Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Ideas for the Navy IW Community

Some time ago, I posted this "empty" gauge for ideas for the IW community. As a result, here are some of the ideas that I received.

1. IW Commanding Officers (COs) should self organize, set their own agenda and have their own IW Commanding Officer's conference via VTC/teleconference to discuss IW community issues.

2. Like-minded IW officers could meet in cyberspace (GOTOMEETING.COM) and chat (brain storm) once a month (on a specific topic) at a designated time with a moderator (IWOCM?).

3. IW COs could set up a best practices blog (similar to the Army's Company Commander's site) to share ideas and practices that have worked for them.

4. Re-evaluate where we are as a community. Can we 'bring back' cryptology?

5. IWOs could become insurgents (ala Seth Godin) and self-market to the warfighter. We used to 'sell' our SIGINT capability to the warfighter and had Flag officers champion our capabilities. How do we regain that?

6. Information Warfare Commanders self-organize and set their own agenda and have their own IW Commander conference via VTC/teleconference to discuss IW Commander issues. Built a story for their reliefs. What are the respective IW Commanders doing? What are they not doing that they should?

7. Build a repository of IW officer and enlisted lessons learned from the IA/GSA experience on SIPRNET. What are we doing right; what have we done wrong?

8. Review our progress on the IW officer survey. Where do we stand on the actions recommended in the survey? Are we done? What did we accomplish with the survey?

9. Get the IW blog back into the open. (Note: I think this is done now with some visibility on FaceBook). If it's good enough for Admiral Chad Allen (USCG) and Admiral Jim Stavridis (SOUTHCOM), then it's good enough for us. Hey, do our Flags tweet?

10. Change our detailing process. (Not much help with this one since no other specifics were provided. What do you want to change about it? What paygrades are we talking about? Is it detailing in general or slating/command screening? More specifics, please. Not enough to go on here).

Recent Addition: (6/8/10)

11. Provide more transparency on the command slating process. Republish the O5/O6 slate and distribute widely.


Anonymous said...

It is borderline criminal what happened to this community. A victim of self-serving, incompetent, disengaged, and arrogant senior leadership.

1610 Captain said...

Denedin, FL,

That's pretty harsh.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine needing all these groups and external meetings if there was strong, proactive, engaged leadership within the community? Did you experience anything like these comments when Jim McFarland was running the Naval Security Group? CDR D.

1610 Captain said...


I did not experience anything like this when RADM McFarland was NSG. The culture was completely different. I wonder how he would have embraced all the technology we enjoy today.

I am reading from his notes about "achievement #6 on his top 10 list" - he says "Because of the uniques aspect of our business and its dynamic technical challenges, successfully lobbied to control the Cryptologic Officers School in my own command (NSG). The result: On time, full sixteen (16) week curriculum. Now an entry level requirement for all officers. Commanding Officers around the world have documented the improvement - officers qualify much earlier and now make INSTANT contributions. MORALE, CONFIDENCE much higher.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that!!

CDR D said...

Move this whole post back to the top of your blog.

General Quarters said...

Examine veracity of unexamined (or taken for granted) strategic assumptions underlying IW community thought such as:
1) What happens to IW community if Peak Oil is real as JFCOM seems to believe? Does Peak Oil mean Peak Net or Peak Tech?
2) Is EMP a show stopper for IW? Will there be an IW community after EMP first strike? If so, what does it do in the immediate aftermath?
3) Does net technology continue to expand exponentially over time, or is a point of diminishing returns reached?
4) What kind of naval formation is likely to succeed the CVBG and how will the IW community adapt to it?
5) There appears to be an intense form of economic warfare that is being played out on networks in various markets; does the Navy IW community have a role here?
These are just a few of many possible questions. Not being a member of the community or active naval officer, perhaps this is being addressed elsewhere. I bring it up because I've been seeing a lot of repackaged SOS in these vision (for real visions, I recommend a sweat lodge session) documents, for at least 20 years. Good to occasionally go back to square 1 and start thinking afresh.

Anonymous said...

This is a pretty simple list of tools that may help the IW community, or any community for that matter. But it doesn't speak to the real matter at hand -- reinventing the IW community.

How about getting back to, and focusing on, our core capabilities? When the community was renamed/repacked IW, not much else changed except our name. Although it added a ton of confusion to who we are and what we do. To this day, the majority of what we do revolves around SIGINT and EW, with CNO becoming increasingly important in the wired age. Everything else is just fluff...

So in a sentence, get back to the basics principles, framed in the modern technology of today.

FOD said...

"We used to 'sell' our SIGINT capability to the warfighter and had Flag officers champion our capabilities. How do we regain that?"

