PENSACOLA, Fla. – The Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT) welcomed the team from the American Council on Education (ACE) from Mar. 22 - 24, for its first in-person review of courses and occupations since 2019.
The last three reviews took place virtually due to COVID-19, but this year the ACE team was pleased to make the journey to Pensacola to review the military training and education for seven courses in the CIWT domain in the information systems technician (IT), cryptologic technician maintenance (CTM), and intelligence specialist (IS) ratings and assess the occupational experiences for IT and CTM ratings.
The courses reviewed during their visit included: Information Systems Technician Submarines Block 0, Systems Administration, Advanced Communications Signals Collection, Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst, Intelligence Specialist “A” School Block 0, Operational Intelligence Analyst “C” School Block 2, and Geospatial Interpretation Analyst “C” School Block 2.
To open the session, Denise Myers, from CIWT’s learning standards office, provided an overview of the command before subject matter experts for the various disciplines took over to explain their component of training being evaluated. Cryptologic Technician Maintenance Master Chief Vincent LeDonne, Information Systems Technician Senior Chief Veronica White, Cryptologic Technician Collection Chief Richard Poe, Intelligence Specialist Chief Clora Bennett, and Intelligence Specialist Senior Chief Robert Morris each discussed the courses they represent and made themselves available during the time the ACE team was present for any questions about their subject matter.
Dr. Lisa Ferris-McCann, director of evaluations and integrity for ACE, explained that during the ACE review they bring a team of subject matter experts, who are college and university faculty members actively teaching in the areas they review to look at courses being taught and occupational ratings. For the course exploration, they do a deep dive looking at course materials, student materials, instructor materials, assessments, as well as any other documentation to do with that course, identifying learning outcomes, and aligning the knowledge and skills taught with comparable civilian college credits.
During the rating assessment, the same team conducts panel interviews with Sailors in the E-4 through E-6 rates and the E-7 through E-9 rates. The faculty members mine as many pertinent details from the groups as possible about what the Sailor’s job entails, including any on-the-job training received outside of school, while also looking at the professional, technical, and managerial skills used at the various rates. In addition, the team is provided ratings’ primary qualification standards, occupational standards, and learning and development roadmap to assist them in making the credit recommendation.
“Many service members are eligible for college course credit at academic institutions based on knowledge already gained during military service,” said Myers. “Through the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) program’s Military Training Evaluation Program (MTEP), a service member's learning from military training, education, and occupational experiences is evaluated by ACE and documented in their Joint Services Transcript (JST).”
Myers continued that getting ACE recommendation for accreditation for their course work shows the importance CIWT puts on taking care of its service members. It saves the service members time and provides a head start on advancing their education. It allows them to avoid the costs of duplicating learning at a civilian school and increases their options to attend civilian schools as more than 2,300 academic institutions accept ACE credit recommendations for credit.
“Our center has been accredited for more than 45 years and is the longest accredited Naval institution providing training on par with highly regarded civilian institutions,” said Marc Ratkus, commanding officer of CIWT. “We are proud not only to deliver trained information warfare professionals to all branches of the armed services, but that the education we provide allows service members to continue to pursue their goals for higher education.”
During the exit interview, Jessica Sabo, associate director, ACE, said the team really appreciated the responsiveness, level of detail, and professionalism with which CIWT conducted the review process as a host. Doug Johnson, the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) program manager for ACE, said they intend use this visit as a template and standard for how an ACE review should be conducted by a military center of education, and said lessons learned will be passed on to all service components.
ACE provides a guide for military personnel to upload their joint service transcript and view the approximate college credit they may receive for courses taken and their military experience toward getting their college degree at https://militaryguide.acenet.edu/.