Generalists or Specialists?

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Generalists or Specialists?

Postby Arkad » Wed Jul 30, 2008 3:15 am

Another great memo from the DNI. Though he makes a strong case that Intelligence Officers are specialists, give it a read and ask yourself if IWOs are specialists? Should they be? What are the specialized disciplines within the community? How does the "Cyber Workforce" fit into this discussion?
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Postby yoshi » Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:57 am

Maybe we could make a case for being intel officers who possess a subspecialty in SIGINT and collect the bonus offered 1630s. LOL!:)
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Postby VQ Bubba » Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:35 pm

Arkad wrote:Another great memo from the DNI. Though he makes a strong case that Intelligence Officers are specialists, give it a read and ask yourself if IWOs are specialists? Should they be? What are the specialized disciplines within the community? How does the "Cyber Workforce" fit into this discussion?


I agree...an excellent discussion of the need for specialization. And even though there is not an "IWO" warfare qualification pin to wear on our chests along the lines of a SWO pin or aviator wings, I like to think of the generalist vs specialist roles along these lines:

We all wear the officer crest on our garrison caps...this is the mark of the generalist...the Mark 1 Mod 0 naval officer, responsible for a baseline knowledge and understanding of the world and the military. It means that we can and will fill any billet the Navy requires us to fill.

The 1610/6440 IWO designation is the mark of our specialization in SIGINT. When you look at the basics of SIGINT, we are talking about a detailed understanding of how the flow of electrons provides/denies/protects indications and intelligence. As a soon to be former VQ NFO (Generalist officer / Specialist aviator / sub-specialist threat SIGINT fusion and reporting), I relied upon the IWO onboard to be the SIGINT expert. Whether it is via electrons pulsed out over the air from a radar or running across fiber lines in discrete information-bearing modulation types...it's all SIGINT. And that is where our need to sub-specialize arises and why continual education is critical.

My point is that we are both generalists and specialists...it's how the job works.

Thoughts?
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Postby Sum1 » Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:37 pm

Careful... SIGINT is now only one facet of our job.

That's part of the reason we're IW officers now and not cryptology officers anymore.
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Postby OmegaMan » Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:09 pm

VQ Bubba wrote:I agree...an excellent discussion of the need for specialization. And even though there is not an "IWO" warfare qualification pin to wear on our chests along the lines of a SWO pin or aviator wings...


I have heard scuttlebutt about an Intel warfare pin in the works... and the feedback from the URL communities has been negative.
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Postby VQ Bubba » Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:15 pm

Sum1 wrote:Careful... SIGINT is now only one facet of our job.

That's part of the reason we're IW officers now and not cryptology officers anymore.


I hear you...I guess I'm defining SIGINT in more broad terms than the book definition. But when I look at the definition of an IWO (quoting from the NPC Pers472 page) :

"IW officers are the Navy?s Information Warriors with expertise in all facets of Information Operations (IO), including traditional cryptology, Command and Control, Computer Network Operations and space systems...They deliver and operate reliable, secure and battle-ready global networks, and lead in development and integration of IO capabilities in the Fleet."

...I read that as areas of expertise all focusing on the movement (good guy and bad guy) of information and/or intelligence via electronic means (ie signals) and how to use that knowledge.

I submit that the average URL officer, while a user and consumer of IO, does not adequately appreciate the complexities. The 1610 is that specialist.

I'm probably off base on this (wouldn't be the first time), so if I'm misunderstanding our role...help!

Hope this doesn't preclude me from getting this section of my IWO PQS signed off...:)
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Postby Sum1 » Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:18 pm

With the re-alignment of the IW and Intel worlds under NNWC we're essentially a warfare community. Don't know what the URL really needs to worry about, since they're not being affected by this at all. They still get the support they need and want, and we get some recognition.

An old retired Master Chief once put it this way to me concerning the IW and sigint world...

"We do our jobs day in and day out just like we would prosecute a war. Unlike our URL compatriots, we're always at war with our adversary, even if no bullets are being fired."
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Postby VQ Bubba » Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:44 pm

Sum1 wrote:Don't know what the URL really needs to worry about, since they're not being affected by this at all. They still get the support they need and want, and we get some recognition.


It's most likely the old URL vs RL "who is in charge in the lifeboat" argument...which goes something like this:

URL dude (LTJG): All right...I'm the senior line officer, so I'm in charge.
RL dude (CDR): Ummm...but I'm senior...and I'm a professional yachtsman in my spare time...sailing single-handed around the world.
URL dude (LTJG): Wonderful. Too bad you're RL. Now sit down and start bailing.

Giving an RL officer a warfare designation rocks the boat (pun intended) a bit...it can get touchy sometimes.

And yet...

It's awfully hard to drop a bomb on someone if you can't find him...but my experience is that the URL warhead-on-forehead world all too often waves the magic "the information/intelligence will be there" wand.

The skill/knowledge set required to provide this information is just as valuable and perishable as the skill required to pilot an F/A-18...it's just not as appreciated.

And to tie this into the IW accession situation, it may sound silly, but recognition is critically important in building community pride and identity.
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Postby mrsaturn » Thu Jul 31, 2008 1:13 am

VQ Bubba wrote:...lead in development and integration of IO capabilities in the Fleet.


I am at week 3 of my IA training at FT Bragg. The general consensus is not only that IO is important but it is what will win the war.

Now its great to see that in writing and hear it from an O-6 that just came back from theater but the icing was that the only other officer he brought to a brief of 15+ Commanders was the O-4 in charge of IO cell.
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Postby Sum1 » Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:31 am

VQ Bubba wrote:It's most likely the old URL vs RL "who is in charge in the lifeboat" argument...which goes something like this:

URL dude (LTJG): All right...I'm the senior line officer, so I'm in charge.
RL dude (CDR): Ummm...but I'm senior...and I'm a professional yachtsman in my spare time...sailing single-handed around the world.
URL dude (LTJG): Wonderful. Too bad you're RL. Now sit down and start bailing.

Giving an RL officer a warfare designation rocks the boat (pun intended) a bit...it can get touchy sometimes.

And yet...

It's awfully hard to drop a bomb on someone if you can't find him...but my experience is that the URL warhead-on-forehead world all too often waves the magic "the information/intelligence will be there" wand.

The skill/knowledge set required to provide this information is just as valuable and perishable as the skill required to pilot an F/A-18...it's just not as appreciated.

And to tie this into the IW accession situation, it may sound silly, but recognition is critically important in building community pride and identity.


I really hope it's not that argument. I'll defer that crap to the URL guys because, frankly, I don't want it. If I had wanted a career driving ships or flying airplanes I would have gone into those designators. I was pretty excited to find out today that I'm going to get to go work some IO stuff prior to starting my DSO qualifications.
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