Career Notes 1.29.23
Ep 134 | 1.29.23

Charlie Moore: Pilot to head honcho in cyber. [Cyber Command]


Charlie Moore: Hello, my name is Lieutenant General Charlie "Tuna" Moore, retired. I was recently the Deputy Commander United States Cyber Command.

Charlie Moore: My father was a career Army officer and he was also a helicopter pilot, and so serving the nation was always something that was very, very, uh, important to my family and became very, very important to me. I was also fascinated by the fact that my father was a pilot and thought, well, if I can serve the nation and also be a pilot, I would love to figure out how to do that. The big difference was, uh, helicopters weren't quite as maneuverable or quite as fast as I wanted to go, so I really wanted to fly jets, and so the natural inclination then was to look to how I might be able to do that, and that led me to the United States Air Force Academy.

Charlie Moore: Coming from a military family, I didn't go to the academy with any illusions about what the environment was gonna be like, and surprisingly, there are a lot of people that do show up there and aren't quite sure what to expect. So I, I fully knew what to expect and what I was getting into and I found it challenging. The more and more time that I spent there and that I studied and I learned about the profession of arms and, and being an officer and also being a pilot, uh, the more I was convinced I was on the right path.

Charlie Moore: So when you're a freshman at the Academy, at least the time when I was there, you're given the opportunity to solo and a glider and that's the program that I became involved in as an instructor. And I found that, not only did I really enjoy flying, but I really enjoyed instructing as well. And I always knew that, uh, that if I was gonna go down this path, I wanted to fly jets, uh, I wanted to fly fighters and of course, there's no guarantee of that. It's based on your performance at pilot training and so that was the path and the goal that I had set for myself. During that process, I earned a F16, which made me very happy and then went off to F16 school. And then that kind of began my flying career inside the Air Force.

Charlie Moore: I think overarching it's the idea that this is a profession you can never solve. There are too many things that are always changing. There's updates to your aircraft, there's updates to your weapons that you're gonna employ off the aircraft, there's changes from your adversaries, changes their aircraft and their weapons, their tactics, techniques and procedures are changing. Yours are advancing. All these things come together to make for a very challenging, uh, environment, a very rewarding environment, and, and one that, uh, I have no doubt that was what I was put, uh, on the earth to do. Then to have a branch in my career at about that 25 year point where I really started entering and into the cyberspace a domain and realizing the importance of this domain, not just in terms of the defense of our nation, but the criticality that it played in terms of our ability to execute our traditional military capabilities in order to do that mission.

Charlie Moore: First off, I didn't own a computer until I was 25 years. And in fact, when I look back at my time at the Air Force Academy, I was the class of 1989. We were the last class to enter the Air Force Academy that was not issued at that time, desktop computers. So when I think about that as my, as my beginnings, and then 25 years later, I'm asked to be the uh, first director of operations at the combatant command, known as US Cyber Command, and to be responsible for all the day-to-day offense and defensive operations. It's a bit mind blowing, to me, but the first way that I was introduced to it was I had left the 57th Wing at Nellis and went on a year long deployment to Iraq. I returned late 2014, very early 2015, to work for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on the joint staff in the Pentagon as the Deputy Director for global operations.

Charlie Moore: I spent a little more than two years working a lot on the internal processes that we are going to have to execute to perform operations in cyberspace alongside and synchronize and integrated with those traditional military capabilities. So that's where I first really got deep into the space. At the end of that assignment, a little over two years, I was actually scheduled to return back to the Air Force. In fact, I had an assignment in hand and I got a phone call one day that said the director of the National Security Agency, admir Rogers, would like to talk to you. And so I called him and he asked me if I would be willing to come up to be his director of operations. And that we expected we would probably within the next year, elevate this organization to become at that time the 10th, uh, combatant command in the United States Department of Defense and it would be known as US Cyber Command. And I'll tell you, when he first asked me, I thought that he had actually, uh, was talking to the wrong guy, that maybe he had confused me with somebody else. But his vision, which I believe was very right at the time, was that we really needed to operationalize this domain. So that's how I ended up at, uh, US Cyber Command as a Director of Operations. I did that position for about three years. Once again, was preparing to leave to go back to the Air Force for a a job, and was already hired into another job as a three star, and at that time the director of the National Security Agency and then the commander of US Cyber Command General Nakasone, asked if I would stay and be the deputy, which I then did for two years.

Charlie Moore: I don't think they're gonna be unique, but find something that you're passionate about and if you're passionate about it, ,you're gonna enjoy everything that you're doing and you'll be able to get through down times and the up times and the challenges because they're gonna come and I was very lucky because I was extremely passionate about the flying aspect of my career for 25 years and I became even more passionate about operating in this space because I realized the importance of it to national security and those traditional domains and those traditional war fighting capabilities can't succeed if we don't succeed in the cyber domain. So I became very passionate there as well and if you find that passion for something, then you're gonna enjoy what you do and it'll be extremely rewarding and you can ride out the highs, and you can ride out the lows.

Charlie Moore: Serving something bigger than yourself is very important to a lot of people, and I thank God for that. because it's those people that are gonna defend, uh, our great nation and our way of life. There's nobody working at US cyber Command at any level who couldn't be making a significant amount, more amount of money in the private sector. But they're doing what they do because they believe in serving their country. And those type of people are absolutely amazing to work with every single day. If I was gonna boil down why I remained in the military for 33 years, it was those types of people.