Sub-specialty Codes

Sub-specialty Codes

Postby Schlag » Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:44 am

Stupid question, but one I've always been curious about. What sub-specialty codes are valued by the Information Warfare Community? The Information Dominance Corps? Are there degrees/education goals that are valued beyond the 3 offered by NPS (EE, Comp Sci, and Cyber Sys)?

Have we properly aligned our sub-specialty codes to a) leverage the Navy's investment in an officer's education and b) capitalize upon proven mastery in a particular sub-specialty?

Just spit-balling and seeing what the consensus is out there or if there is validated milestones that higher authority can elaborate on.
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Re: Sub-specialty Codes

Postby yoshi » Tue Dec 10, 2013 3:57 am

Not a stupid question at all, i don't think. not sure i can answer it, but it seems to me the sub specialty codes are valued (loosely defined term here) by the Navy at NPC as a theoretical tool to find the right fit with which to fill (a billet). I don't think the community cares too much about a wide variety of sub-specialty codes, except for those connected to specific critical billets (required fill vice desired fill). Interestingly, I know several officers who have subspecialty codes but have NEVER served in the billet matching the code. This was largely done for career opportunity reasons (no point in sending a sub-specialist to a particular billet if he or she won't be around to make good on the Navy investment) or because the sub-specialty is of no value to the community (i have one of these) and its better to send the officer to any community job ahead of one which would use that sub-specialty.

With respect to the return on investment, I remember a Senator group visiting NPS to discuss this very same topic, as they felt we (military) were routinely failing to promote officers who had only just recently completed a Master's, often in very competitive fields of study. So, I think the answer is no, we don't get ROI like we should. Truthfully, given what i have seen, I have a hard time keeping faith in the notion that sub-specialty codes are important in their connection to billet requirements. Enlisted NECs are far more important than officer subspecialty codes. There are some jobs which require a hard match (such as maybe a FAO, or finance, or astronaut (maybe not so much anymore, i guess)), but most officers of the line are general managers, facilitating the ability of their enlisted personnel to do the job. The more knowledge , the better, of course, but if i need to have intimate knowledge of computer operating systems and various programming languages to function successfully on the job... ...I am probably a CTN. I find it curious how we are desperate to have our officers take EE and comp sci (presumably for "technical" cyber related knowledge, ie CTN rating), while graduate level languages and International Relations (CTI rating) are not options for study. This has gone back and forth over the years, based on community leadership personality, but I think we are now on a technical only path and have put the "softer" academics in the rear view mirror for good.
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Re: Sub-specialty Codes

Postby Wolfpack » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:01 am

The better question is what are you interested in and what do you want to do in the nAvy/IW/IDC? I am about 99.9% that no promotion board has ever cared about sub=spec codes so long as you have the ones you need to stay competitive. I am not an IW, but I was responsible for Intel Sub-Spec codes for three years. In multiple conversations with people on selection boards, I have never gotten the word that they make or break anyone.

The advice I have been given, and have consistently told others was that you should obtain the ones you need to remain competitive in your community, you should obtain the ones that are in your area of interest and that will help you be competitive for the assignments you desire.

Love to hear is anyone on boards can tell me anything different.
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Re: Sub-specialty Codes

Postby Schlag » Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:16 am

Wolfpack wrote:The better question is what are you interested in and what do you want to do in the nAvy/IW/IDC? ...The advice I have been given, and have consistently told others was that you should obtain the ones you need to remain competitive in your community, you should obtain the ones that are in your area of interest and that will help you be competitive for the assignments you desire.


So I've heard the same and intend to do so in the pursuit of my Master's, but this is more from an intellectual curiosity perspective rather than career advice.

The URL communities make no bones about what sub-specialties they would like to see but that's directly driven by the sub-specialties allocated to their designator (or even the generic 1000 designator for all URL codes). Their desires also span the full gambit of academia so it's very easy for one to pick something they like and go for it and it works for the Navy as well.

For IW, I figured it was safe to assume what was valued (but then again, there's a question whether or not Cyber Systems even has a sub-specialty code). But what about our IDC brethren? And isn't that something worth knowing about the other communities since we're now in this together (especially as cross-detailing becomes more prevalent)?
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