SWO/IW vs IW

There is no such question as a stupid question here. I call this forum "stupid questions" because then you can ask whatever you want and if someone says "That is a stupid question" then you know you put it in the right place.

Re: SWO/IW vs IW

Postby Sum1 » Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:42 pm

COMEVIL wrote:Thanks, Schlag. You are the first to really get to the heart of my question, ...


That makes it sound like you had an answer you were searching for (or expecting). If that's the case, asking better questions would save all of us time.
  • 0

Sum1
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 948
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:43 am
Reputation: 15

Re: SWO/IW vs IW

Postby COMEVIL » Fri Nov 14, 2014 8:10 pm

Sum1 wrote:
COMEVIL wrote:Thanks, Schlag. You are the first to really get to the heart of my question, ...


That makes it sound like you had an answer you were searching for (or expecting). If that's the case, asking better questions would save all of us time.


Here is my original question:

Does this say something about our own community, the initial tours we offer, and the experience you garner in those tours? If it doesn't, why in the world would we want to send a future IW Officer to a community that admittedly eats its young -- brings in ~4 potential SWOs to make ~1 -- for their initial introduction to the Navy?!?!?


Schlag was the first to answer it, in my opinion.

And no, I don't have the answers, nor was I looking for any specific answers.

If you think open discussion is a waste of time then why are you here?
  • 0

User avatar
COMEVIL
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 840
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:54 am
Reputation: 36

Re: SWO/IW vs IW

Postby Sum1 » Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:12 pm

COMEVIL wrote:
Sum1 wrote:
COMEVIL wrote:Thanks, Schlag. You are the first to really get to the heart of my question, ...


That makes it sound like you had an answer you were searching for (or expecting). If that's the case, asking better questions would save all of us time.


Here is my original question:

Does this say something about our own community, the initial tours we offer, and the experience you garner in those tours? If it doesn't, why in the world would we want to send a future IW Officer to a community that admittedly eats its young -- brings in ~4 potential SWOs to make ~1 -- for their initial introduction to the Navy?!?!?


Schlag was the first to answer it, in my opinion.

And no, I don't have the answers, nor was I looking for any specific answers.

If you think open discussion is a waste of time then why are you here?


Point taken, but just to clarify, Schlag quoted a different question from you when he gave his answer. Not the question you just quoted to me above.

You'll never find me asserting that open discussion isn't valuable. That's actually a leadership style I gravitate towards in my own professional dealings. I think the worst thing a leader can do stop asking questions or asking for help because they think they know everything. (that's probably a different discussion)

And just to open the aperture a little further, the enlisted side of the house isn't immune from the same things we're talking about right now with JOs. Having worked with different enlisted Sailors at Big 4 sites, at sea (DIRSUP), and then on the ship (PCS afloat), I feel like I can say rather confidently that Sailors who haven't been to sea in the majority of cases are disadvantaged compared to peers who HAVE been to sea and have that experience to draw from.
  • 0

Sum1
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 948
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:43 am
Reputation: 15

Re: SWO/IW vs IW

Postby COMEVIL » Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:51 pm

Sum1 wrote:Point taken, but just to clarify, Schlag quoted a different question from you when he gave his answer. Not the question you just quoted to me above.

You'll never find me asserting that open discussion isn't valuable. That's actually a leadership style I gravitate towards in my own professional dealings. I think the worst thing a leader can do stop asking questions or asking for help because they think they know everything. (that's probably a different discussion)

And just to open the aperture a little further, the enlisted side of the house isn't immune from the same things we're talking about right now with JOs. Having worked with different enlisted Sailors at Big 4 sites, at sea (DIRSUP), and then on the ship (PCS afloat), I feel like I can say rather confidently that Sailors who haven't been to sea in the majority of cases are disadvantaged compared to peers who HAVE been to sea and have that experience to draw from.


I don't think going to sea is the issue; I agree there are benefits. What capacity one goes to sea is the question. Our enlisted folks go as CT's, unless they have converted. And again, depending on the rating, there may/may not be benefit to being a CT.

