Monday, March 2, 2009

Navy Information Warfare Officer Training

Navy Information Warfare Officers play a vital role in defending our national security. Electronic warfare, computer network operations, psychological operations, military deception and operations security are some of the capabilities routinely employed to influence adversarial decision making while protecting our own capabilities.

Information Warfare Officers are directly involved in many aspects of Naval operations, deploying globally to support Navy and joint war-fighting requirements. They provide vital information to tactical-, theater-, and national-level decision makers. They serve within sea, air and shore commands around the globe. And, they lead cryptologic technicians in related activities — afloat and ashore.

The responsibility of the Information Warfare community (NNWC) is to deliver overwhelming information superiority that successfully supports command objectives. This is achieved through the application of Information Operations (IO) and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) expertise. The work involves attacking, defending and exploiting networks to capitalize on vulnerabilities in the information environment. And ultimately, providing war-fighters, planners and policy makers with real-time warning, offensive opportunities and an ongoing operational advantage.

Following graduation from the eleven-week Navy Information Warfare Basic Course at the Center for Information Dominance - Corry Station in Pensacola, Florida, IWOs will report to their first duty assignment. Many Information Warfare Officers serve at the National Security Agency, at the Pentagon, at Regional Cryptologic Centers throughout the country, and aboard ships, submarines and aircraft. Duties typically include:

* Leading Information Operations personnel, as well as advising Commanding Officers and embarked commanders
* Coordinating information warfare measures in exercises and operations
* Assuming responsibility for collection, processing, analysis and reporting of real-time signals intelligence
* Conducting Computer Network Operations (CNO)
* Developing and acquiring cutting-edge exploitation and defense systems

IWOs may have the opportunity to attend the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, to earn an advanced degree. The school offers advanced degrees (master's or doctoral) in many programs and, Information Warfare Officers may have the opportunity to pursue electrical engineering, information warfare, systems engineering, computer science and regional studies.

The Junior Officer Cryptologic Career Program (JOCCP) is a competitive three-year program to broaden your education and experience and includes an intensive internship at the National Security Agency that focuses on the fundamentals of cryptologic skills and leadership. Though not funded as a part of this program, IWOs are also encouraged to earn a master's degree in information systems and technology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, or at other educational institutions nearby.

IWOs may earn special pay such as sea pay and hazardous duty incentive pay for the performance of certain duties. IWOs may also earn Foreign Language Proficiency Pay for proficiency in select foreign languages.

Most prospective Information Warfare Officers attend Officer Candidate School (OCS), a 12-week Navy orientation school in Newport, Rhode Island. OCS will give individuals a working knowledge of the Navy and will prepare them to assume the responsibilities of a being a Navy Officer — morally, mentally and physically. They are challenged to live up to the highest moral standards and to uphold the Navy's core values of honor, courage and commitment. Training will involve memorization of military knowledge, academic courses and military inspections. Physical training will consist of running, calisthenics and aquatic programs.

After completing OCS, IWOs attend the eleven-week Navy Information Warfare Basic Course at the Center for Information Dominance - Corry Station in Pensacola, Florida. This course teaches the fundamentals of Information Warfare and includes:
  • Introduction to Security
  • U.S. Cryptologic System
  • Electromagnetic Theory
  • Satellite Fundamentals
  • Military Communications
  • Signals Collection Operations
  • Tactical Cryptology
  • Collection Management
  • Traffic Analysis
  • SIGINT Reporting
  • Information Operations
  • Computer Networks
This training provides the fundamental skills necessary to conduct cryptologic operations both afloat and ashore. Upon graduation, initial assignments for IWOs will typically be to one of the four National Cryptologic Centers in either San Antonio, Texas; Kunia, Hawaii; Augusta, Georgia; or Fort Meade, Maryland. There, the IWOs will gain additional leadership and management experience.

IW Officers will gain basic leadership and management experience, while completing their Job Qualification Requirements (JQR) for IW officers. These skills are increasingly important as an officer progresses more responsible duties and must motivate and lead our highly skilled enlisted technicians. While assigned to field activities, officers may be given the opportunity to deploy, in a TAD status, aboard combatant ships or submarines. In that capacity the officer is charged with providing tactical cryptologic support to the commanding officer and/or embarked staff. IW Officers will normally complete IWBC and one shore tour prior to assignment to an afloat billet as ship’s company.

Being a Navy Information Warfare Officer offers a rewarding career with a corps of Enlisted and Officer professionals. Some IWOs serve at the forefront of Naval operations worldwide and be on the cutting edge of information warfare technologies. Potential for IWO advancement and continuing education opportunities are the same as or better than in other Navy Officer communities. Career Officers often enjoy increased responsibility and challenges that can include command, Fleet Commander Staff duty, major staff duty and duty as Information Warfare Commander. The specialized knowledge and expertise gained as an Information Warfare Officer, coupled with a security clearance, may prepare IWOs for future employment with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or National Security Agency (NSA) should they decide to return to the civilian sector when their obligated service is finished.

Revised slightly on 03/31/09 and again on 05/11/09.


Anonymous said...

Greetings, recently I was given the nod for commissioning as a SWO-IW. I'm longing to learn from your insight over 30years what is before my wife and I (in the military and in the SWO-IW position) and how to prepare for it? Any time of yours is appreciated Sir.

Conor said...

Wonderful write-up on being an Information Warfare Officer. I am currently applying for Officer Candidate School, and would greatly appreciate any words of advice for my application or things I can do in the meantime to be more competitive.

Thank you for your service to our Nation,


Nick said...

Very in depth description of what being an Information Warfare Officer is all about. Both personally and professionally. I really appreciate the details. I am currently in Afghanistan, trying to assemble a package for STA-21 to apply July 2012. I am mostly surrounded by Marine Corps Officers and would really appreciate some guidance from a former Naval Officer and an experienced memebr of the Information Warfare community. I would like to be sure that the things I am doing now are the right things to be more competitive and will prepare me for a career in IW. I appreciate any time you have.

Kevin said...

Thank you for the very informative write-up. I am currently in transition from the VQ aviation community and several of my squadronmates recommended going IWO. Your column was probably the most informative I could find on the web. Thank you for the help.

Unknown said...

This write up was really good and very informational. I am also applying for OCS and finding IW Officers to do and interview is very difficult. I am Seabee stationed in Gulfport, and there are not IW Officers around. I would appreciate if someone can help me out with an IW interview or at least with some advice to have a better chance at being selected.
Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Question: For IWO's going DIRSUP HI do you get sea pay the whole time you are attached like being attached to a ship or do you only get it if you go out?
Does anyboy know this?

Anonymous said...

In DIRSUP you only get sea pay while you are deployed/attached to the ship/sub/unit.

Unknown said...

I am very interested in joining as IWO if anyone can help me out please email me