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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:10 pm
by Sleeper
COMEVIL wrote:For what it's worth, I have heard this argument for years now. There was even a rumor that all PCS afloat billets would be abolished. I suspect that the surface Navy pushed back due to the potential loss of manpower.


That's a telling statement. Most of the time, the ship sees our value in chipping paint, cranking chow, and manning working parties and repair lockers. The IWO, recognizing his limited opportunity to make a cryptologic contribution to the ship, resigns himself to being a temporary SWO. Of course, they are often learning the trade as an O-3 instead of an O-1, so they aren't making a paygrade-appropriate contribution to the watchbill.

In a perfect world, I think we would embark a 4-man (2 CTR, 1 IT, 1 CTM) port/starboard dirsup team to maintain comms and equipment, and provide a contingency organic/I&W capability (because comms aren't perfect). In most circumstances, remote ops are the best way to utilize the bulk of our manning.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:18 am
by COMEVIL
Agree. We used to call this Direct Service. Not sure if it is being done anymore or not.

And while this discussion has been around for years, I still see SecGru / NetWarCom / IDC dumping a ton of money into less-than-state-of-the-art systems like SSEE. Whereas the remote systems (i.e. Seawitch) seem to be experiments at best...

PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:55 am
by Twidget
There have been, and always will be rates like CT that have an underway centric mission (OS, QM, etc.). We are not unique in that regard. When I was an ET we didn't have CTs on my ship, only a couple of EWs, but I always wondered what they and the OSs did while we were in port. Now I know that they, like CTs, probably have a tremendous amount of schools and training required to stay proficient.

Operations rates also do a lot of maintenance and preservation in port, because they can't do it underway. Yes, I'm sure we'd get more bang for the buck from our CT skills if they were all DIRSUP, but who's going to do all the work that needs done on the ship in between deployments? I hate that my CTs have to do so much manual labor in the short times we have in port, but I know it's part of the PCS afloat burden. We're not asked to do anything that anyone else onboard isn't.

My experience with integration seems to be different from some others. I spent a week last month giving Officer Training on IW Basics, Electronic Warfare and Systems, OPSEC, and MILDEC, and had a lot of interest and attendance. I also now have all the TAOs read in to TS/SI, and will be working to get them to include SSES on their pre-watch visits. Our CO and OPS make periodic visits to SSES to talk with our CTs and ISC depending on the situation. The CTs are on Net 15 with CIC and the Bridge at all times underway. They place calls to, and receive calls from the TAO frequently. It's taken some work to get where we are now, and we still have a ways to go, but we're getting there.

It's pretty tough being an IWO in 7th Fleet, but we are doing our collection mission ALWAYS. If any of you first-tour guys are looking for a tough but rewarding operational tour, come to Yokosuka.

OK, gotta go get some signatures on my SWO PQS before my next JOOD watch.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 5:46 pm
by yoshi
Twidget/All,
I concur with your thoughts on CTs working in port or any other time while onboard. they should work just as anyone else would and participate in all of the evolutions the ship "has to offer". Anyone on board should. I think the question centers on why they are aboard in the first place. In a situation such as yours, where there is a genuine interest and where the ship views SSES as an integral part of the I&W piece, there is a clear explanation for why CTs are onboard. However, when a ship does not utilize or interface with SSES for I&W or any other purpose while underway, there is no explanation for CT/IWO presence. Communication with the TAO is the key regardless of the platform, no doubt about it. That was, I assume, the original idea behind having CTs/1610s onboard (provide ship/TAO with I&W as the primary mission).

However, I have talked with more than one cryppie officer who believe that SSES does not have reason to communicate with the TAO, at least not on big decks. I take slight issue with this, as it seems antitheical to the entire operational focus of this community. However, two of the IW officers who believe differently than I sport different colored leaves and are responsible for conducting evaluations of our warfare area during various stages of the train-up cycle. They feel intel owns I&W and we support intel (JICWO) via BFCA who then passes to TAOs of the CSG/ARG/ESG/what have you once everything has been analyzed. I found this view interesting, as we train our CTs in scenarios to directly inform the TAO in support of the ship. On big decks, the SSES divos are placed structurally underneath the SIO in ops department and the ship will always look to the SIO to see what is going on with "his SSES and intel folks". In the end, the SSES production is routed through the SIO/JICWO and briefed by the intel folks in a non-SCI forum.

