Sunday, May 17, 2009

Culture in the USN - Information Warfare

An important element of the Navy culture does not have ancient roots, but is rather a function of the evolution of the Navy and, to a great extent, the evolution of technology and hardware.

Moreso than members of the other services, the Sailor identifies with a specific warfare specialty or community. The Army has its infantry, artillery, and armor officers, for example, but the centripetal force of the information warfare, surface, submarine, aviation, INTEL, and special warfare communities in the Navy exceeds anything their comrades in arms in other uniforms know.

While some of this power comes from parochialism, there is a more substantial reason for it. No matter their branch, all Army officers operate on, or very near to, the ground. Land warfare is their specialty; they work on the ground. In contrast, Information Warfare officers operate on the surface of the water, some underneath it, others fly high above it, and still others use the water as the springboard for special operations on land: different warfare community, different medium in which they operate.

IWOs think differently because they have to—the varying mediums in which Information Warfare officers operate demand it.

Surface warfare officers see themselves as the “backbone” of the naval service, involved in all facets of our nation’s defense from power projection ashore to maritime interdiction operations and law enforcement. Submariners take pride in being known as the “Silent Service,” referring not only to the stealthiness of their platform, but also to their culture of not discussing their specific operations with others.

Uniquely, Information Warfare officers
operate in the highly-classified Air, Surface and Subsurface environments regularly and some have even qualified as mission specialists on the NASA Space Shuttle.


So far as I know, IW is the only officer specialty that operates in ALL Navy environments.

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