September 18, 2015
The 2011 DOD Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace established cyberspace as an operational domain in order to take full advantage of cyberspace's potential and to ensure DOD maintained the freedom to operate in cyberspace. Army Cyber command, the Army's newest 3-star operational command, provided unprecedented opportunity to transform the Army's ability to conduct cyberspace operations, to shift the culture and to increase capacity and capability required to meet the growing cyber threats. Rhett Hernandez's 39 years of service in an ever-changing Army, was marked by major operational changes created by technological advancements. His operational experience started with minimal automation, evolved to digitization and culminated with cyberspace operations. He'll address key lessons learned, what it takes to be ready to meet the threats we face in cyberspace and the implications of the digital age. Upon retirement, he was the highest ranking Hispanic in the Army and he will highlight his experiences, what Hispanics should expect and the importance of diversity.
Lieutenant General Hernandez retired on 1 November 2013 following 39 years of distinguished service in the United States Army. His last active duty assignment was as the first Commander of Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER), where he was responsible for the daily operations and defense of all Army networks, and when directed, conduct the full range of cyberspace operations. In addition to building a cyber force of more than 17,000 people, he led the development of a wide range of transformational concepts, plans and programs to increase the Army’s ability to conduct Land and Cyber operations. As the Army’s lead for all cyberspace activity, he was the force modernization proponent for cyber doctrine, training, leader development, organization, materiel and people. He developed strategic direction, requirements and an acquisition approach for all cyberspace operations in the Army. Additionally, he was responsible for the Army’s full-spectrum Information Operations (IO) organization, which provides IO theory development and training to operational application across military operations.
Previously General Hernandez served as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Army Operations; Chief, U.S. Military Training Mission, Saudi Arabia; and Commanding General, Human Resources Command. In all three positions, he was involved in key issues and decisions at the highest levels. In his role as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Army Operations, he oversaw Army operations worldwide, directed Army transformation efforts, co-chaired the programming and budget board, chaired the Army network modernization board, approved and prioritized Army requirements. As the Chief, Military Training Mission, Saudi Arabia, he was the senior defense official to the U.S. Ambassador. He led the largest security assistance program in the world, oversaw the Foreign Military Sales program, strengthened the strategic military partnership and increased readiness and interoperability.
As the Commanding General of Human Resources Command, General Hernandez directed the personnel management, from accession to retirement, for all soldiers and officers. He transformed personnel services and the management systems to support an Army at war.
General Hernandez has extensive operational experience, and has held commands at each level from Lieutenant to Lieutenant General. He served as the Assistant Division Commander, Support for 1st Armored Division and oversaw the division’s deployment and logistic operations in Baghdad, Iraq. As the Operations Chief in J-39, IO, he established and directed the IO Task Force responsible for supporting the integration of Combatant Command IO plans with USG activities.
General Hernandez holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy, West Point, a Master of Science degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia and a Masters of National Security Strategy from the National War College where he was named a distinguished graduate. His overseas experience includes tours in Germany, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Currently, General Hernandez serves as the West Point Cyber Chair to the Army Cyber Institute, is the President of CyberLens, LLC and serves as a cyber expert on advisory boards.