Lieutenant Commander, US Navy, Information Warfare/IP (1820)
Years of service: 2000 - 2020
A native of Minnesota, I joined the Navy in July 2000 as an enlisted Information Systems Technician, commissioned via Officer Candidate School as a Surface Warfare Officer in 2009, and became an Information Warfare Officer (Information Professional designator) in 2011. I specialize in surface force telecommunications, information systems, and cybersecurity, and hold advanced qualifications in both Surface and Information Warfare.
Over a 20 year career, I've served aboard several warships, over 8 years as ship's company and over one thousand cumulative days at-sea: the frigate USS ELROD (FFG 55) as an enlisted technician, the cruiser USS VELLA GULF (CG 72) as her Communications Officer, and the expeditionary flagship USS ESSEX (LHD 2) as her CIO/CISO (IT/Cyber dept head). Sea duty has been a passion of mine, a truly unique experience that combines my affinity for technology and operations with my love for leading and mentoring. All of the best the Navy has to offer happens at sea: that's why we call them sea stories!
I've had quite a few interesting shore assignments as well, expanding my policy writing and strategic thinking: The White House operating the President's Emergency Operations Center (PEOC), Naval Information Forces staff supporting Fleet cybersecurity training, Staff of the Chief of Naval Operations in the Pentagon working requirements and as an aide to a 2-star admiral, and the Navy Office of Legislative Affairs coordinating with the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill.
In 2014, one of my Navy mentors challenged me to publish in the Navy's unofficial professional journal, Proceedings (a publication of the U.S. Naval Institute in Annapolis, MD). I published "The Next Generation of Afloat Networks" in Mar 2015 and discovered that I had a lot more to say. I've since challenged myself to submit articles for publishing at least once a year in topics from my professional core: information technology, cybersecurity, and maritime security.
I'm fortunate to be a part of a warfare community, and free-thinking Naval officer corps that respects and values original thought and discourse; technology and cyber warfare concepts are always evolving and there is a lot to talk about! I am proud and humbled to follow in the footsteps of Naval thinkers and writers before me, and to publish in the same venerated journals as giants such as Alfred T. Mahan, Thomas Edison, John Lehman, Chester W. Nimitz, and Theodore Roosevelt. Our Navy, and our military as a whole, has a rich warrior-scholar history, and I will continue to support this long after I retire from active duty as a life member of these organizations
Not all of my writing has been via professional journals: I'm an active writer on LinkedIn (republished via blog posts on this site) and have published several pieces about leadership and technology management; distilling lessons learned from the military into something everyone can use... including a few sea stories I've experienced along the way.
I'm happily married to the former Rachel Hastings, and we surround ourselves with all sorts of furry beasts that keep us entertained (and doing a lot of cleaning). We enjoy relaxing at home with our multiple dogs and cats, cooking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Rachel Howard is a senior manager for Starbucks Coffee Company, an MBA graduate, and a passionate volunteer for numerous local community and military spouse organizations, including as a Navy Family Ombudsman and Chapter Leader for the Travis Manion Foundation (TMF). She has a passion for theater and fine arts, and is a voracious advocate for animals (her parents help organize a national dog rescue association).
Copyright © 2019 Travis D. Howard - All Rights Reserved. All content is the sole opinion of the author and is not affiliated with the United States Navy, Department of Defense, or the United States Federal Government.