Officers have opportunities to go to sea as an IWO. I would rather they go in that capacity than to choose a SWO-IWO option, which has its own issues. See this recent post from SB:

Didn't mean to imply that you weren't technically correct - rather wanted to highlight that we "make our numbers" by alternative means. I've been told the ensign plus up (required to fill follow on tours) is costing us (USN) a butt ton (official unit of measure). What sucks is that we are making it even worse - we have ensigns doing full tours with no real divo (or watch standing) experience... that's not satisfying or productive, so they either punch out, or stick around as future DH's with no/not enough meaningful experience (outside of the good schools that have been coming on line).


My real concern is what we are/aren't doing to develop new accessions at the big 4. Granted this is a small sampling, but it seems most folks recommend SWO-IWO vice going straight IWO. That causes me concern, and may indicate a problem.
  • 0

User avatar
COMEVIL
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 840
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:54 am
Reputation: 36

Re: SWO/IW vs IW

Postby Sum1 » Sat Nov 15, 2014 5:48 pm

1. Give every new JO at the command a division.

2. Hold them accountable for what happens within their division.

3. Send them to sea early and often.

4. Force LT/LCDR interaction with JOs. A first-term LTJG shouldn't be the primary source of mentorship to a first-term ENS (it happens).

5. The delta between learning your job and doing your job needs to be closed. If JOs are walking out the door at 1530 or 1600 the command is failing to develop a leader who has to make decisions and prioritize work.

6. Empower the JO to make decisions, and to face the consequences of those decisions.

The CTRs who I got from the Big 4's and had never been to sea (DIRSUP or PCS) had NO IDEA what they were getting into. They thought because they were an E5 or had their EIDWS that they knew about the Navy. Most quickly realized they knew about 10% of what they needed to know to survive life on a ship, and they managed to close the knowledge gap quickly. Some never get it and have problems. I think in some cases our JOs fall into the same trap. Fact of the matter is, a Big 4 is about as removed from real exposure to the operational Navy as you can get (COCOMs are removed, too). You have to peel away the onion layers of NSA/National missions, Cyber/CYBERCOM missions (relevant, but being a button pusher isn't learning leadership), intel/SIGINT support, what is the watchfloor REALLY accomplishing, etc to get down to the nitty gritty.
  • 0

Sum1
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 948
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:43 am
Reputation: 15

Re: SWO/IW vs IW

Postby yoshi » Sat Nov 15, 2014 7:03 pm

Our community must decide whether it should be generating Navy officers first or cyber/SIGINT officers first. It is a question of identity and how the community leadership sees itself and decides to steer the community. You can't really answer whether or not the big 4 four approach or the sea-first approach is working or not until you clearly understand what the IW community wants. Do we want solid Naval officers who happen to have a skill set or do we want a people with a specific skill set who wear a Navy uniform. Right now, given career length, the number of operational Fleet tours available, distribution of our wardroom at Fleet commands and NIOCs, and a few other reasons, I believe the (apparent) IW community vision and a strong Fleet commitment are mutually exclusive. Right now, the most important community effort underway is making FCC/C10F and the CMTs a success. Considering the locations in which a majority of our people work and the relevance of those efforts to CSG/ARGs, there is no reason I see why the value provided by FCC/C10F personnel (other than perhaps DIRSUP) couldn't be delivered just as easily from the Army, Air Force, or a civilian. What are our people doing at NIOCs, what do they know, what do they understand, which requires them to be Navy or makes them invaluable to the Navy? Is the at sea experience more important for our community/Navy than whatever is gained at the NIOCs, or is the Navy a simple funding vehicle to support national and cyber efforts which desperately require attention?

No matter which side one is on, what seems clear to me is 1) our community is failing at trying to straddle the fence between belonging to the Navy versus belonging to national efforts (produces too many competing requirements and sacrifices depth of career knowledge for breadth - unless cyber). And 2) we can't say where we should send our folks or what they should be doing until the community's priorities are clearly understood. Presently, the connection of the IW officer to the Navy is tenuously based on how much an officer decides to serve in or around the fleet, not on what the Navy needs from our community. Belonging to the Navy or assimilation into the Navy is an elective, voluntary choice for an IW officer which won't impact their career either way (as the career of several senior leaders testify). The cyber jobs, while fascinating and very important, simply don't exclusively require a Navy person to do them (like a warrant officer, technical content of the job is more important than the unit doing the job, or needing it done). This fact, along with the location of cyber jobs in largely purple commands, produces an ambivalence toward, and lack of identity with. the Fleet. Wear of a particular uniform cannot overcome this ambivalence.