Whether or not we agree on how things should be, is immaterial, I believe, as there is obviously no common understanding from one officer to another, whether inside or outside of our community, regarding the actions and roles of CRY personnel. So, ships, staffs, and those organizations that pass judgement on which SESSs are ready and which are not should be the ones to determine which arrangement works best for which ships/groups. The TAOs on my ship are irritated they do not receive information as timely as before, if at all, and I don't blame them. However, there isn't anything for me to use which would back up my belief that we should continue to provide directly to the ship's TAO (the only person respsonible for safety of own ship) vice routing everything through the JICWO and on through the staff. It is especially difficult to fight the good fight when the staff and ship personnel consult the evaluating organization's IWO and their opinion concurs with the SIO and N2 - everything should go through BFCA/JICWO/staff and then back out. How do I explain to my CTs that their scenarios training and all previous shipborne experience is not the way we are to do things. They are smart people and they know what makes sense and what doesn't. I don't even try to BS them, as insulting their intelligence would only reduce their level of respect for me. Even if intel owns I&W (and if they do, why doesn't every small boy SSES run everything through the ISC or IS1 before talking to the TAO), the intel function (verification, vetting, and researching before briefing anyone on the ship) does not allow for the occassionally necessary timely reporting to the TAO (assuming they would talk to the TAO themselves, which they don't). The fact is that most SIOs and N2s prefer to have all info run through the plot in order to avoid a potentially embarassing situation or a situation from which one could infer they or "their people" (remember SSES is included here) are incompetent. Previously, we passed all info to the TAO and to the plot simultaneously. They were getting the same info - where was the problem? Obviously, the idea was to vet the info and turn it into a brief vice a timely report. The intel mindset is entirely different (intel officers are only on big decks) and in no way tactical relative to that of an IWO.

In the end, we pass the tactically relevant info to the TAO in one way or another. When it comes to checking the block for the sham that is the FRTP cycle we do it however they want us to. The ship is the one that suffers, as they receive info late, if at all. If we were to train like we fight... who thinks an urgent report should step through 6 sets of hands before being briefed to an N2 and then disseminated? Needless to say, I was surprised to hear IWOs that didn't share my view and it caused me to ponder the future if we 1) don't share a common understanding of our role and actions at sea and 2) continue to plod along without considering whether or not one should be defined. If CTs don't interface with the TAOs, we aren't in any way needed by ships at sea. We can (in theory only) do everything remoted. If that is true, IWOs obviously don't need to be on ships or other platforms. By extension, the tactical, operational bent of this community would be far less important and in stark contrast to the vital necessity of cyber (at least so long as it is flavor of the month). Just food for thought...

PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:27 pm
by COMEVIL
yoshi wrote:However, I have talked with more than one cryppie officer who believe that SSES does not have reason to communicate with the TAO, at least not on big decks. I take slight issue with this, as it seems antitheical to the entire operational focus of this community. However, two of the IW officers who believe differently than I sport different colored leaves and are responsible for conducting evaluations of our warfare area during various stages of the train-up cycle. They feel intel owns I&W and we support intel (JICWO) via BFCA who then passes to TAOs of the CSG/ARG/ESG/what have you once everything has been analyzed.


As I eluded to in a previous post, I checked aboard during the workup cycle and had to break this mold...and do it in time for deployment. (This was on a big-deck amphib.) Needless to say, the Staff N2 was not to happy. He was even less happy when I told him that I didn't work for him, I worked for the ship's CO! In the end, I got around this by having SSES report to the TAO first, then pass info to the IS2 on watch who could "analyze" it, build a powerpoint slide about it, or do whatever he did with it.

Informing the TAO is our job, period. I used to tell my guys, imagine if you worked in a SSES on one of the DDG's in our ESG. Would you report your info to the JICWO of the ESG before informing your own TAO? Of course not. The SSES on a big-deck is no different. It just happens to be co-located with the staff....which, as you can tell by my post, can be a big pain in the ass!!!

