Former Navy comm officer will earn fourth star and lead Atlantic Fleet

Former Navy comm officer will earn fourth star and lead Atlantic Fleet

Navy Vice Adm. Robert J. Natter will command the Atlantic fleet.

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

The Navy's former top communicator, Vice Adm. Robert J. Natter, will become commander in chief of the Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk, Va., on June 23.

Natter will become admiral and receive a fourth star. He will replace Adm. Vern Clark.

Clark will replace Adm. Jay L. Johnson as chief of naval operations on July 21. During his Senate confirmation hearings, Clark stated that recruiting and retaining sailors will be his No. 1 priority.

Since September 1999, Natter has served as deputy chief of naval operations for plans, policy and operations. Before that assignment, he was chief of naval operations' director of space, information warfare, command and control. He helped amass funding for the Information Technology for the 21st Century (IT-21) program to modernize the Navy's shipboard systems with asynchronous transfer mode networks running Microsoft Windows NT.

Working with operational forces, Natter helped to complete IT-21 six months before deployment so sailors and Marines would have plenty of time to train on the systems. With newly commissioned ships, IT-21 installations usually take place in Navy yards.

Natter will command more than 120,000 employees, as well as manage an $11 billion budget, more than 1,200 aircraft, 120 surface ships and 39 submarines in the fleet.

Natter enlisted in the Navy as a seaman recruit in 1962 at age 17, before attending the Naval Academy. After serving in Vietnam, he became the Navy's Legislative Affairs Office chief, a staff member for the House Armed Services Committee for the 100th Congress and commanded operating forces.

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