OK, not exactly. But it is coming soon! If you weren’t tracking, the Information Dominance Corps has now been renamed the Information Warfare Community, forcing a change to the 1810 label. According to VADM Branch, “VADM Tighe is working on a name change for the 1810 designator.” No doubt she isn’t doing this in a vacuum, we have some advice to those who are involved in the process.
Don’t Overemphasize Cyber
There is no doubt that cyber is an exciting new discipline and we as a community are certain to be involved in cyber for the long run. Our investment, billet structure, and the FCC/C10F Strategic Plan provides the evidence. But cyber is not everything we do. In fact, it is just one of three core competencies — Cyber, SIGINT, EW. Our investment in SIGINT and EW has not diminished. Actually, given the advent of Distributed SIGINT Operations and our focus on Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare, that investment is most likely growing. Any name that overemphasizes one of our core competencies sells us short in the other two, and fails to represent what we do as a whole.
On Warfare and “Warfighters”
Warfighter may be the most abused, and misused, term in the military lexicon today. I find this both amazing and surprising, especially as our military faces its 15th straight year at war. For some reason, communities and individuals, in and out of the Navy, find a need to delineate exactly who is and who isn’t a warfighter. I have news for you — WE ARE ALL WARFIGHTERS! Just ask Doris “Dorie” Miller.
As far as warfare goes, there should be no question that our actions as a community both enable and contribute to multiple warfare areas. The key word in that last sentence — actions. No label will make it so, only the effects we deliver. Not to mention, TWO of our core mission areas contain the word warfare — Cyber Warfare and Electronic Warfare. When it comes to our new name, there is no need to create further confusion with unnecessary adjectives and descriptors, such as warfare and operations. If our actions don’t indicate either, then we have a lot more to worry about.
The past few years witnessed the release of the Cryptologic Community Foundational Principles. 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.” Any “new” title should keep our heritage in mind. More importantly, any change should make it clear that we are a singular Cryptologic Community, both officer and enlisted, aligned in competence, vision, and name.
The Way Ahead
While our community 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 encapsulates the core skills to which we are clearly committed — SIGINT, Cyber, and EW. 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.