Sunday, May 25, 2014

Battle of Midway Commemoration June 4-7

Information Dominance Leaders,

On Wednesday, June 4, the U.S. Navy will once again pause to commemorate the Battle of Midway, which occurred June 4-7, 1942.

In official ceremonies at the U.S. Navy Memorial here in the Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, in Hawaii and other Navy stations around the world, we will take the time to honor those who triumphed over the Imperial Japanese Navy in this historic encounter.

Midway was the turning point in the Pacific theater of operations in World War II.  During that battle, U.S. Navy carrier strike forces, augmented by shore-based bombers and torpedo planes decisively defeated an Imperial Japanese navy carrier task force.  These actions prevented the Japanese from capturing Midway Island and the success marked the dawn of the U.S. Navy's global prominence.

The Battle of Midway also looms large in the history of what we now call the Information Dominance Corps (IDC).  As detailed in the Navy's "Course to Midway" webpages ( and in the attached IDEA No. 26 from May of 2013, key to Admiral Chester Nimitz's decision to engage the Japanese at Midway were the seminal efforts of the U.S. Navy's code breakers.

Led by Admiral Nimitz's Fleet Intelligence Officer, Captain Edwin Layton, and his Fleet Cryptologist, Commander Joe Rochefort, these unknown and unheralded specialists enabled an enhanced awareness of the Midway battlespace that culminated in Nimitz's superior decisions. They not only provided insight into Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's intentions, but revealed where and when his carriers would focus their attack. This highly skilled and knowledgeable group decrypted the Japanese Navy's operational code and delivered timely, actionable information that allowed Nimitz to ambush Yamamoto's force.

In doing so, they pioneered the concepts of Information Dominance that we maintain today.

As we approach this year's commemoration, I urge you to share the IDEA and link with your respective staffs and crews, and take the time to discuss what this battle represents - the emergence of the U.S. Navy as a global power and the foreshadowing of the IDC as warfighters bringing the power of information dominance to the fight.


Ted "Twig" Branch
VADM              USN


Anonymous said...

As a community it is important to focus on Midway. But we need to expand our aperture a bit and reflect on more recent events, of similar import, where members of our community made a significant contribution, some giving their lives.

Anonymous said...

We should look at what decision points, policies and practices resulted in people like Layton and Rochefort and their organizations being where they were in June 1942. The training they had (3 years of immersion training in Japan), the personnel policies that allowed these officers to become experts in their fields, I'm afraid are gone now. How where the organizations built, after Pearl Harbor, into such responsive organizations. And then finally, what can we learn from how they approached things? Could we replacate what they did? Is our Navy today flexible enough to raise people and build organizations that can do the things they did? Do we have leaders that can make these things happen? If the answer to any of these questions is no, why not? What can we do to fix it?

Anonymous said...

@anon 1013,

I'm in favor of 3 years of immersion training for all our information warriors in either Afghanistan, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. Since information dominators won the war I think they should be prepared by immersing themselves in the culture of the enemy for a good long time.

Let me know how that works for you and your family.