Well Rounded vs Specialized Expertise

Postby O-4's hate me » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:45 am

Sleeper wrote:(something along the lines of "provided vital time-sensitive intelligence to fleet and theater commanders..."


It is O-3 FITREP season. Can you get me two more bullets?
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Postby Sum1 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:31 am

Bringing the thread a little back on topic... maybe that's the role of the generalist... to communicate with supported commanders exactly what our capabilities are, how we accomplish our missions, how they can help us accomplish the missions, and why it's important not only to his/her platform but to the greater fleet/intel communities. It really takes someone living tactical life for a little to understand exactly what the consumer needs. Is it good for our specialty knowledge? Probably not. Is it good for our general Navy knowledge? I'd say yes.

For some reason I'm harkening back to the scene in Office Space where the guy is trying to explain to the consultants why he's important.
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Postby COMEVIL » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:00 pm

If we assume for a minute that specialization is the chosen route, we must first determine what skills we would specialize in. It is not enough to simply say we should specialize. In the larger scale, as IW Officers we are already highly specialized. Yet, within our own community there is certainly room for increased specialization. The question is how?

A good place to start would be with the Cryptologic Community Foundational Principles. This document identifies our core skills as SIGINT, CNO, and EW. This certainly seems like a great place to start. Each of these core skills in unique in its own way and are therefore "specialization-friendly." The community could easily identify paths, billets, and training required to specialize in each of these core skills. Specialization could begin at accession and continue until completion of a core skill milestone billet at the LCDR level. At that point the three paths merge, essentially "mixing" the knowledge from each path and ensuring representation of each core skill at the more senior levels of leadership.

Another possibility is regional specialization. Unlike the ongoing thread regarding NPS regional curriculum, a regional path could focus on all three core IW skills for a specific region of the globe. Regions could match COCOM areas of responsibility and regional IW Officers would serve in these regions, whenever possible, almost exclusively. Tours could include assignment to forces which deploy to the designated region, followed by duties on fleet staffs and finally the COCOM staff for that region. Other tours might include assignment at a national billet associated with that region.

Finally, we may decide that specialization by supported warfare area is the best path. Warfare areas could be divided into general areas - Surface/Subsurface, Air, and SpecWar. Paths, billets and training required for each area could be identified for each warfare area. Paths could begin after completion of the 1810 qualification and continue until completion of a milestone billet in each area (CRC for surface/subsurface, CNSWG for SpecWar, etc). At this point, all paths would merge. This route would require IW Officers to be well-qualified in all three core skills, SIGINT, CNO, and EW.

Just some food for thought. I am a big fan of some sort of specialization. As I stated recently, I believe that the "well-rounded" path is more beneficial to the individual while specialization is more beneficial to the community as a whole.

v/r

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Postby telowery » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:03 pm

COMEVIL wrote:If we assume for a minute that specialization is the chosen route, we must first determine what skills we would specialize in. It is not enough to simply say we should specialize. In the larger scale, as IW Officers we are already highly specialized. Yet, within our own community there is certainly room for increased specialization. The question is how?

A good place to start would be with the Cryptologic Community Foundational Principles. This document identifies our core skills as SIGINT, CNO, and EW. This certainly seems like a great place to start. Each of these core skills in unique in its own way and are therefore "specialization-friendly." The community could easily identify paths, billets, and training required to specialize in each of these core skills. Specialization could begin at accession and continue until completion of a core skill milestone billet at the LCDR level. At that point the three paths merge, essentially "mixing" the knowledge from each path and ensuring representation of each core skill at the more senior levels of leadership.

Another possibility is regional specialization. Unlike the ongoing thread regarding NPS regional curriculum, a regional path could focus on all three core IW skills for a specific region of the globe. Regions could match COCOM areas of responsibility and regional IW Officers would serve in these regions, whenever possible, almost exclusively. Tours could include assignment to forces which deploy to the designated region, followed by duties on fleet staffs and finally the COCOM staff for that region. Other tours might include assignment at a national billet associated with that region.

Finally, we may decide that specialization by supported warfare area is the best path. Warfare areas could be divided into general areas - Surface/Subsurface, Air, and SpecWar. Paths, billets and training required for each area could be identified for each warfare area. Paths could begin after completion of the 1810 qualification and continue until completion of a milestone billet in each area (CRC for surface/subsurface, CNSWG for SpecWar, etc). At this point, all paths would merge. This route would require IW Officers to be well-qualified in all three core skills, SIGINT, CNO, and EW.

Just some food for thought. I am a big fan of some sort of specialization. As I stated recently, I believe that the "well-rounded" path is more beneficial to the individual while specialization is more beneficial to the community as a whole.

v/r

Comevil


I think you nailed the specialization areas, one could argue that specializing in overall IO would also be an area, but most of our input in the IO world seems to be in the CNO & EW arenas. Anyway you spin it, it's important that those specialists use that skill set in all three facets of warfare...Strategic, Operational and Tactical or it's a waste of their talents.
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Postby COMEVIL » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:21 pm

telowery wrote:I think you nailed the specialization areas, one could argue that specializing in overall IO would also be an area, but most of our input in the IO world seems to be in the CNO & EW arenas. Anyway you spin it, it's important that those specialists use that skill set in all three facets of warfare...Strategic, Operational and Tactical or it's a waste of their talents.


