Fort George G. Meade. Md. –
Rear Adm. William E. Chase, III, deputy commander of Joint Force Headquarters – Department of Defense Information Network, bid farewell to a distinguished military career spanning 33 years during a ceremony held at Fort George G. Meade on August 18.
The retirement ceremony, hosted by the commander of JFHQ-DODIN, Air Force Lt. Gen Robert J. Skinner, and attended by fellow officers, Sailors, family, friends, and dignitaries, was a testament to the profound impact he has had on his colleagues and the Navy community.
Rear Adm. Chase’s journey in the U.S. Navy began over three decades ago, characterized by an unyielding commitment to the Navy’s core values of honor, courage, and commitment. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1990, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree with honors. He also earned a Master of Science from Carnegie Mellon University in Information Technology and a Chief Information Officer certificate. Rear Adm. Chase was designated a Naval Aviator in 1993 and an Information Professional in 2005.
His sea tours include Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light (HSL 45), where he deployed twice to the Arabian Gulf aboard USS Ingraham (FFG 61), and HSL 49, where he served as maintenance officer and deployed as officer in charge of the HSL Detachment aboard USS Shiloh (CG 67) during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
Ashore, Rear Adm. Chase served as operations officer for Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Pacific; deputy assistant chief of staff for Requirements, Innovation and Experimentation at Third Fleet; deputy director of Command Control, Communications and Cyber at U.S. Pacific Command; chief of staff for Naval Information Forces; Deputy Director, Joint Staff J6; director of the Protecting Critical Technologies Task Force; and deputy principal cyber advisor to the Secretary of Defense.
His command tours include Task Force 1010, Naval Network Warfare Command, and Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Guam. He also served as Information Warfare Commander, Carrier Strike Group 3 with John C. Stennis Strike Group.
The ceremony’s atmosphere was a blend of naval tradition, reverence, and celebration. Throughout the ceremony, attendees were reminded of the sacrifices and accomplishments that Rear Adm. Chase had witnessed and contributed to throughout his illustrious career. His retirement serves as a reminder of the dedication and service that military personnel demonstrate every day, often behind the scenes, to ensure the safety and security of their nation.
During the ceremony, Lt. Gen. Skinner reflected on Rear Adm. Chase's achievements and the legacy he leaves behind.
“Today, we’re saying goodbye to an individual who has served his nation with distinction and honor and has been a big part of all our lives. While we recognize 33 years of selfless and dedicated service, we also highlight the key impacts Rear Adm. Chase had on the Department of Defense and the nation as a whole,” Lt. Gen Skinner said.
He lauded RADM Chase’s leadership as the first Navy Strike Group Information Warfare Commander, emphasized his important work on the Joint Staff supporting the Chairman’s drive to making the joint warfighting concept a reality, and praised his efforts to ensure all key stakeholders understood the importance of the cyber mission force.
Lt. Gen Skinner explained that Rear Adm. Chase had been the day-to-day driver at JFHQ-DODIN to secure, operate, and defend the DODIN and expressed his gratitude for the exceptional achievements.
“As the Commander, there was never a day I was worried about what was happening because Bill Chase was at the helm. On behalf of JFHQ-DODIN and your partners still in service and retired, thank you. Words cannot express our appreciation for not only what you have done over the last 33 years, but what you set the stage for in the future,” he said.
One of the most poignant moments of the event was Rear Adm. Chase’s own speech during which he expressed his deep appreciation for the JFHQ-DODIN personnel and those across the DoD who made the cyber community an exceptional sum of its parts. He shared anecdotes from his career, offering insights into the challenges he faced over the years and the camaraderie that sustained him through tough times.
“In every tour I’ve had, there have been tough challenges, interesting missions, outstanding shipmates, and lifelong friends as well. As I reflected on my career this week, I’m struck by how much I’ve learned from each one of those tours,” he said.
“I am intensely proud to be part of this [JFHQ-DODIN] team for the past two years. We’ve worked together to address a number of tough problems. I’ve seen JFHQ-DODIN mature significantly during that time and I know you are still picking up steam,” he added.
As Rear Adm. Chase received his retirement orders, he was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal in recognition of his outstanding service and leadership, which enabled JFHQ-DODIN to promote a unified force approach to cyber defense command and control across all global DoD components in securing, operating, and defending the DODIN. The medal underscored the remarkable nature of his career and served as a visual representation of the countless lives he had impacted positively.
His exceptional insight and direction contributed immeasurably to the maturation of the command and the organization’s readiness posture, by applying the principles of joint warfare to DODIN operations and defensive operations within the cyberspace domain. Rear Adm. Chase delivered selfless dedication and unmatched strategic outcomes that monumentally improved command and control of Network Operations and Defensive Cyberspace Operations for all DoD assets comprising seven million computers, 1,500 networks, and 20,000 telecommunications circuits valued at over $30 billion. His leadership has accelerated the headquarters toward full mission capability and postured the DoD to excel against all future cyberspace challenges.
While the ceremony marked the conclusion of his active military service, it also signaled the beginning of a new chapter for Rear Adm. Chase. He shared his plans for the future, which included spending quality time with his family, pursuing personal interests, and continuing to contribute to his community through various initiatives.
As new leaders step up to fill the void, they do so with the knowledge that they are building upon a solid foundation laid by Rear Adm. Chase, a Naval officer who exemplify the very best of the U.S. military. His legacy and dedication to service have left an indelible mark on the DoD cyber community, and his influence will undoubtedly endure through the careers and lives he had touched.
Joint Force Headquarters – Department of Defense information Network is the U.S. Cyber Command component that leads DoD’s unified force approach to network operations, security, and defense across the Department of Defense Information Network, commonly known as the DODIN. This global command and control responsibility underpinning all DoD missions works to ensure mission assurance and bolster DoD’s competitive advantage. The Command’s mission covers a broad range of activities on behalf of U.S. Cyber Command including proactive, threat-informed steps to reduce cyber risk across the DODIN, and leading response to attacks against the DODIN to ensure network operations remain agile and resilient. The JFHQ-DODIN commander, Lt. Gen Robert Skinner, is dual-hatted as the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).