JFCC Space deputy commander earns second star
By Capt. Nicholas Mercurio, 14th Air Force Public Affairs
/ Published April 30, 2015
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Brian B. Brown, deputy commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Space, was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral Upper Half during a ceremony, here, April 29.
The ceremony was officiated by U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. John W. "Jay" Raymond, commander, 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic) and JFCC Space.
Brown graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1986. Upon commissioning, he initially served as a surface warfare officer and transferred to naval oceanography in 1990.
Brown commanded the Naval Atlantic Meteorology and Oceanography Facility in Jacksonville, Florida, the Naval Oceanographic Office, Stennis Space Center, Mississippi and the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, Stennis Space Center, Mississippi. He assumed his duties as the deputy commander, JFCC Space in June 2014.
After the ceremony, Brown took time to answer a few questions about his career:
When did you decide you wanted to join the Navy?
I grew up as a Navy dependent, so I was around the Navy all my life. In ninth grade I attended a college fair in Florida and first learned about the Naval Academy. In the 11th grade my family moved to Naval Air Station Patuxent River just down the road from the Academy, so it seemed I was on a course to apply there. In 1982, I decided that was what I wanted to do, applied and was accepted, and graduated in 1986 launching my 29-year Navy career.
What does an oceanographer do in the Navy?
I originally served as a surface warfare officer for four years before transferring to oceanography, which was my undergraduate and graduate field of study. Naval oceanography applies the principles of the physical sciences to warfighting. Under the umbrella of oceanography are the disciplines of physical oceanography (i.e. currents, tides and ocean structure), meteorology, hydrography (mapping the bottom of the ocean), astrometry (star charting), precise time and earth orientation. What oceanographers do is provide awareness of the physical domain; we bring the home-field advantage to our warfighters at the away game.
What has contributed most greatly to your success?
I am a continuous learner; whether through formal or informal education, I am always trying to expand my knowledge base. I have applied that to my career as well, seeking out and building a diverse portfolio of assignments and finding in each new challenges which have improved my abilities as a naval officer. On a daily basis I have the opportunity to work around the most talented workforce, in and out of uniform, that America has to offer. Quite frankly, they are the "secret sauce" to my successful career.
Is there a leader you admire or try to emulate?
It's hard for me to point to one individual, because I've been blessed to be surrounded by so many talented leaders and peers. I have had many mentors over the years and learned different things from each one. I tend to composite people; I assimilate their qualities into my own leadership philosophy.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you overcome it?
I find that at times I struggle with managing perceptions. When you are in a position of leadership in a dynamic and fast-paced environment it is critical to understand how your words and actions are perceived by those around you; it's easy to create work down unintended vectors. You can know what your intentions are and what you are trying to say, but if you are unable to appreciate the frame of reference of people you are communicating with your message might not be as effective as it could be. I always try to be cognizant of how I project myself so I can ensure I am effectively communicating with the team or my boss.
What do you find most rewarding about your time in uniform?
Working with such a talented workforce, the challenge of diverse assignments, and ultimately the knowledge that what we are doing on a daily basis contributes in a direct way to the history and security of our nation; all of this is very rewarding. I enjoy belonging to a large and extended military family, and am especially grateful to be part of the Joint Space team during my current assignment.