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Vice Adm. Timothy J. White, USN (Ret)

Modeling & Simulation Strategic Advisor to NPS
MS in Systems Technology (C3) ‘93

Vice Adm. TJ White is a 30-plus year national security practitioner, strategist, and cyber operations expert leading joint military formations and combined intelligence community organizations. He has commanded at all levels within the Navy and Joint Service, most recently as the Commander, United States Fleet Cyber Command / United States TENTH Fleet / United States Navy Space Command and previously as the Commander, United States Cyber National Mission Force / USCYBERCOM. He is a former Director of Intelligence for United States Indo-Pacific Command and has served globally in various combat zones and conflict areas supporting competition dynamics. A former CINCPACFLT Shiphandler-of-the-Year, he misses his days driving a Battleship.

He is a 1987 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and holds additional diplomas from the Naval Postgraduate School, Naval War College, National Defense University and myriad professional education institutions.

"MOVES can be much more than the knowledge and tradecraft of M&S, experimentation, and design. It can become a deliberate bridge to Joint Force and Fleet Commanders. Particularly in partnership with NWSI."

What is one key lesson or insight you gained during your time at NPS that has had a lasting impact on your career and/or leadership style?

Never ask a retired FLAG Officer to say just one thing …

1: Looking back, because I was in a FULLY JOINT curriculum (30 student cohort, 30/30/30/10 split +civilians), I was effectively “joint” simply by association; a real ‘leg up’ on the next fifteen years of my career BEFORE getting into the last 10.

2: The demand to be intellectually curious where the entire process was about gaining confidence based on a rigorous approach to data and analysis; STRONG and RESILIENT foundation for later in life – whether mission analysis or leadership challenges – when you know how to deal with having your assumptions challenged, assertions questioned, and analysis/assessments critiqued. 

In your current roles, you oversee both information technology and modeling and simulation programs and processes at NPS. How do these domains intersect, and how are they collectively contributing to the Navy's mission readiness and cybersecurity efforts?

First, it was a real privilege to be invited by the DoN CIO to share a chair with my friend and shipmate, LtGen Lori Reynolds, USMC (Ret). Frankly, that was the clincher. I would also say that ‘fact of’ overlap and intersection with Lori on mission and in uniform is very complimentary wherein we each get to play to our strengths.

Second, at the scale the DoN and Joint force need to continuously assess the present and innovate the future, you can’t plan nor execute absent both IT and M&S. To be very clear, IT (compute, storage, transport-communication, algorithms, ++) are required for M&S – real time, high fidelity, insight generating. It is more and bigger than that, but that is a good place to start.

What are some of the unique challenges and opportunities for the DOD in utilizing modeling & simulation for training and education and for decision making at the edge? How does the MOVES Institute contribute to the DOD's broader research and development efforts?

NPS MOVES can do more, but only with support of services and program sponsors. First – fill all existing billets. Second – Navy needs to step in and up; we’ve been absent for nearly a decade. Third – MOVES can be much more than the knowledge and tradecraft of M&S, experimentation, and design. It can become a deliberate bridge to Joint Force and Fleet Commanders. Particularly in partnership with NWSI.

Why should other academic institutions, research organizations, or industry partners collaborate with the MOVES institute? 

NPS / MOVES has three-plus decades of proven performance. It has existing relationships with other universities and research centers that can be leveraged to DO and DELIVER more and better. Creativity / Invention / Innovation doesn’t exist only in DOD or the academy; collaboration and teaming is the only path to success in a strategic competition when/where you are chased and chasing.

How would the integration of state-of-the-art technologies and spaces, like rapid prototyping labs and system simulation labs, impact education and research at the Naval Postgraduate School?

Simple – the better the infrastructure and tools, the more effective the knowledge transfer. Also, state-of-the-art is a minimum condition for strategic competition between $25 Trillion economies that have $T’s connective tissue but vastly different views of sovereignty and rules-based international order. It IS that simple.

How must the DOD innovate to meet the needs of the current and future threat environment? What role can NPS play?

Begin with tighter relationships between SystemCommands (SYSCOMs), Type Commands (TYCOMs) and NPS. More flow and collaboration, less friction. NPS warrior scholars are under-utilized and they are our Department’s secret sauce. The education they receive, and research they do, COULD be looked as a kind-of wartime reserve mode (WARM). Further, it is important to distinguish invention from innovation --- often confused. NPS can accelerate adaption and adoption at mass and scale for the Fleet, Fleet Marine Force, and Joint Force.

Multidomain deterrence involves the integration of capabilities across various domains, including maritime, cyber, space, and more. Can you discuss the challenges and opportunities in achieving an effective multidomain deterrence strategy and how NPS and the MOVES Institute can contribute to addressing these challenges?

Assuming agreement, adoption, and application of ALL these terms into a united approach, MOVES:

· enables the ability to build authoritative data driven models and high-fidelity simulation, 

· empowers the DOD, whole of government, whole of Nation assessment of credible deterrence profile, presence, and posture …and failing that, can generate foresight into options, branches, sequels and surprise, and 

· reinforces expectation within DOD and DoN to pressure test all the assumptions, assessments, and assertions that get made across the U.S. national security enterprise.

You can’t SEE the future, but you can experiment and practice for it. Bottom line: Deliver quality context to decision makers, preserve their decision space and timeline, and avoid surprise.

Why was it important to have a diverse group of modeling & simulation professionals from across industry, DOD, the Naval Postgraduate School, and NATO gather for the recent Modeling & Simulation Tech Day? What was your biggest takeaway from the event?

NATO, as always, has game when they bring it. Only have to look at last 20 months to see the value in that.

Diversity, in this case, is about MAXIMIZING the starting conditions in order to OPTIMIZE the analysis to GENERATE executable outcomes oriented on mission lethality and survivability. That last part ends up looking like a small list. Given that constraint, we can’t afford to miss any options because we start too narrow or small, which is why diversity in the beginning is vital.

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