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NEWS | Oct. 26, 2020

Rear Adm. James Butler Takes Helm of Reserve Naval Information Warfare Force

By Stacy C. Chavez, Strategic Communications Advisor for Commander, Naval Information Force Reserve

Rear Adm. James Butler Takes Helm of Reserve Naval Information Warfare Force
SLIDESHOW | 3 images | Rear Adm. James Butler Takes Helm of Reserve Naval Information Warfare Force 201024-N-VZ457-0002 FORT WORTH, Tx. (Oct. 24, 2020) Rear Adm. Gene F. Price and Rear Adm. James Butler listen to Vice Adm. John B. Mustin, Chief of Navy Reserve, speak during the Commander, Navy Information Force Reserve change of command ceremony Oct. 24, where Price was relieved by Butler as CNIFR on Oct. 24. CNIFR provides Navy and joint service customers with skilled, trained, and ready Navy Information Warfare Reserve professionals in support of mobilization, contingency and peacetime operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2rd Class Victor R. Navarrete)

Rear Adm. Gene F. Price was relieved by Rear Adm. James Butler as Commander, Naval Information Force Reserve (CNIFR) during a change of command ceremony at CNIFR headquarters on Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Oct. 24.

Due to COVID-19 mitigation measures, in-person ceremony attendance was limited to the official party and a small number of close family members, while the rest of the CNIFR and Navy community were able to watch livestreaming of the event on Facebook Live and Microsoft Teams.

Chief of Navy Reserve, Vice Adm. John Mustin, presided over the ceremony and praised the Information Warfare Community. “We are here today to wish Gene Price fair winds and following seas and to welcome Jim Butler aboard,” he said. “I couldn’t do so without appreciating the way the Navy now has begun to — not only employ — but dominate a new domain. Not just a maritime domain, but an information domain where they thrive.”

Guest speaker for the ceremony, Vice Adm. Timothy “T.J.” White, former commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. Tenth Fleet (FCC/C10F), explained to everyone present that they should not underestimate the importance of the CNIFR mission. 

“CNIFR is a key component of the Navy’s Distributed Maritime Operations Concept. In every way, by all measures, CNIFR is a design feature,” White said. 

White also thanked Price for his counsel and calm insight throughout the years, and then charged Butler to “drop his anchor” on three points: responsibility, charge, and vision.

The ceremony included congratulatory videos from Adm. Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations, Vice Adm. Jeffrey Trussler, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for IW; Vice Adm. Brian Brown, Commander, Naval Information Forces; and Rear Adm. John Okon, Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command.

When Gilday served as Commander, FCC/C10F several years ago, he experienced first-hand the abilities of Price and Butler as both served under him as Reserve Deputy Commanders.

“I could not be prouder of the work Gene has done while in command, and I know that Jim will only raise the bar in the months and years to come.” Gilday said. “The IW Reserve team is and will be a crucial contributor in the defense of our nation for decades.”  

In the Commander, Naval Information Forces video remarks, Vice Adm. Brown talked about the tremendous impact Price had on the Navy and our Information Warfare Reserve team.

“As commander, you sharpened the cutlass and prepared the Reserve Force for Great Power Competition,” he said. “The importance of Information Warfare (IW) Reserve support to the Navy’s mission is appreciated across the Navy more than ever before.”

Highlighting the incoming commanding officer, Brown continued, “Rear Adm. Butler, I can’t think of a finer officer to relieve Rear Adm. Price. You have the complete toolkit and vision. You are poised and ready to elevate the Reserve IW force to new levels.” 
Under Price’s leadership, CNIFR delivered 522,864 days of direct operational support to nine combat commands, seven joint Department of Defense agencies and 25 Navy commands. CNIFR filled more than 90% of all Navy IW mobilization requirements with 1,550 Sailors serving 545,772 days of deployed support. Price also directed an $8.8 million infrastructure renovation and upgrade program to nine Joint Reserve Intelligence Centers. Price received the Legion of Merit award in recognition of his achievements.

Price thanked and especially praised the hard work and dedication of the CNIFR staff. He also remarked on the support he received from the CNIFR staff when his daughter passed away earlier this year.

“I never thought that I would lose my daughter in a tragic car accident,” said Price. “It’s the sort of thing that is so horrible you try not to even think about it. Everyone reached out to me with cards, emails, virtual hugs, and you guys taught me how to accept compassion in such a trying time and for that, I thank you.”

For his next assignment, Price will serve as Reserve Deputy Commander, Naval Information Forces.

Butler, a Southern Maryland native, enlisted in the Navy as a Machinist’s Mate in 1982, commissioned through the Naval Academy in 1988, and joined the Cryptologic Community in 1989. His most recent assignment upon promotion to flag officer was serving as Reserve Deputy Commander, Fleet Cyber Command/TENTH Fleet.

“I know this command has been working diligently to forge our warfighting force, facilitate integration with the active component, and foster innovation for the future fight,” Butler said. “Those efforts culminate into our one and only priority — warfighting readiness.”

CNIFR, provides Navy and joint service customers with skilled, trained and ready Information Warfare Reserve professionals in support of mobilization, contingency and peacetime operations. For more news from Naval Information Force Reserve, visit