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:11 am
by yoshi
COMEVIL,
I agree one hundred percent and that is the exact argument I used when discussing this with the SIO and the N2. Unfortunately, my fellow IWOs (experienced O4/O5) who were there to evaluate us demonstrated their philosophy by saying "SSES works to produce I&W and generate reporting for the N2 to build the picture". I was pretty stunned, to say the least. The scary aspect brought out by my experience is that our staff level IWOs who are evaluating and advising ships on preparedness for deployment don't understand the validity, importance, or necessity of afloat CRY. This exprience served to highlight for me the danger present within our community. There is no common understanding for the role of our personnel afloat, no mission statement, nothing. There is not a central theme behind what the IW/CT community brings to the IDC corps or the Navy. In the end, the usage of our billets depends upon and will continue to depend on personalities and politics, not on tested experience. I expect this issue to become more acute as we further "blend" (assimilate) into the overly generic IDC corps, where we can do anything from tell you the weather to serve fix your computer. I'm sure that's ok, though, because we have back up in the chief's mess, as they are the ones who hold the resident expertise. I just wish my guys had more than one one tour at sea before they made first class (in less than 5 years) and Chief.

I've talked with the TAOs on my ship and my department's personnel. They have both been informed that on deployment we will be talking to the TAO whenever is relevant, just as my peope have been trained and evaluated in their required courses necessary for afloat CRY personnel. The TAOs were happy, the department's personnel procided a mixed reaction (particularly the two intel officers). We'll do whatever the expectation is in order to successfully complete our final couple of bs evolutions, but I'm not about to elminate SSES as a sensor for the ship just to support someone's zero defect mentality when it comes to passing information. One of the reasons I was given by an intel officer for passing to the plot first was that we "wouldn't want the TAO to make a decision based on information that couldn't be verified or analyzed because they might not understand how to react." I told him I felt that was the whole point of the CO making them a TAO and writing his battle orders - he trusts them to react in the appropriate manner. If I were the CO of a ship, wouldn't I want the TAO to have info as quickly as possible? The TAO controls weapons on the ship. The intel officer controls powerpoint. Its not a tough choice for me, particularly considering the fact that the guys in my ship's SSES would pass the info to the TAO and the plot watch virtually simultaneously, anyway.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:29 am
by COMEVIL
yoshi wrote: "wouldn't want the TAO to make a decision based on information that couldn't be verified or analyzed because they might not understand how to react."


Amazing similarities here. Not sure if you are West Coast or East Coast...my ship was East Coast...but it sounds like this is something the N2's/SIO's are being taught in school. And us IWO's are stuck holding the bag. Sounds like you are going to do the right thing, though....which is get the job done regardless.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:30 am
by VQ Bubba
Intel is there to support the URL...not the other way around.

Whatever slows down the I&W from reaching the TAO is bad...muy muy bad, to quote one of my favorite pilots.

As a former URL...and functioning on the EP-3 in much the same way as a TAO does on a ship...if I had an Intell Officer get between me and my I&W provider...I'd invite him to experience first hand a controlled bailout.

The key is to explain to your CO and TAO the opportunity cost of allowing the Intel shop to ruminate upon your I&W while the real world keeps spinning...if they still want to allow it...well, it's their loss.

Intel needs to kept in the loop...but when providing any real, worthwhile I&W...time is of the essence.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:30 pm
by Sleeper
Part of the problem may be that the N-2 side of the house doesn't trust us, based on past experiences. I've seen over-enthusiastic or poorly trained CT watch supervisors go out on Net 15 with half-baked or completely wrong I&W. We need to make sure our capabilities truly match what we're advertising to the fleet.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:33 pm
by COMEVIL
But what if that Intel Officer served us coffee in the meantime?

But seriously, this is a great point. I took alot of my knowledge from flying the EP-3E, where passing I&W and DTW is a daily routine, to my surface tour. And the key to our success in the air was training the next guy how to do it best. You don't see much of that at all on the surface side.