Of the three - Core Skills, Regional, Supported Warfare Area - which do you think would work best?
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Postby IWO » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:05 pm

When I was flying, there was talk of establishing an air-centric career path. From what I remember, I think it would have consisted of a tour or two with NIOC/VQ, then somewhere like Whidbey or NSAWC as a WTI, and VPU OIC/Bahrain XO or CTF-57/72 CRC in there somewhere as well. That would fit with your model COMEVIL of the "specializations" coming together around the LCDR level. And for the O-4 flying-related jobs, those on this track would bring multiple tours of relavent experience to bear. Since I left flying after a few years, I have no idea whether that got off the ground or if there are any IWOs on that track. I also wonder what the model might be for subsurface, as I am not familair with that community. Or would subsurface be considered part of the surface track? Interesting conversation!
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Postby Sum1 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:37 pm

I'm not sure I agree with specializing around platforms. What you end up doing is taking away one of the greatest strengths of the community (in my opinion), which is job variety. I'd also love to see what happens to the sub/surf fleet support specialists with regards to retention when compared to the air or shore-based folks. I can tell you as a guy currently on his 2nd 3-year sea tour in a row that I'm looking forward to a more low stress shore gig next. Knowing that a track required CTF staff support and CRC afloat tours would deter some, especially if they see the CNO guy who sits in an air conditioned office for his entire 9 to 5 career doing cool, sneaky computer stuff.

So I guess my preference would be to see specialization occur around fleet areas or by core competencies. I know regional specialization AQDs exist right now, but perhaps they should be expanded (or new ones developed) to describe the skills gained by working long-term in the same AORs. It might be in the best interest of the Navy to keep officers intimately familiar with the challenges faced in 7th Fleet, for example, within the AOR for multiple tours. This would allow some job variety (DIRSUP tour, PCS afloat tour, Joint/Staff/CTF Duty, etc) while building and expanding target knowledge.
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Postby telowery » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:19 pm

From my perspective it almost appears as if we're already specialized. Individuals willing to stay in a Fleet Concentration Area tend to focus on whatever will keep them there (i.e. SIGINT/EW) while CNO personnel obviously migrate toward Ft. Meade. I was also stationed with SPECWAR and see those individuals (mostly enlisted) attempt to stay within that community. Of course I know "Fleet" SIGINT focused individuals who do not and do not want to understand CNO and vice versa. Same goes for SPECWAR (and I'm sure Airedales) personnel who want nothing to do with "Fleet" SIGINT. So it seems we're "specialized" in functional areas but not one's you'd expect.
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Postby TarHeel98 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:24 am

Shouldn't the community concentrate on being a force multiplier and one at all levels of war-tactical to strategic? From the perspectives of both tactical platforms and operational and strategic staffs, I have found that proficiency in the art of injecting ALL of IW (from EW to CNO to SIGINT) throughout combined arms has been most needed and appreciated. Frankly it means more to the operational and strategic commanders and their decision making than it does to the tactician, I think.

It should also be noted that having a decent working knowledge of both operations and intelligence is a big part of making this work. By understanding operations, I understand how intelligence fits in (and vice versa); this means that I also understand better how to plan (and how to work with planners), and I understand better how to train (and how to assess). Ultimately, I understand how to be a better warfigher-at the end of the day, that is the point, isn't it?
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Postby Sum1 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:31 am

TarHeel98 wrote:Shouldn't the community concentrate on being a force multiplier and one at all levels of war-tactical to strategic? From the perspectives of both tactical platforms and operational and strategic staffs, I have found that proficiency in the art of injecting ALL of IW (from EW to CNO to SIGINT) throughout combined arms has been most needed and appreciated. Frankly it means more to the operational and strategic commanders and their decision making than it does to the tactician, I think.

It should also be noted that having a decent working knowledge of both operations and intelligence is a big part of making this work. By understanding operations, I understand how intelligence fits in (and vice versa); this means that I also understand better how to plan (and how to work with planners), and I understand better how to train (and how to assess). Ultimately, I understand how to be a better warfigher-at the end of the day, that is the point, isn't it?


So the magic question becomes: Who provides the best support to the various levels of warfighting? Generalists or specialists? It was good to point out the bottom-line, but how best to achieve the lofty goal of building the proficiency across all core competencies to best support the warfighter is the real issue. Is it best achieved through generalists or specialists? A team of specialists would be dangerous to an adversary if we leveraged them properly, but are we willing to do what would be necessary with man/train/equip to support those types of operations?
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