The community must do a better job of clarifying priorities to its personnel, and most importantly to the Navy. The hollow, boring, and tedious mantra of battlespace awareness, assured C2, and integrated fires has absolutely nothing to offer and only serves to underscore the inability of our community personnel to talk to each other coherently (Fleet vs national). So, the answer to the question of where we should send folks for the first tour is definitively unsatisfying: wherever the experience which best supports community and Navy goals can be obtained. I, too, wish this were more specific, and perhaps in the future it will be. Although disappointing for people like me who are halfway or better through a career, I am confident another 10-15 years will resolve this identity crisis. As money gets tighter, value is weighed, clear assessment of what we give the Navy will occur, and changes will be made to ensure structures, authorities, and ownership all makes sense. Does the Fleet/Navy need us more than we need it, or is the opposite true?
  • 0

yoshi
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 420
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 5:10 am
Reputation: 19

Re: SWO/IW vs IW

Postby Schlag » Sat Nov 15, 2014 10:49 pm

yoshi wrote:Our community must decide whether it should be generating Navy officers first or cyber/SIGINT officers first.

Our community doesn't need to decide this; IMHO it's already decided for you. You took an oath when you became an officer and it happened to be for a commission within the US Navy. Conversely, you didn't take an oath when you came into the community. That means you're an officer first and whatever your day job is comes second.

yoshi wrote:Do we want solid Naval officers who happen to have a skill set or do we want a people with a specific skill set who wear a Navy uniform.

Because of the above, we want solid Naval officers. Solid Naval officers will learn what they need to and will excel at what they do.

By extension, because we are RL officers, we are restricted in the nature of our duties because of their technical nature. To use an antiquated term (because Navy Regulations 1990 hasn't been updated to reflect the new name of our designator) we are Special Duty Officers in the [Information Warfare] community. We must seek the become experts/masters within the definition of that field since we are restricted to those duties.

yoshi wrote:Considering the locations in which a majority of our people work and the relevance of those efforts to CSG/ARGs, there is no reason I see why the value provided by FCC/C10F personnel (other than perhaps DIRSUP) couldn't be delivered just as easily from the Army, Air Force, or a civilian.

The difference is we're the only service that has a dedicated community that does SIGINT and cyber. While our abilities have ebbed and flowed in the past, we generally are always superior to the other services in the capabilities that we provide. BT BT it's an over-simplification to say that Naval relevance has to revolve around the CSG/ARG. There's a lot more to the Navy than just the most visible aspects of it.

yoshi wrote:What are our people doing at NIOCs, what do they know, what do they understand, which requires them to be Navy or makes them invaluable to the Navy? Is the at sea experience more important for our community/Navy than whatever is gained at the NIOCs, or is the Navy a simple funding vehicle to support national and cyber efforts which desperately require attention?

The Navy is traditionally the most expeditionary of all the services. Congress won't bat an eye at parking a CSG 15 miles from the coast of some hell hole and having the CSG conduct flight ops as a show of force. Sending some Marines in country to add more verses to the Marines' Hymn on the other hand is considerably more difficult. Being expeditionary means that you have to provide for yourself; that often means providing for your own protection (I&W) as well.

I know it doesn't directly apply to this discussion, but I think its a good quote and it's worth keeping in the back of everyone's mind.

VADM John Bulkeley, USN(Ret) wrote:For in my mind there is but one honourable profession. It requires the daily attention of all faculties, the persistence of a bulldog, the compassion of the man of the cloth, foresight entrenched in previously learned lessons, the willingness to sacrifice for the good of the service all that has been personally gained or earned, and unyielding belief that it is better to preserve peace than to wage war, the self force-feeding of knowledge and new technology, the ability to blend confidence and humility, and the unyielding conviction that it is far greater to serve one’s country rather than oneself. These requirements demand a foundation, and that foundation is inescapably, experience.

