NAVSOC Holds Change of Command, Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Story Number: NNS120426-27Release Date: 4/26/2012 4:33:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua J. Wahl, Fleet Cyber Command / U.S. 10th Fleet Public Affairs

POINT MUGU, Calif. (NNS) -- The Naval Satellite Operations Center (NAVSOC) held a combined change of command and 50th anniversary ceremony aboard Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu, April 12.

Capt. Jeffery P. Marshall relieved Capt. Kevin R. Johnson as NAVSOC's commanding officer. The ceremony also honored a half-century of service from the commands start-up roots under the name Navy Astronautics Group (NAG).

NAVSOC is a component command of the Naval Network Warfare Command operating under the guidance of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command (FLTCYBERCOM)/U.S. 10th Fleet (10F). It is responsible for managing, operating and maintaining assigned satellite systems to provide reliable satellite services to the joint warfighter in support of naval and national requirements.

NAVSOC's military and civilian personnel, past and present gathered to listen to guest speaker Rear Adm. Matthew J. Kohler, deputy commander, FLTCYBERCOM/10F, discuss the commands importance to the Navy and joint operations.

"Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations and his predecessor, Adm. Gary Roughead made it clear that our communications networks and our ability to command control or C2 have become a critical warfighting capability," said Kohler.

"Navy C2 is intrinsically interwoven into how we fight. It is an essentially capability, not only for ability to operate on a daily basis but an absolute necessity to our ability to defend, fight and win."

During the ceremony Kohler expressed great respect for the men and women at NAVSOC who worked diligently under Johnson's leadership to maintain warfighter superiority across a full spectrum of joint military operations.

"His team focused 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the year with a 99.9 percent availability for 13 satellites spanning four constellations," said Kohler. "With a 99.4 percent success rate on over 200,000 satellite support operations for Navy controlled satellites they supported operations world-wide including Afghanistan and Iraq. No other navy or nation enjoys that kind of support, period."

Kohler commended Johnson's direction in the planning, development and installation of all necessary requirements to launch the Navy's new narrowband tactical satellite, Mobile User Objective System (MUOS). This marked the second time in naval history that a geosynchronous satellite was commanded and monitored by Navy Satellite Operations Center.

"Even as we speak MUOS is greatly advancing support to the warfighter while taking its place in orbit on its way to full operational capability." Kohler said. "Johnson met NAVSOC's demanding mission and prepared the command well for the challenge of the road ahead."

Following his remarks, Kohler awarded Johnson the Meritorious Service Medal for his exceptional performance as commanding officer from November 2008 to April 2012.

"It is rare to see the root of strategic planning realized in the same tour you began," said Johnson. "I will forever be in awe of what this command has accomplished and has yet to accomplish."

Johnson took time to reminisce about the success of the command's history during his outgoing speech, crediting the commitment of the present and past crew who in April 10, 1962 formed the NAG to fill a critical strategic need for a navigational satellite system in the Navy.

"Providing these navigation services was the lifeblood of the NAG for almost 30 years," said Johnson. The team that performed this mission built Navy satellite operations capability, literally from the ground up."

Johnson continued with the command's history stating by early 1990's the NAG operation had run its course with the Air force taking over satellite navigation. At the same time the group made and won a case to begin flying the Navy's communication satellite's, for which, until then, had been flown by the Air Force. This marked a key transition in the command's history.

"It was then that the NAG was renamed as The Naval Satellite Operations Center and began operating the Navy's satellite communication system," said Johnson. "With a few notable exceptions the SATCOM mission has been the driving force for the NAVSOC mission ever since."

Shifting gears back to the change of command Johnson praised the incoming commanding officer for his passion to continue NAVSOC's successful legacy as the 20th commanding officer.

"We were mission built 50 years ago for one purpose," Marshall said. "To do this mission, to ensure communications and support those who are in harms way."

Marshall highlighted his anticipation and priorities for NAVSOC's future.

"If we are unable to operate, communications, orders do not get to the field and to those downrange who need them globally," said Marshall. "The world is not static. Each person in uniform and out of uniform is crucial to our success 24/7, 365, wartime or not, we are enduring."

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