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IWTC Monterey Detachment Goodfellow Revives School for Navy Cryptologic Language Analysts

05 April 2021

From Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Heather Cliver, Information Warfare Training Command Monterey Detachment Goodfellow

Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Monterey Detachment Goodfellow officially stood up its “A3” school for cryptologic technician (interpretive), or CTI, students, rejoining the consolidated Apprentice Cryptologic Language Analyst (ACLA) courses after 15 years of separate Navy-managed training programs via language centers of excellence, Apr. 1.
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Monterey Detachment Goodfellow officially stood up its “A3” school for cryptologic technician (interpretive), or CTI, students, rejoining the consolidated Apprentice Cryptologic Language Analyst (ACLA) courses after 15 years of separate Navy-managed training programs via language centers of excellence, Apr. 1.

The Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, Korean, Persian Farsi, Russian, and Spanish consolidated ACLA courses at Goodfellow, managed by Air Education Training Command 17th Training Group, 316th Training Wing, have long served as the critical second step for mission-essential training to language analysts of all four DoD services – at least until the Navy departed in 2005.

From 2005 to 2020, Navy cryptologic language analysts exclusively received initial mission training via Apprentice Cryptologic Language Program (ACLP) instruction at their first duty station, immediately following language accession “A” school at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. Back then, the shift to ACLP was instituted as a means to bring the most updated training and resources to Sailors while they were in close proximity to operations, and as a more cost-effective method by eliminating the interim stop at Goodfellow.

However, cryptologic language analyst missions, skillset demands and joint service interoperability have seen significant changes since that decision. In light of new and highly variegated mission environments, stakeholders at the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT), Navy Information Operations and Office of the Chief of Naval Operations took a hard look at the effectiveness of ACLP, and made the determination to reverse course.

The rationale for this change is clear, as Master Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Micah Epley, IWTC Monterey Detachment Goodfellow senior enlisted leader and former ACLA instructor, explained, “The training available now in the joint environment is more akin to what our Sailors will see in the fleet, so providing that environment starting with [ACLA] training is a better option. It allows us to leverage increased manning, resources and experiences of all our service partners. Also, because the ACLP courses were only located at the four centers of excellence, it prohibited first term Sailors from being stationed at other sites.”

Prior experiences with ACLP echo this sentiment among Navy instructors new to Goodfellow.

“ACLP trimmed [the ACLA curriculum] down to very specific skillsets,” described Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 1st Class Arturo Dominguez, one of the ACLA Chinese course instructors. “The instructors made it fun, but they were limited by the material available, compared to what this [ACLA] course does. We’ve had students ask questions that other [joint service] instructors here from different backgrounds are able to answer. There is also more pressure here to succeed, and students have the capstone exercise to look forward to.”

As ACLA now takes the lead, ACLP iterations are tapering off, and all courses taught at the centers of excellence will be officially sun downed by the end of 2021. What began as a gradual influx of Navy staff to Goodfellow throughout 2020 has rapidly expanded to 15 instructors with more inbound, and the student throughput continues to grow exponentially. Positive effects of this change are already evident from both the staff and student levels.

Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 1st Class Alejandro Gonzalez, the first fully-qualified instructor among new Navy staff and Instructor of the Quarter nominee, has now taught four Arabic ACLA course iterations with nothing but glowing feedback on the reintegration.

“Having Navy [students] in the joint class environment is phenomenal, because right off the bat they are exposed to their equivalents and peers,” he said, when asked about the benefits to ACLA. “Compared to ACLP, this program is more relevant to what will be expected in the field. In terms of qualification, having CTIs coming in and joining the program is really exciting. I look forward to getting all our staff into the fold.”

Base leadership and joint service ACLA staff alike have embraced the new Navy population with enthusiasm. Navy instructors bring notable skill and ingenuity to the already impressive talent pool in the ACLA schoolhouse, contributing to curriculum updates from their diverse mission experiences, and the first waves of Navy students are asking all the right questions.

One student and class leader in the current Chinese ACLA course, Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 3rd Class Breanna Cherchio, commented on the training environment.

“Having a variety of instructors in the classrooms explain their backgrounds has been very helpful for giving us relevant information about mission expectations,” she said. “Overall, the class is doing well; we ask a lot of questions and have a fun dynamic. I personally like getting different perspectives on the answers.”

Along with these leaps and bounds of progress, the Navy Detachment continues to tackle logistical challenges of the stand-up for its growing and changing Sailor needs. This includes everything from expansion and refinement of administrative processes to future barracks projects.
Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 1st Class Scott McLaughlin, an instructor in the Spanish ACLA course, has heavily contributed to in-processing improvements for the new CTI students which now extend to the entire student population.

“Sponsorship processes were nonexistent when I came on board for CTI students,” remarked McLaughlin. “But now, we have detailed reporting procedures, leadership reach-back to [IWTC] Monterey counterparts for student tracking, and more. With indoctrination, we’ve done a complete overhaul, up to IG standards, and fully catering to the student experience here at Goodfellow for all CT students. Critiques for the new program have been very positive.”

As ACLA moves forward in 2021, the staff and students of IWTC Monterey Detachment Goodfellow are more than up to the task, ensuring a bright future for the next generation of CTI operators in diverse mission environments.

IWTC Monterey Detachment Goodfellow is aligned under IWTC Monterey. As part of the CIWT domain, they provide a continuum of foreign language training to Navy personnel, which prepares them to conduct information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations.

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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