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The Center for Information Warfare Training Celebrates 45 Years of Accreditation

10 November 2020

From Glenn Sircy

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- The Council on Occupational Education (COE) recognized the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT) for 45 years of accredited status at the council’s virtual annual meeting, Nov. 9.
PENSACOLA, Fla. -- The Council on Occupational Education (COE) recognized the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT) for 45 years of accredited status at the council’s virtual annual meeting, Nov. 9.

"Having the Council on Occupational Education recognize CIWT for 45 years of accreditation is not only a direct reflection of the hard work and dedication of the entire CIWT team, but the Navy as a whole," said CIWT's Commanding Officer Capt. Marc Ratkus. "Our domain professionals spend long hours developing and refining our courses and processes toward continued academic excellence, affording our warfighters college credits they’ve earned and deserve.”

CIWT, which is the Navy’s first learning center to become accredited with the COE in 1975, has undergone self-studies and subsequent site visits about every six years in order to maintain this recognition.

"Maintaining our COE accreditation affords those we train with the ability to attain college credits for the training we offer," said Denise Myers, a CIWT instructional systems specialist. "By having the approved COE seal on our graduation certificates, our trainees can take their graduation certificates to their college or university of choice and have proof that the level of training they received from CIWT is equal to what is offered at colleges and universities throughout the world."

The award of accreditation is based on an evaluation to demonstrate that the institution meets not only the standards of quality of the council, but also the needs of students, the community, and employers.

Accreditation is a remarkable and celebrated recognition, but it’s only the first step for institutions dedicated to demonstrating continued academic excellence. The time and resources needed to maintain accreditation are substantial. For example, an accredited institution is required to submit an annual report to show compliance with COE standards and criteria. Every program must have an advisory committee that meets at least twice a year to document curriculum changes, analyze academically pertinent statistics, and assess student and faculty surveys. The resulting report offers both COE and NETC a clear window into the successes and pain points of every program.

Accreditation reaffirmation typically occurs every six years after initial accreditation or subsequent reaffirmation. The process requires attending a self-study workshop, preparing a new institutional self-study report, and hosting a team visit. Cooperation and participation from the institution’s governing body, administration, and every member of the staff is vital to the success of the self-study. This significant undertaking is a clear indicator of an institution’s commitment to its students, community and the workforce.

The self-study also allows the institution to assess itself on its ability to deliver on its own goals and objectives and meet the ten standards set by COE. It is also an opportunity for the school to identify deficiencies in compliance or educational offerings and determine a plan for continual improvement. When deciding whether an institution will be granted reaffirmation, the visiting team relies on the self-study report, student and faculty interviews, supporting documentation, and observations about the institution’s services and facilities.

“The process of self-study afforded CIWT a unique opportunity to conduct an in-depth analysis of the training and infrastructure that supports our mission to deliver trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services, enabling optimal performance of information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations,” said Don Kania, the CIWT learning standards officer. "The COE's review and comments are one of many review programs that focus on continual improvement to the quality instruction CIWT delivers."

The Council on Occupational Education, based in Atlanta, Georgia, offers quality assurance services to postsecondary career and technical education providers across the nation. Organized as a non-profit corporation, the mission of the council is to assure quality and integrity in career and technical education. Services offered include institutional accreditation, recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, program quality reviews for states and workforce education providers, and informational services. Most of the council’s work is carried out by qualified professional volunteers who are experts in workforce education.

Institutional membership in the council is voluntary, but can only be achieved by becoming accredited. The members include postsecondary public technical institutes and colleges, specialized military and national defense schools, Job Corps Centers, private career schools, non-profit workforce education providers, corporate and industry education units, federal agency institutions and registered apprenticeships. The council is unique among all accrediting agencies with respect to the diversity of entities that it accredits. There are over 590 institutional members at the present time.

CIWT’s next accreditation reaffirmation is expected to begin in 2025.

With four schoolhouse commands, a detachment, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan, CIWT trains over 22,000 students every year, delivering trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. CIWT also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and officers in the information warfare community.

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