The naval officer is truly unique, for he must have the capacity to simultaneously love his country, his service, his family, his shipmates, and the sea. He needs each of them unquestionably as each of them needs him. And the demands which each place on him never diminish, they only grow.

Beyond all the words and phrases of a naval officer’s dedicated service, honour and professionalism must remain his past, present and future. That, Sir, is why it is the “HONOURABLE PROFESSION”.
  • 0

User avatar
Schlag
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: The path of the righteous man...
Reputation: 18

Re: SWO/IW vs IW

Postby yoshi » Sun Nov 16, 2014 4:19 am

I'll respectfully disagree with you and maintain our community needs to determine what is first priority and what comes second. While you may be correct with respect to what SHOULD be, current actions are the loudest indicator of priority. I believe because of my generally fleet-centric background, I am left confused with community priorities. This frustrates a lot of my peers, as I - much like my non-IW friends - have trouble understanding just how great we are and how significant our efforts are to the Fleet.

It is not an oversimplification to say Fleet relevance is based upon value to a CSG/ARG. That (CSGs/ARGs) is how we deploy in today's world, save for the sub or independent deployer. In fact, you underscore their importance by mentioning the CSG being 15 miles off a coast as an example of how we operate just 2 sentences later. CSGs and ARGs are the nexus of the operational Navy. Those commanders generally have bright, starry futures. If you aren't relevant there, the discussion is hardly serious.

The community difference you mention - the only service with a specific SIGINT community - used to be significant. Indeed, it is why I commissioned coming from another service. We used to be a dedicated SIGINT community; it made sense we were the best. However, after we added IO (5 pillars), trimmed those 5 to 3 topics (although we still have billets which are not just EW, Cyber, and SIGINT), and walked away from Navy SIGINT, well, it doesn't really mean anything anymore. We are no longer any better at SIGINT than the others, as we don't just focus on SIGINT, but also have other focus areas (cyber, EW, and IO - even if it isn't viewed by community leaders as part of the kit - we still have the billets). We now do SIGINT in the same way the other services do and are no better. In fact, after 10 years of war, the ground combat services may have caught and passed us, where I&W tactical level SIGINT is concerned. I just spent a few weeks with some Marine SIGINTer, EW, and Cyber types and they were good. It is true we used to be better at SIGINT than the other services and the expeditionary nature of our service was the reason (as you correctly pointed out), but take a walk down a few piers , then go visit a couple CEWCCs/RadBns and I think your mind might change. I am not sufficiently experienced or qualified to know which services are "better" at cyber. For the most part, they train purple in the same classes in Pensacola/elsewhere, and they work at/for a joint sub-unified command (not a specific service). i don't know how we would be better, guess we were fortunate to get all the smart ones?! I think when we moved from crypotology to IW and added all the rest (other than SIGINT), we splintered our depth of knowledge for breadth without successfully figuring out how officers should be trained and brought along. Thus, it is natural we face the kinds of problems this thread addresses - where should we start, how should we develop our officers? So, once again, if we use the OPNAV and IDC talking points as a guide, we should provide our officers with those experiences which inculcate an understanding and appreciation for integrated fires, assured C2, and battle space awareness. I think we need more practical guidance than this kind of pablum, maybe less of an OPNAV mission statement something more Navy related. In looking at where we are and what has happened in the last 10 years, I don't think officer development/experiences, as they relate to what officers need to be successful in future jobs/roles, has been a consideration. We have essentially the same billets (save cyber), same numbers, less diverse educational opportunities, and far fewer locations as we did 10-12 years ago. Maybe I missed the elegance of the decisions over that period, as I am, admittedly, not that smart.
  • 0

yoshi
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 420
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 5:10 am
Reputation: 19

Re: SWO/IW vs IW

Postby COMEVIL » Sun Nov 16, 2014 2:01 pm

yoshi wrote:It is not an oversimplification to say Fleet relevance is based upon value to a CSG/ARG. That (CSGs/ARGs) is how we deploy in today's world, save for the sub or independent deployer. In fact, you underscore their importance by mentioning the CSG being 15 miles off a coast as an example of how we operate just 2 sentences later. CSGs and ARGs are the nexus of the operational Navy. Those commanders generally have bright, starry futures. If you aren't relevant there, the discussion is hardly serious.


