If anyone is interested in the specialist vs generalist debate, strongly recommend heading to station hypo blog. Really good 3 part article written on that subject. Link here:http://www.stationhypo.com/2016/05/pi-s ... guest.html
I take a different view than many. I presently believe (could easily change):
1) we are neither specialists nor generalists.
2) most of us want to be, or think we are, a specialist. (for the record, I don't, although it all depends on how specialist and generalist are defined and whether we are talking about 'what we are' or 'what we should be')
3) the (rest of the) Navy assumes we are specialists in the same way as aviators, SWOs, EOD, etc (ie - they have unique skills, but aren't flying, driving ships, or defusing bombs every tour). the Navy doesn't care how cool or technical our work is, only about its value to the command mission. To summarize expectations I've experienced, the Navy wants us (to be sufficiently generalized) to be able to a) solve problems across many different Navy commands/platforms b) find solutions for many different commands/platforms via standard processes, and c) establish/maintain a healthy, productive, widely knowledgeable presence on, and contribute to, Flag staffs. non- IWC Navy wants us to define information warfare and demonstrate its significant value (using non-IWC Navy definition, not ours) to the command and overall Navy (again, non-IWC version). These types of expectations are usually better understood by those with broader general knowledge/experience in areas outside the IWC and 1810 community (knowing the customer/need). The technical depth required is that amount needed to recognize, coordinate, and provide the best solution (knowing the product).
4) our career paths, billets, and functions produce neither specialists nor generalists. rather, initiative, timing, and opportunity determine who is one, the other, or neither. we do not have a wardroom with skill sets and/or experiences common to ALL; some would say this is crucial to identity. instead, we have 3 core areas and we need experience in only one to O-4 or two to O-5. we do not ensure ALL 1810s/IWC have _____ (fill in the blank with required skills, specialties, experiences). we also do not have skill sharpening opportunities (analogous to AMWTI, Top Gun, etc) for any specialties across a full career. in this regard, we are consummate generalists. it turns out the SWOs and aviators, with their schools and repeat tours, are more specialized than we.
5) as also discussed on station hypo (http://www.stationhypo.com/2016/02/real ... rfare.html
), we need to consider revision of designations, billets, and career paths within the IWC to better describe, build to, integrate, and execute functions. we can better (re)organize and align our officer and enlisted ratings within the IWC. Not saying we are doing poorly - we aren't. just saying we can be even better.