SAN DIEGO — U.S. Navy officials said the service’s next principal cyber advisor would be in place in the coming weeks, while declining to divulge exactly who would soon be taking the digital reins.

The PCA is charged with instituting Department of Defense mandates as well as keeping the secretary of the Navy, chief of naval operations and Marine Corps officials apprised of all cyber matters. The position is a result of the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act and is closely tied to the role of chief information officer.

Scott St. Pierre, who has served as the PCA in recent months, on Feb. 13 said the next person for the job has been selected by Navy leadership and is expected “in the next two to six weeks.” St. Pierre would not say who that may be, and joked he was “just here to keep the seat warm” in the meantime.

St. Pierre succeeded Chris Cleary, the Navy’s first cyber advisor and former naval officer. Cleary joined defense contractor ManTech in January after years on the job.

The Navy is reworking its cyber practices amid growing threats, both domestic and international, to digital infrastructure. The service in November published its first cyber strategy, which argued neither ship nor torpedo alone would strike the deciding blow in future wars. Rather, it stated, the use of non-kinetic effects that may not be seen but still wreak havoc on enemy systems will increasingly decide outcomes.

The next PCA will need to bring people together and foster a shared sense of cyber responsibility, according to St. Pierre.

“Each and everyone of us in this room today has a responsibility to cybersecurity, whether it’s talking about it, whether it’s educating somebody about it, whether it’s helping your boss understand we need to put a little more money into it,” he said at the conference, jointly hosted by AFCEA and the U.S. Naval Institute.

Colin Demarest is a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covers military networks, cyber and IT. Colin previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.

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