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Retired Vice Adm. Jan Tighe

PhD in Electrical Engineering, ‘01
Former Commander of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, NPSF Advisory Council Member

Retired Vice Admiral Jan Tighe graduated from NPS in 2001 with a PhD in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in applied mathematics. In 2012, she came back to NPS to serve as the president of the school, where she now serves as a member of the NPS Foundation Advisory Council. Admiral Tighe retired from the U.S. Navy in 2018 after serving as the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare and as the 66th Director of Naval Intelligence. Previously, she served as the Commander of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and U.S. 10th Fleet, where she was the first woman to command a numbered fleet. She currently serves on the board of directors for Goldman Sachs, the Huntsman Corporation, Progressive Insurance and IronNet Cybersecurity.

How would you describe your NPS experience?  

I initially had a difficult time transitioning from a leadership role for so many years to being focused on my own education. It felt selfish and uncomfortable. I quickly realized that this professional investment of time would make me a much more capable cryptologist and leader. I committed to gaining as much knowledge as possible and truly enjoyed the NPS academic environment.

What are some highlights from your time at NPS and in Monterey? 

My highlights are all about the people… from getting to know my fellow students from different communities, services and allied countries to getting a sense of the incredibly committed faculty as professors, advisors and friends. Beyond the NPS family, Monterey has so much to enjoy … It still feels like home to me and my family.

What does it mean to you to now serve as part of the NPS Foundation Advisory Council? 

I am excited to be able to stay connected with and contribute to the NPS mission as a member of the advisory council. I am hopeful that we can foster new partnerships and facilitate investments in NPS that both elevate the student experiences and faculty research opportunities in relevant, cutting-edge technologies.

How did your NPS experience benefit you in your post-NPS career?  

I always considered my graduate program in Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics to be a course of study in my warfare area of Information Warfare and Cryptology. It was all about mastering our battle space, the electromagnetic spectrum and cyberspace. All graduate programs at NPS hone critical thinking and communication skills, both of which are so important for military leaders.

Looking back at your naval career, what brings you the most pride?  

I am most proud of the significant accomplishments by those I have had the privilege to lead and mentor. Nothing else comes close to the sense of pride and fulfillment that I get knowing that, in some small way, I shaped future mission accomplishment by investing and believing in my people.

What are some of the most pressing cybersecurity issues currently facing the Navy and the Department of Defense (DoD)?

When I retired in 2018, my top priorities were securing the Navy’s operational technologies and platforms from cyber attacks and ensuring our critical unclassified data was protected inside our own networks and in the networks of our defense contractors. I know the Navy and DoD are committed to making progress in these areas, but it’s necessarily a long road. The adversary never stops trying to find new ways to defeat our mission, so we must continually upgrade our cyber defensive capabilities to meet these challenges.

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