NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — President Joe Biden’s pick to be the next U.S. Navy deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare and director of naval intelligence is an ideal candidate with precious frontline experience, according to the man who currently holds the position.

Vice Adm. Jeffrey Trussler on April 3 told C4ISRNET that Vice Adm. Karl Thomas, for now the commander of the 7th Fleet in Japan, is the “perfect replacement for me,” given his time in the Indo-Pacific and exposure to at-sea issues.

“He’s operating in that environment right now,” Trussler said after a speech at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference in National Harbor, Maryland. “Everything we’re trying to do here in D.C. — policy, requirements and resourcing, the ideas we have — he’s going to have come right from there.”

Information warfare is a fusion of offensive and defensive electronic capabilities and cyber operations. It combines data collection, analysis and manipulation to gain an upper hand. Trussler has been in the job since June 2020 and is retiring.

The fleet Thomas commands is devoted to the Indo-Pacific, a massive region the Biden administration considers invaluable to international stability, financial health and military readiness. The fleet regularly works with friendly forces from Australia, South Korea, New Zealand and more; its area of operations spans more than 124 million square-kilometers.

The Senate received Thomas’ nomination March 6. It was referred to the Senate Armed Services Committee but has not yet advanced.

If and when Thomas is confirmed, Trussler said, the 7th Fleet commander should use his experience to compare and evaluate in his new post everything he’s “been seeing and doing for the last two years to everything we’re doing” in Washington.

“He’s going to provide extraordinary clarity to some of the capabilities that we need,” Trussler said.

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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