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PENSACOLA, Fla. – The Center for Information Warfare Training provides training for the Navy’s information warfare (IW) professionals throughout their careers allowing them to keep advancing their knowledge and expertise, while also maintaining proficiency in perishable skills.
Another part of the training mandate is to establish the standards from which to judge whether Sailors or Navy civilian personnel are to be considered ready to meet the demands necessary for the position which each fills; and the document for each rating, rate or rank that proscribes these traits is the Personnel Qualification Standard or PQS.
“The PQS Program ensures personnel demonstrate required competencies prior to performing specific duties,” said Sam Kelley, information warfare enterprise training requirements manager, CIWT. “The PQS delineates the minimum knowledge, skills, and abilities that an individual must demonstrate before standing watches or performing other specific duties. These watches or duties are necessary for the safe, secure, and proper operation of a ship, aircraft, or support system.”
Kelley continued, the PQS is an integral part of the development and qualification of the Navy's workforce. The tasks, knowledge and skills delineated in the PQS dictate the qualification process for officers, enlisted personnel, government civilians, and contract civilian personnel when certification to a minimum level of competency is required prior to qualifying to perform specific duties. CIWT owns roughly 18 percent of the Navy’s PQS inventory, with requirements increasing as technology, information and cyber demands grow.
The inherent issue with having established written standards for required capabilities is that the list of requirements for each position shifts and evolves as technology advances and the personnel in the positions are asked to continue to adapt to meet new challenges. This is why CIWT is constantly in the process of updating PQS documents to reflect these changes.
“Based on fleet and enterprise needs, typically we perform between 18 and 24 PQS updates annually,” said Kelley. “We maintain 68 PQS documents in the inventory, with more than 20 in support of the Enlisted Information Warfare Specialist (EIWS) platform-centric qualification PQS, and six to 10 for cyber joint qualification review transition efforts. These updates require CIWT PQS Teams to coordinate with the respective requirements sponsors on planning actions that meet the emergent fleet needs. CIWT coordinates with Naval Information Forces Command, Navy systems commands and specialized warfare communities to complete.”
Kelley explained that CIWT updates the PQS documents as part of the three-year periodic review process, but also works with the fleet’s type commanders and system commands to determine which updates are most pressing at any given time. If there is an urgent need for an update it creates an “adhoc” update requirement which can shift the cue.
“An adhoc requirement impacts our existing schedule of events, but that's normal,” said Kelley. “We just move items based on priorities to accommodate any emergent fleet or SPECWAR (special warfare command) tasking. Normally, this ADHOC event supports a new or classified source document that needs to be developed quickly in support of fleet systems modernization, SPECWAR or an emergent fleet resource to enable immediate workforce qualifications to be developed.”
To conduct these updates, CIWT relies on Laurie Luke and Al Stout, CIWT PQS program analysts, with new analyst Trish Kingston coming on staff in May. The analysts bring together teams of subject matter experts (SMEs) to look at the documents and determine what parts are current and remain relevant, and what needs to be added or changed to meet current operational demands. Each PQS is reviewed at a separate workshop initiative requiring SME selection coordination, logistics, classification requirements, travel, systems, and clearance determinations.
“CIWT Staff are not considered SMEs if they have been onsite longer than six months,” said Kelley. “Mostly we use Sailors in the fleet, or associated enterprises we are supporting (Air, Submarine, Surface, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, etc.). CIWT funds up to four SMEs to attend onsite per workshop, and at times if the source effort is a large event, we will increase the number of SMEs to eight.”
There are currently 10 PQS update workshops scheduled between now and August of this year, with up to three additional requirements to be completed during August and September. Some of the upcoming workshops include PQS documents for Intelligence support to SPECWAR, Information Professional Officer - Basic and Intermediate, Cyber Warfare Engineer and Information Operations Warfare Officer.
The PQS standards focus on mission effectiveness, combat readiness, and survivability, as well as introducing an overall understanding of how an individual unit's mission fits into and supports naval doctrine and Navy objectives.
“Warfare-qualified Sailors are an essential element of our Navy's competitive edge,” said Capt. Marc Ratkus, commanding officer, CIWT. “The objective of the PQS is to provide our personnel with an introduction to the processes and topics necessary to support the warfighting requirements of our Navy. We have to ensure our PQS documents stay current and relevant to best posture our force to overcome the next challenge whatever that might be.”
The 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.