WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden nominated Vice Adm. Karl Thomas, commander of the U.S. Navy 7th Fleet in Japan, to become a top information warfare official.

Thomas was tapped to be the next deputy chief of naval operations for information warfare, N2/N6, and director of naval intelligence, according to a U.S. Department of Defense announcement made March 8. The Senate received the nomination two days prior, according to congressional records.

Information warfare is a fusion of offensive and defensive electronic capabilities and cyber operations. It combines data collection, awareness and manipulation to gain an advantage — before, during and after battles.

Should senators confirm Thomas, he will succeed Vice Adm. Jeffrey Trussler, who took the post in June 2020. Exactly where Trussler is headed is not immediately clear.

The fleet Thomas commands is dedicated to the Indo-Pacific, an area the Biden administration considers critical to international stability, financial well-being and military readiness. The fleet regularly works alongside friendly forces from Australia, South Korea, New Zealand and more. Its area of operations spans more than 124 million square kilometers.

Thomas in August said unsafe intercepts of U.S. and allied aircraft by China have become increasingly common in the region.

While overall interactions remain “professional,” he said at a briefing in Singapore, according to Navy Times, there has been an uptick in risky behavior.

“There’s things that are understood and the normal rules-based international order of how you professionally operate,” Thomas said at the time. “And then there’s things that are provocative. And it’s the provocative nature of the intercepts that’s got our attention, and we’re trying to understand it.”

Colin Demarest was a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covered military networks, cyber and IT. Colin had 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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