IDWO Board thought provoking questions

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IDWO Board thought provoking questions

Postby egriff25 » Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:45 pm

Good afternoon all,

Looking for some input/feedback on a few items I was pondering in preparation for my IDWO board.

1. As currently constructed there are two different ideas/paths that an IW officer can take. The shipboard(SESS DIVO DDG, SESS DIVO Big Deck, CRC, DIWC with shore staff/joint/ NIOC's in between) future DIWC route, or the Cyber(CNMF??/NIOC) route. Obviously I understand that exposure to both of these disciplines/roles should occur to make us competitive for leadership positions down the road. The specialist factor comes into play where we are the ones expected to be able to back up that CVN CO, we cannot do that effectively if we are splitting time between to different functions. Is it a realistic idea to have these functions handled by two different designators? 1840's could become the Cyber Warfare types, While 1810's remain the SIGINT/EW folks.

2. The IDBC is a start for us to develop into the cadre of ID professionals, along with Mid Career Course(I'm not sure what this course covers). I mention this because IMO all IDC JO's are not exposed to the same amount's of training and information to expose them to the IDC as a whole. At my Command we hit on all the areas of IDC, but I have talked to others in the various communities that their boards were designator specific. We can be exposed/ become proficient in our ares and gain more layers as we move up, ultimately with those select few being cross-detailed and becoming 1860 Flags.

3. Finally, I have heard several opinions as to why a Pilot is in Charge of the IDC (Theory of combining multiple disciplines, Street Cred, No more 3 star billets), Other than politics is there a specific reason for this? Also, RADM Train is selected to succeed VADM Branch? so wouldn't mentioning any of the former be speculation ?

Again just looking for inputs/opinions. Thanks
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Re: IDWO Board thought provoking questions

Postby COMEVIL » Fri Mar 13, 2015 11:31 am

egriff25 wrote:Good afternoon all,

Looking for some input/feedback on a few items I was pondering in preparation for my IDWO board.

1. As currently constructed there are two different ideas/paths that an IW officer can take. The shipboard(SESS DIVO DDG, SESS DIVO Big Deck, CRC, DIWC with shore staff/joint/ NIOC's in between) future DIWC route, or the Cyber(CNMF??/NIOC) route. Obviously I understand that exposure to both of these disciplines/roles should occur to make us competitive for leadership positions down the road. The specialist factor comes into play where we are the ones expected to be able to back up that CVN CO, we cannot do that effectively if we are splitting time between to different functions. Is it a realistic idea to have these functions handled by two different designators? 1840's could become the Cyber Warfare types, While 1810's remain the SIGINT/EW folks.


A few thoughts:

- There are more paths than surface or cyber; we have plenty of tactical billets that support all elements of Naval Warfare, to include surface, subsurface, air, and SpecWar

- We already have a cyber warfare specialty known as Cyber Warfare Engineer

- Much of this work -- SIGINT, Cyber, EW -- overlaps and none of these specialties can or should be conducted in a vacuum

That being said, I have advocated for some specialty in the past, either aligned by warfare area or specialty. You could probably finds those threads easily enough with a quick search. Unfortunately, I am not sure the billet base supports specialization. At the same time, senior leadership continues to advocate for well-rounded career paths.

What do we gain by specialization?

And what do we lose?
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Re: IDWO Board thought provoking questions

Postby egriff25 » Fri Mar 13, 2015 2:40 pm

A few thoughts:

- There are more paths than surface or cyber; we have plenty of tactical billets that support all elements of Naval Warfare, to include surface, subsurface, air, and SpecWar

- We already have a cyber warfare specialty known as Cyber Warfare Engineer

- Much of this work -- SIGINT, Cyber, EW -- overlaps and none of these specialties can or should be conducted in a vacuum

That being said, I have advocated for some specialty in the past, either aligned by warfare area or specialty. You could probably finds those threads easily enough with a quick search. Unfortunately, I am not sure the billet base supports specialization. At the same time, senior leadership continues to advocate for well-rounded career paths.

What do we gain by specialization?