Simple, what are your stories? And do they matter to the warfighters?
Among young dirsuppers back during the Cold War, there was a legend about a DSE inbrief with a skipper before Black Sea ops, the DirSup Officer, Marty Kurdys, had reported told the skipper - "We're here to help you put a weapon on them before they put a weapon on us." Stories reflect and transmit the culture... We had those stories in SecGru. gotomeeting, brainstorming, best practices is nice.. but what are your stories?

Anonymous said...

Need to be more transparent in some respects. I am an end user of the IW information and I understand what it gives me. However, too many DIRSUP people come aboard ships and the hide behind the steel door. Never integrating into the ship or bothering to educate the end user on what capabilities they bring or products we can use.
Secrecy is important however if no one knows what you do then people will quickly deem you obsolete and forget about you.
My opinion as a 20 year OPS Tech LDO

Winston Smith said...

When we have to "sell" ourselves to afloat COs and SG Commanders with words, and can't back it up with action, we are done. That steel door is getting thicker every year.

Anonymous said...


Great point! I think, at the tactical level, this is still very much happening, especially in the SpecWar world where "find, fix" is a key part of the "finish" piece. And I can think of myriad additional examples where our efforts continue to make a huge difference on the batttlefield. Unfortunately, getting our senior leadership to champion these successess seems to be the challenge. They seem to be too busy focusing on the packaging of the community vice the contents.

Anonymous said...

1. Return to deckplate leadership - and while at it move away from VTCs and more towards hands-on personal stuff...yeah, it costs more OPTAR butdeal with it. Leadership leadership leadership.

2. Push capabilities hard with operators / triggerpullers. Show them proof of success.

3. Don't work around the 1630/5's ...work with them but don't let them claim credit for your work

4. ADM Stavridis is now NATO.

5. Leadership...

Anonymous said...

A couple of points:

CAPT Lambert, your reply to the first post, unfortunately, gets mixed into the "part of the problem" column, it's not harsh, it's truth. That first post was spot on with the exception of leaving out one key point namely this communities' incessant chasing of "buzz words" (i.e. CYBER) all the while forsaking its core (item #4 on the list) which is cryptology.

So, firstly, lets put the "C" back in CT.

Second, the word most keep missing here is irrelevance. A couple of posters bring up DIRSUP riders. Whether it is DIRSUP or PCS afloat, we have allowed ourselves to be all but rendered irrelevant to our primary "customer" our own ships.

I learned a simple set of priorities coming up, ship, group, fleet, area, (and if you have time at the end of the day) national. That listing has gone completely 180 over the last 10-15 years.

It does not take a TAO long to figure out when they call the ES bubbas, either in SSES or CIC and get "negative ES" routinely, to just stop asking. That is what is killing us.

We have got to get back to providing organic I&W or we are done.

Unfortunately, I see no leaders on the horizon that will do what must be done to save the cryptologic community and those of us that see the problem/s can't seem to gain traction with those that can fix them.


Winston Smith said...

Great point Senior. Negative ES is a common echo throughout the fleet. We have painted ourselves in a corner with extremely low training standards and with complex systems with very little detailed training. Just recalling a not so recent event when my ship went through ULTRA C, we had a IT1 (non-CTO) as the ATG SME to assess us. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Having done both traditional cryptology and cyber I can tell you that one of the biggest things killing our community is a steady decline in training and competence. Most linguists are no longer effective (both with their gear and tactical application of the language) and your spec sigs have degenerated into overglorified black box babysitters. The situation isn't much better on the cyber side with all of your smartest CTNs being snatched up for closed loop national billets or heading for $$$ in civie land. This is just the enlisted guys I'm talking about - not even going to address the disconnect with the officers.

I lay the blame squarely on our evaluation system which rewards "Sailorisation" over "Professional Competence". I also blame the loss of an overall command atmosphere that encouraged Sailors to excel at their rate - not collats and chili dog sales.

We need to get back to basics (warheads on foreheads - outbound & inbound) or the marginalization of our community will continue.

- Random Blueshirt CTN

Anonymous said...

Captain first time I have seen this article. But it is spot on and a lot of the comments are spot on. I have been in this business a long time and as we initially started to go to sea PCS and what effect we had with driving the ship. What changed we started putting people in CRC positions (for promotion) who had not been at sea or had been removed until they made 04, then became the N2A and was not focused on cryptologic operations underway, even forgot what sector their cryptologic platforms were operating in. We are now a what can you do for me, lets jump on the CYBER train and forget about the rest of IW, IO and Cryptology (because that will not get me promoted) I can honestly say, CYBER will work as an enabler to all other IO disciplines. As I always tell the flags when I get a chance how many T-hawks have we launched in the last five years. Verse what we have done for you enabling the big picture. We are still relevant but we are now a Strategic, Operational and Tactical level operators, unfortuanetly all three of those people have never met. We need to reinvest in our sailors and establish what we are doing at sea and ashore, I have talked to several sailors while deployed 14 times and each one complains about training, is it training or is it leadership that does not continue follow on training?

R Paul