GUEST POST from an anonymous (to you) member of the Information Warfare Community who has tired of all the discussion about "first woman this and first woman that".
If the Navy feels the need to repeatedly tell the world that a stellar Naval officer was the "first" woman to do something, they are failing in their public relations efforts and in the newsworthiness of that officer's accomplishments. Pointing out that someone is the "first" anything is usually a waste of time. "First" matters a lot less than "BEST". Even "better" matters more than "first". Honestly, "first" diminishes the achievement when it is followed by religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, country of birth, branch of service, sex, or virtually any other 'qualifier'.
Such is the case with VADM Jan Tighe. It is not so much the achievement of the "first" that should be focused on, but rather the road she took getting there. And, it was a long hard road.
- 1984 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, (not the first).
- EA to the Commander, U.S. Cyber Command. (Not the first).
- Command of NSA/CSS Hawaii. (Not the first).
- Russian linguist. (Not the first).
- Wartime Flight Operations - Desert Shield/Desert Storm. (Not the first).
- Deputy PM, Navy Information Warfare Activity. (Not the first).
- U.S. Cyber Command Deputy J3. (Not the first).
- OPNAV N2/N6 Director, Decision Superiority. (Not the first).
- President of the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). (Not the first).
- Deputy Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/TENTH Fleet. (Not the first).
- M.S. Applied Mathematics, NPS (Not the first).
- PhD Electrical Engineering, NPS (Not the first).
- Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/TENTH Fleet. (Not the first).
- Mastered the art of life/work balance - wife to a pretty cool guy and mother to two bright children. (Not the first).
There is a lesson for Sheryl Sandberg, author of LEAN IN, here. "Sheryl, if your aim is to help women sit at the table - your aim is a bit off. You should have them focus on sitting at the head of the table. VADM Tighe can tell you that, especially with regard to the Navy, women have been at the table for quite some time. And many are rightfully sitting at the head of that table."