And what do we lose?[/quote]

Copy, I meant in a more broad sense. I understand we have those tactical billets, I was trying to formulate the discussion around the typical question which is why we are not the IWC and how do we get there. My thought based on my exposure (which is limited from an IDC fleet perspective) is that we should be the IWC as we are the ones with the most knowledge in this arena. Can that knowledge base be improved? Absolutely! There must be changes in order to facilitate this transition, which is why I think specializing in SIGINT/EW is a career path that should allow us to remain competitive for promotions. The billet sequence allows for us to have exposure to multiple disciplines and mission sets without having that SME, which ultimately leads to us not being able to raise our hand and say we will take the IWC. I’m sure there were/are DIWC’s that are more than capable of assuming this responsibility, and one of my proposals(for my Board) is a fleet up to IWC after DIWC tour.

CWE as I understand was created to create a constant influx of technical personnel that have knowledge of the newest technologies to help us design and implement new tools. I think a Cyber Officer will allow for specialization is the Cyber arena. Obviously we will continue to share and fuse this information at our commands and even have a Cyber O on staff as capabilities become implemented. The IDC IMO is built around specialists who know where and how to obtain information from their counterparts in other areas. I understand this may limit some of the opportunities for CYBER/SIGINT/EW exposure, however If we view ourselves as generalists even within our own designator I don’t think that’s helps the overall goal of Information Dominance.
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Re: IDWO Board thought provoking questions

Postby yoshi » Fri Mar 13, 2015 4:40 pm

Why we aren't the IWCs: First and foremost, it's because of NWP 3-56. That publication indicates the Commander is the IWC (if I remember it correctly - recommend you double check). So, to the extent we are filling IWC roles, they are as D/IWCs. The Commanders generally delegate everything down to the D/IWC, but only the Commanders have that title. I expect this will change over time and am only pointing this out as a technicality for the purposes of your board.

With respect to us having the most knowledge and thus being a natural choice for IWC, I don't necessarily agree. It's about the ability to integrate your capability with fires/operations. D/IWCs experience comparative disadvantage, relative to other warfare commanders, as it is far more time-consuming and complicated for the Commander to apply cyber, MISO, EW, etc than to apply those other tools which are under the Commander's complete control and whose implementation is inherently in synch with the deployed Commander's Battle Rhythm (rather than some other organization's rhythm or priority list). Thus, D/IWCs focus on the well known network and information conditions to produce a steady-state environment which is as secure as possible and in support of ongoing operations. I believe this is some of why the CSGs on the East Coast have begun using N6s as the "IWC". The N6s know the C5I and networks of the platforms far better; their billet history breeds N6 SMEs. DO NOT misunderstand me - I am NOT envious. The move to N6s for IWC is pretty recent, and I am interested to see what it will mean for our O5 milestone billets on CSGs (I guess they would technically be Assistant D/IWCs). Similarly, I think the EMW concept will see other communities picking up certain aspects of IO on deployed staffs in which are or were previously involved. Ultimately, if trends continue, my guess is we will have less of an IO "posture" than we have had to date.

From the community perspective, I do not believe we have the billet base to support specialization, given all the other water we have to carry. Overall, our officer footprint on ships and Fleet staffs has stayed the same or even trended toward reduction. Specialization always brings some benefit - but I believe our community leadership made the decision for us to be well rounded, given 1) all of the places and missions in which we are involved and 2) the increasing crossover of SIGINT/cyber/EW. The 1810 community has a much wider aperture of focus than do the other IDC communities. IPs focus on Navy networks and C5I, which is pretty narrow in comparison. The same is true for intelligence officers and METOC folks - a narrower focus for what they have to be able to do. Thus, it makes sense for us to have varied experiences, given our varied functions and employment. However, I do believe we could do a much better job of where we distribute our officers, particularly on Fleet staffs, to have a greater impact. Right now, we hang out in the N2 shops for the same reason we prefer CRC to DIWC - we understand it and are comfortable. We tend to stay in that lane and often problems in other areas go unnoticed (until the Fleet Maintenance Officer cancels an INC install, as one example, and Flag officers have to get involved). I could easily argue, based on what I have experienced, that in order to best represent our community equities in support of the overall goal we need officers in other shops. Still, nothing is perfect - It is a growing process for us from the most senior to the most junior. We are still learning how to position ourselves to execute our own operational missions and represent our equities in support of the overall Fleets efforts.
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Re: IDWO Board thought provoking questions

