PENSACOLA, Fla. – The inaugural class of the Senior Enlisted Maritime Intelligence Analysis Course (SEMIAC), was recently completed at Information Warfare Training Command Virginia Beach.
This course supports the newly approved Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) K41A Independent Duty Intelligence Specialist (IDIS) for intelligence specialists (IS) serving aboard Cruisers (CG), Amphibious Ships (LPD) and Guided Missile Destroyers (DDG).
Attending SEMIAC, a 5-week course offered at either Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Virginia Beach or IWTC San Diego, will ensure Sailors assigned to an IDIS role have the advanced training in all-source operational intelligence and intelligence resource management skills necessary for their next position.
“In April of 2020, U.S. Fleet Forces and Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet identified a skills and capabilities gap within the fleet aboard DDG/CG and LPD ships,” said Sloan Scales, intelligence training deputy program manager at the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT). “The determination was made to develop specific training for the Independent Duty Intelligence Specialist supporting those ships. The Senior Enlisted Maritime Intelligence Analysis Course development began in 2022, and the first pilot of the course was completed in April 2023.”
Intelligence Specialist Senior Chief Michael Tolbert, IS training lead for CIWT explained, that a Sailor assigned as an IDIS is a senior enlisted intelligence specialist, in the rate of petty officer 1st class to senior chief, assigned to a platform without an intelligence officer. While in that role the IDIS solely provides all-source tactical and operational intelligence support.
“When an IDIS goes underway or is stationed on a ship, they're the only intel representative on that ship, so they operate in an independent capacity,” said Tolbert. “They are essentially the senior intelligence person period on that ship. So they are responsible for providing indications and warnings to the CO (commanding officer) and to the crew, while also in charge of whatever intelligence collection is required as well.”
Tolbert, who served as an IDIS, said that it is a really good leadership opportunity, especially for the 1st class petty officers in his community, to prove what they are made of.
“For the ones who do succeed in a job like this, you see it in their promotion rate,” said Tolbert. “Your leadership and technical acumen are tested, because you are the one. You have to get on that ship and train up the personnel to assist you in your intel collection. You have to do the analysis and the reporting. You have to be the face of intel for your ship.”
However, this wasn’t the first iteration of this type of course according to Scales. The previous course, Shipboard Intelligence Analyst Course (SIAC), was five and a half weeks long and was taught at the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center (now known as IWTC Virginia Beach). SIAC training was inactivated in Feb. 2005 due to changes within fleet operational intelligence training.
Having fulfilled the role without the benefit of this course, Tolbert said he is really glad that there is a course for new Sailors entering the position.
“Having a course like this will be great for everybody involved in the community,” said Tolbert. “I know I would have felt a lot more confident walking into that environment if I had the requisite a pool of knowledge to pull from, and this course will provide that knowledge base.”
“I think that confidence factor is key, because a large part of what we do is briefing things, and your confidence when you are briefing plays a huge part in your job as an IS. Being confident in your skills and being able to confidently relay the message is the key.”
Although Tolbert wasn’t present for the beginning of the process, he indicated that a lot of effort went into building the course. Once requirements were determined, CIWT staff worked tirelessly with contractors, and intelligence instructors from IWTC San Diego and Virginia Beach to develop the curriculum, complete all the processes to test and finally pilot the course, all of which happened, start to finish, in about a year; which he said was pretty monumental.
Each SEMIAC class will have four students, with three sessions currently planned at each location east and west coast, for a total of 24 students trained per year. The small class size will allow individualized instruction and a focus on the detailed work required of IDISs.
“This is a baseline and it's going to continue to evolve,” said Tolbert. “I'm happy to see SEMIAC coming back and I think, talking to my peers around the fleet, that everybody's excited about this course. I'm definitely interested to see how well the new generation of Sailors succeed after attending this course.”
Cmdr. Jeff Laubaugh, intel program manager for CIWT, said, “I am really proud of what our team at CIWT, IWTC Virginia Beach and San Diego have been able to accomplish. With NAVIFOR and OPNAV’s support, we were able to get the SEMIAC curriculum built and field the course a year ahead of schedule. This new training is going to give our Independent Duty Intelligence Specialists the tools they need to provide the expert intel support our fleet needs.”
With four schoolhouse commands, two detachments, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan, Center for Information Warfare Training trains over 26,000 students every year, delivering trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. Center for Information Warfare Training also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and officers in the information warfare community.