of using new network technology to restore old military virtues. “Mobile apps will change how we work,” she told Military Information Technology in an interview. “We will get people untethered from their desk, if we do this right. People in command and leadership positions don’t belong behind a desk, but out checking how things are going.”

Napper will be replaced as head of Army NetCom by Maj. Gen. Alan Lynn, currently commander of Fort Gordon, the Army’s “Signal Center of Excellence.” Lynn started his Army career in anti-aircraft unit in 1979 but moved to the Signals Corps in 1984, deploying to the first Gulf War in 1990-1991 as a signaller in the famed 101st Airborne Division. Like Napper, he has deployed to both Bosnia and Iraq.

Lynn will be replaced as commander at Fort Gordon, in turn, by Brig. Gen. — soon to be Maj. Gen. — LaWarren Patterson, who currently leads the 7th Signal Command, headquartered at Gordon but responsible for operating — and defending — Army networks across the Western Hemisphere. To bring the story full circle, when Patterson took over the 7th Signal in 2010, the commander he replaced was then-Brig. Gen. Napper.

Patterson’s own replacement at 7th Signal Command will be Brig. Gen. John Morrison, currently director of LandWarNet on the Army staff in the Pentagon, where he worked extensively on bringing mobile networking capabilities to combat units through the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation (NIE).

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