Postby COMEVIL » Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:24 am

One additional thought on the IWC construct. We, IDC writ large but especially IW, need to stop pounding the table on why should be the IWC. Instead, we need to demonstrate by our actions what makes us the best choice. If we are successful, we will rise the top as the natural fit. Until then, we need to fix what is already in place. Serve on a CSG staff and you'll see just how bad we are at executing all aspects -- EW, EA, ES, OPDEC, etc -- of Electro-Magnetic Maneuver Warfare (EMMW). We need to get our house in order before we demand to be head of the household.
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Re: IDWO Board thought provoking questions

Postby egriff25 » Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:07 am

Great insight!

While I understand the "jack of all trades" line of thinking, I do not think it makes sense from a mission success stand point. I have had this conversation with other JO's in the training process and the ones that disagree tend to go into the Officers are leaders, MTE facilitators and the need for us to be SME's simply is not there. I agree, that we are leaders and should be able to adapt based on what mission and situation we are placed in. However, the way our billets work we are often one of the few IDC officers afloat. Reachback support and networking skills are great, but I think the Commanders are coming to us with the expectation of this guy/gal is going to give/get me an answer in with little turnaround time.

As long as the current CWC construct is working successfully, there is no need to hurry along a change. We can implement training processes now to facilitate a transition in the future (IDBC). Again, IMO we need to have two distinct path's or designators. SIGINT/EW and Cyber. They are all equally important and related but their importance needs to be emphasized by having dedicated manpower.

Thanks again for the insight!!
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Re: IDWO Board thought provoking questions

Postby yoshi » Sun Mar 15, 2015 3:49 pm

Understand your points, but I humbly disagree with you. Importance/value is a perception formed by performance, not designator. It's interesting to me to see the newer folks trend toward the idea of two designators. We are headed in the opposite direction (IDC as one community), and there is no doubt (in my mind) the overall level of our community's technical competence will degrade. I find it heartening the newer folks are mentally exploring how we can go about preserving what is critical. That said, I don't think there is fidelity between designators and experience/acumen.

I don't feel we can rely on administrative moves to guarantee outcomes which are achieved only through hard work. Experience is the better guarantor of technical expertise. The generalist approach admittedly leaves the level of technical expertise gained entirely up to the officer. But, it's worked very well over time. I could argue too well, in fact, for some of our officers, as one can simply wait for their two to be done and run back to a job where everyone is like them. We have a few officers who are either SIGINT, cyber, or EW illiterate. However, many more of our officers are Fleet illiterate - specifically on platforms/afloat staffs and ashore staffs - and that is arguably a far more dangerous prospect for as long as USFFC, as BSO 60, continues to pay for the C10F cyber billets and for a significant potion of the other billets we have. If you want to guarantee expertise, make the expertise valued by the community. We do that a little with our CRC (CSG only) and cyber jobs, but that's about it. By the time we hit O5, technical expertise matters less than getting along, being willing, knowing the landscape, understanding processes, and leader ego. I don't think our community values jobs in the Fleet other than CSG CRC and maybe SPECWAR jobs (can't think of any other O4 operational fleet jobs). We have DIWC operational milestones, but not for long, I don't think. Selection and screening boards generally tell us the truth about what is valued.

This paragraph is a community level perspective, not an individual perspective:
SIGINT/EW and Cyber are not equally important (in terms of what they do for the community or for the Navy). I don't care what people tell you, that's not reality. Yes, it is important for us to perform in each discipline equally well, but they are not equally important to the community or to the Navy. There is far more money coming from, and for, cyber, at least for now. That could change, depending on realized limitations of cyber (hugely dependent on a number of factors), but right now that's the way it is. Look at our billet base, where our people are at, and what they are doing. That should provide a solid understanding for what is most important. Two designators of unequal importance is probably a way to make one of them irrelevant. Right now, the inequity, if any, is contained inside of individual careers. And, we can better protect our valued expertise in boards (via precept/convening order) when everyone is together in one designator (promote/screen the more valued, FOS/pass the less valued).
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