Rear Adm. Tighe was born in Bowling Green, Ky., and raised in Plantation, Fla. She was commissioned from the U.S. Naval Academy as an ensign (special duty cryptology) in 1984 after earning a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics.
Tighe’s cryptologic operational tours include duty with Naval Security Group Activities in Florida, Virginia, Atsugi/Misawa Japan and on the Pacific Fleet staff.
In 1989, Tighe studied Russian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif. She was subsequently assigned to the Naval Security Group Detachment Atsugi, Japan, where she earned Naval Aviation Observer wings while deployed as an airborne special evaluator aboard VQ-1 EP-3E aircraft in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Shield/Storm. During her tour, Tighe served as operations officer and assistant officer in charge, in addition to accumulating over 1,200 operational flight hours in the EP-3E aircraft.
Tighe attended the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif., and in 2001 was awarded a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and a M.S. in Applied Mathematics. She subsequently reported to the Naval Information Warfare Activity, where she served as chief staff officer and chief engineer. During her tour she earned a Level III DAWIA certification in Program Management.
Tighe reported as director, Sea Warrior at Naval Security Group Headquarters in July 2004 where she oversaw the development of the Human Capital Strategy for NSG and the IW/Cryptologic community. She fleeted up to the chief of staff in August 2005 and prepared the staff for merger with Naval Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM). She also served as deputy director of Information Operations within NETWARCOM.
From July 2006 through September 2009, Tighe commanded over 2,800 multi-service and multi-agency personnel at the National Security Agency/Central Security Service Hawaii in Kunia. Following command, she served for a year as the executive assistant to director, National Security Agency/chief, Central Security Service and commander, U.S. Cyber Command.
Tighe reported as the director, Decision Superiority on the OPNAV N2N6F4 staff in July 2011 after serving as the deputy director of Operations for U.S. Cyber Command. In November 2012, she was named interim president of the Naval Postgraduate School.
Tighe has been awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (second award), the Strike/Flight Air Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (fourth award), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.