a few years later, we shifted the title of our officer corps from “Cryptologic Officer” to “Information Warfare Officer,” or IWO. At the same time, the title of our enlisted cadre remained Cryptologic Technicians (CT). Almost all that remains of that transition today is the title IWO. Meanwhile, the term IW now officially refers to “Irregular Warfare.”
Today, our community is on a clear and steady course. The Cryptologic Community Foundational Principles was issued with the intent to, “unify the efforts of the Information Warfare (IW) and Cryptologic (CT) Community, as
we continue to create value through deliberate development of specialized expertise across our core skills…” A particularly germane sentence from that document includes direction that we will, “go forward to our roots” and “focus on professionalization within SIGINT, CNO, and EW skill sets.” The idea that we will “go forward” to our roots, as well as the focus on those three core skills, is especially pertinent to this discussion. While
communications technology has evolved, the very core of our competence remains grounded in the roots established by the likes of Captain Joseph J. Rochefort, Station HYPO, OP-20-G, and the “On the Roof Gang.” Though the specific means by which we do so continues to evolve, our mandate remains “to create time and effects” for, and as, operational commanders. As we do just that, it is clear that no single term in the U.S. Military lexicon, to include IW, encapsulates the core skills to which we are clearly committed and have been since that document was signed by each of our community’s Flag Officers and Senior Civilians serving at the time. The final step of our transition should be to reestablish “Cryptologic Officer” as the official title for our officer cadre. Information Warfare is no longer valid and the term IWO serves as a distraction from the clear
course you continue to set. More importantly, as we “go forward to our roots” this change will make clear that we are a singular Cryptologic Community with both officer and enlisted warfighters who are aligned in name, competence, and vision. A return to the title Cryptologist is far more than symbolic. It is a name that represents our rich history, communicates who we are, and will serve to help focus our future. As with
any public change, this one will take time and the messaging is critical. Should this change occur, it will be our collective responsibility as a community to amplify the message, and help all to understand the intent
behind this change.
LCDR, U.S. Navy