PENSACOLA, Fla. – James Lewis, senior language authority and director of the Navy Language, Regional Expertise, and Culture (LREC) office and Cryptologic Technician Interpretive Master Chief Kenneth Paulsen, senior rating advisor for the CTI rating to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare/Director of Naval Intelligence, visited the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT) on Corry Station, Apr. 21, 2022.
During Lewis’ first visit, he and Paulsen received a command overview and had an office call with Capt. Marc Ratkus, commanding officer of CIWT, met with the LREC staff, and discussed CIWT’s language and culture education programs.
Lewis’ visit was important to the command as CIWT is the parent organization for the LREC program, and Lewis serves as the advocate to the Navy, the Department of Defense and intelligence community for LREC. As the senior language authority, he is responsible for managing the Navy’s plans, policies, and programs to foster, develop, and maintain language proficiency, regional expertise, and cultural literacy in order to increase lethality of Navy forces and expand and strengthen the Navy’s network of allies and partners in the global operating environment.
Ratkus started the visit by providing a brief overview of training provided at Corry Station from the crow’s nest of the headquarters so the group could see the buildings where the training being discussed were located. Following the overview, Ratkus spent time during the office call in quickly discussing the rest of the Information Warfare Training Commands before going into depth about the LREC program.
One of the issues discussed was the consolidation of the language testing locations. Ratkus explained that they have now shifted to a hub and spoke model to provide language testing to overseas locations following the closure of overseas Navy college offices. The former system had numerous testing locations, however in the current resource constrained environment they have had to shift to a few permanent hubs with capability to travel to other regional locations to provide periodic testing services.
During their discussion, Lewis asked how capable the center was in making course corrections as the information environment and Navy needs shift. Ratkus highlighted the center’s training readiness reviews, occupational standards reviews and other processes in place to stay current with emerging trends as they evaluate the current operating environment and make corrections to keep pace with changes as they are assessed.
In addition, they discussed the training virtual environment and persistent cyber training environments, cloud-based training solutions, to increase access to courses at more locations with less cost associated with travel and housing of students in limited capacity, fixed locations. Ratkus said he believes that these types of solutions and .edu-like capabilities are prime for language training.
Before getting into the language education discussions in the afternoon part of the visit, Lewis was given a tour of the LREC office on Corry Station by Chris Wise, CIWT’s LREC Program Manager.
While meeting the LREC staff, Lewis commented that his office is discussing a one-time language testing bonus to identify Russian and Ukrainian language speakers currently in the force, stemming from Russia’s war on Ukraine.
During the afternoon session, the group was provided an in depth overview of the language training that CIWT provides to support the cryptologic technician interpretive rating, the foreign area officer program and other Navy linguists, as well as the foreign language and culture training CIWT provides to support the fleet.