Rear Adm. Gene Price relieved Rear Adm. Kelly Aeschbach as commander Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) in a change-of-command ceremony at the National Maritime Intelligence Center in Suitland, Md. Aeschbach will serve as the next commander, Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR) in Suffolk, Va.
The Senate confirmed Aeschbach’s nomination and a promotion to vice admiral April 29 and her promotion ceremony will take place May 7 prior to the NAVIFOR change of command.
Price also assumed duties as director of the National Maritime Intelligence Office (NMIO) in a virtual change of directorship ceremony held prior to the ONI change of command. Price previously served as interim ONI commander and NMIO director from January to June 2019, when he was re-assigned from NAVIFOR to fill a gap between active-duty assignments. He was also the first reservist to lead ONI.
Price was commissioned as an intelligence officer in 1986. He assumed command of Naval Information Forces Reserve in 2017 and he served as the Navy’s senior representative at the 58th Presidential Inauguration in January 2017. He has received numerous awards and campaign medals.
As a civilian, he is an attorney and member of Frost Brown Todd LLC, a nationally ranked law firm where he specializes in insurance litigation, cyber security, and maritime law. He has also been selected by his peers as a member of “Best Lawyers in America.”
Price will serve as ONI commander and NMIO director until Rear Adm. Curt Copley takes command in June. Copley previously served at ONI from December 2011 to August 2013 as commanding officer of the Kennedy Irregular Warfare Center, one of ONI’s five commands.
The change-of-command ceremony official party included Vice Adm. Jeffrey Trussler, deputy chief of naval operations for Information Warfare and director of Naval Intelligence and Scott Bray, deputy director of naval intelligence and director of the Naval Intelligence Activity.
Aeschbach will oversee 600 military and civilian employees who generate Information Warfare (IW) readiness across the fleet, including direct administrative control of more than 85 commands and activities manning approximately 20,000 billets across the globe.
NAVIFOR is responsible for IW doctrine, policy, and governance; training requirements; and community management. Aeschbach relieves Vice Adm. Brian Brown who has served as NAVIFOR commander since June 2018.
Aeschbach’s tenure at ONI included leading 3,000 civilian and military personnel through the challenges of the global pandemic that began nine months after her arrival. She implemented a series of health protection measures and employed creative, agile communication strategies to lead an abruptly distributed workforce. During her time at ONI, she was a strong diversity and inclusion advocate and held a series of town halls to help the workforce understand and process issues of race and diversity in the workplace during a time of national social unrest.
ONI and NMIO are the leading providers of global maritime intelligence and intelligence integration, respectively, for the intelligence community.