Vanessa Lachey on Bringing Her Military BRAT Roots to ‘NCIS: Hawai’i’ (VIDEO)

If there’s anyone ready to bring down the baddies in the Aloha State, it’s Special Agent in Charge Jane Tennant, played by Vanessa Lachey in the latest addition to the NCIS franchise, NCIS: Hawai’i. Tennant leads a team of agents all striving for the same goal but this boss is in the field.

“They don’t just show her sitting behind a desk,” says Lachey tells us in between filming scenes in the island of Oahu (check out the NCIS: Hawai’i cover story in TV Guide Magazine, on newsstands now).”She’s out there and, yes, she asks her team to help out. She’s [all about] love of country and love of family, so I love that I get to bring that to the screen for everyone to watch.”

As the first female lead of an NCIS series, this role is more than just a job for the actress, as her husband Nick Lachey and their three children have joined her in living on the island. Lachey also has deep roots as an Air Force BRAT thanks to her father, Vincent Minnillo. “What people don’t know is that the acronym BRAT stands for Born Raised And Trained,” she explains. “I was born in an Air Force base in the Philippines and my Dad was almost 30 years in the Air Force.”

She’s now able to put a lot of what she learned on those military bases into the series, which, according to producers, is the first NCIS series that is not a spinoff — though it does exist in the same world as NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles.

“Being thrown into it now for work, it’s really great because there’s this respect, there’s this honor, there’s this layer of being in the military that I don’t think you can learn,” Lachey explains. “I understand because I firsthand lived with sacrifices that my father made for us and for the country. It definitely runs in my blood”

Check out more of our interview above.

NCIS: Hawai’i, Series Premiere, Monday, September 22, 10/9c, CBS