The Navy’s Cyber Warrant Officer (CyWO) community has been building its Primary Qualification Standard (PQS) based on years of experience and just recently was able to make it a reality.
As the proponent for cyber training, the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT), at the Information Warfare Training Center Corry Station, drove the process of managing CyWOs with the depth of knowledge in full spectrum cyber operations to define their roles, and responsibilities in the PQS document; establishing the standard for the CyWO program within the information warfare community.
Laurie Luke, one of CIWT’s PQS managers, served as the facilitator and PQS workshop supervisor during the development of the CyWO PQS. She explained the process that goes into building a PQS, relating how they go through the three components of the PQS: fundamentals - tasks and skills necessary to work in the field; systems - the different equipment and systems involved with the field; and watch stations - the places that they will be doing the tasks while working in the field.
Luke said that due to continued COVID-19 concerns and budgetary constraints the workshop was done on the Microsoft Teams platform. During the PQS development workshop a team of seven CyWOs gathered virtually and worked through deciding on the fundamentals, systems and work stations for their field to develop the PQS that is going forward to Naval Information Forces for certification as the standard for the field.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Rachel Doucet, Integrated Discovery Center (IDC) Cyber Deputy at Navy Information Operations Command Colorado, served on the CyWO PQS development team and was a leader in the effort to standardize the role of the cyber warrant and break from the prior structure.
“As a force, we have evolved due to the ever-changing cyber domain and we took time to define our roles, understand our cyber force’s strength, and weaknesses, and identify our capability gaps,” said Doucet. “CyWO’s are under the Cryptologic Warfare (CW) community umbrella and were expected to pursue the CW PQS. CWs are expected to apply their expertise at the tactical, operational, and, strategic levels of war while employed on ships, submarines, aircraft, with Naval Special Warfare, across the intelligence community, or on major Navy and joint staffs.”
“A CyWO deeply rooted in the intensive CW program brings superior knowledge and allows them to deliver competitive outcomes in all domains of warfare through the application of SIGINT (signals intelligence) and EW (electronic warfare) however loses traction, continuing education, and specialized expertise to use their mastery to direct, plan, analyze, and execute offensive and defensive cyberspace operations, which is what the Navy hired them for,” continued Doucet.
She went on to explain that having a formal designation as a qualified CyWO signifies that eligible Navy officers have acquired specific knowledge, skills, and experience, and have demonstrated proficiency at the professional level of competence required for satisfactory performance of assigned duties. The Navy requires cyber technical leaders that eat, sleep and breathe cyber 24/7. This PQS signifies a new paradigm to achieve specialized expertise and paves the way for the future.
“The PQS gives cyber warrant officers a structured overview of what to expect in specific tours and gives community leaders a new prospective of cyber warrant officer’s duties and responsibilities,” said Doucet. “This PQS is only the first iteration and will require growth and changes as we continue to expand our billet base, grow our force, and maneuver through innovative technologies.”
“CyWO’s have spent a great amount of time mentoring the information warfare community on rudimentary cyber,” said Doucet, “and leading efforts that lack the technical acumen which has held them from solving advanced cyber problems. We are on the right track, but we have many more mountains to climb, and marathons to run. Employing cyber warrants in complex, challenging assignments will pave our way to achieve excellence in this domain.”
Center for Information Warfare Training delivers trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services, enabling optimal performance of information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations.
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