Coming off a CSG CRC tour, with 2 x deployments to C6F/C5F, I would disagree. We were supported, either via augmentation or remote support, by no less than 6 x NIOCs. Support from national sites was also critical to the work completed in SUPPLOT and provided critical I&W to the CSG CDR. All supported Battlespace Awareness. Add'l work supported Integrated Fires (can discuss via other means). As the CRC, I made it my task to highlight this support in order for him to understand what we cryppies brought to the fight.

yoshi wrote:The community difference you mention - the only service with a specific SIGINT community - used to be significant. Indeed, it is why I commissioned coming from another service. We used to be a dedicated SIGINT community; it made sense we were the best. However, after we added IO (5 pillars), trimmed those 5 to 3 topics (although we still have billets which are not just EW, Cyber, and SIGINT), and walked away from Navy SIGINT, well, it doesn't really mean anything anymore. We are no longer any better at SIGINT than the others, as we don't just focus on SIGINT, but also have other focus areas (cyber, EW, and IO - even if it isn't viewed by community leaders as part of the kit - we still have the billets). We now do SIGINT in the same way the other services do and are no better. In fact, after 10 years of war, the ground combat services may have caught and passed us, where I&W tactical level SIGINT is concerned. I just spent a few weeks with some Marine SIGINTer, EW, and Cyber types and they were good. It is true we used to be better at SIGINT than the other services and the expeditionary nature of our service was the reason (as you correctly pointed out), but take a walk down a few piers , then go visit a couple CEWCCs/RadBns and I think your mind might change.


I was never a fan of the shift to IW, which was mostly smoke and mirrors. Every one of my tours -- before / during / after -- this shift has been SIGINT intensive. While I may be an anomaly, I sort of doubt it. Cyber is a confusing term, and often conflated with what is actually SIGINT. In my experience, we are still the best SIGINTers in the service because we have our own Officer Community dedicated to that mission. I don't see that changing, even with the addition of Cyberspace Operations to our portfolio.

v/r

Comevil
  • 0

User avatar
COMEVIL
Experienced Member
 
Posts: 840
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:54 am
Reputation: 36

Re: SWO/IW vs IW

Postby madhatSWO » Thu Nov 27, 2014 5:16 am

For what it's worth....

I am a SWO-IW, doing my SWO tour at the moment.......I am also prior enlisted and have been doing this for a while. I will tell you this much.......as much as I have my heart and mind set on being an IW Officer, I would not trade my SWO experience for anything in the world. Everyday I come onto my ship and hate myself and want to punch myself multiple times in the face, but at the end of the day I see the impact that I directly make to operations and functionality of the ship/warfighting mission and realize that what I am doing at the moment is worth it. Quantify that with the number of sailors that I directly impact on a daily basis and I believe that I am doing something important. I hate driving ships, I can't stand it and think it's stupid and bridge watches are stupid but when I get to directly impact the lives and tours of the 56 sailors that work for me, it makes waking up in the morning worth it...especially when one of them walks up to you one day and asks you and lets you know that you are the reason that they want to continue their military career and asks you to be their presiding officer for their reenlistment. Other than seeing your child being born or being married, there is no experience greater than that.

For me, I have led no less than 40 junior military personnel as an enlisted man at any given time. The SWO-IW experience was more or less the only path for me to get to where I wanted to exactly be as an officer and as a military careerist. I would not trade it for any other experience I have had to do to get to where I am. SWOs are a different breed of people and confuse the crap out of me on MOST occasions. It sucks most of the time but at the end of the day you still have a place to lay your head and food to eat. You also have the opportunity to groom as an officer that understands ass pain and won't trickle the b.s. down to your junior dudes.

In the end, I believe it will help you appreciate what you have and where you are (once you are an IW officer). You will understand b.s and won't let the crap get to your sailors.
  • 0

madhatSWO
Registered Member
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:12 pm
Reputation: 0

PreviousNext

Return to Stupid Questions about Information Warfare

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests