Have you had a chance to review the Cryptologic Community Foundational Principles?

I’ll be exploring the document for you in this and future posts.

Overview What is the mission of the Cryptologic Community?  What do we value?  How do we get there?  You can find these answers and more in the Cryptologic Community Foundational Principles.  I’ll be unpacking this document for you today, and discussing other aspects of it in further posts.

You can access the full document here: http://seanheritage.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/20110907CryptologicCommunityFoundationalPrinciples.pdf

 The Signatories

What is the relationship of a signatory to a document?  How does the position and authority of that signatory contribute to a document’s relevance or meaning?  Behold the signatories of the Cryptologic Community Foundational Principles.  Every single Flag Officer, and Flag equivalent (SES), signed this document at the time of its release.  This distinguished group of signatories gives this document relevance, authority, and unity of effort.


Starting with Why

Simon Sinek would be proud — they started with why!  Let there be no doubt as to why this document was created and what it intends to do.  More deeply, this document represents the why of the Cryptologic Community as a whole.  Key words and phrases to note in this opening paragraph include — intent, unify the efforts, specialized expertise, core skills, collective ownership, and values.


Perhaps the most important part of this document, especially from a military perspective, this paragraph provides clear guidance on what we do — create time and deliver effects, and how we do it — applying our core missions of SIGINT, CNO, and EW.

The idea of creating time in warfare is not new.  Employing operational art, a Western concept dating back to the time of Napoleon Bonaparte, commanders have sought to balance the operational factors of time, space, and force to their advantage.  Of these three operational factors, time is unique in that lost time can never be regained.  Time, however, can be created by successfully balancing it with another operational factor, such as force.  The effective application of Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) , for example, can be used to represent the operational factor of force.

The delivery of effects applies to all three of our core missions.  Whether it is information-based — where is the enemy and what are his intentions (SIGINT), or non-kinetic — disrupt, deny, degrade, destroy (EW, Cyber), both contribute to an operational commander’s objectives.


Values are an essential part of a military organization.  The Navy’s core values —  Honor, Courage, Commitment — provide overarching guidance on how we serve and act as Sailors in the United States Navy.  A community’s core values are additive in nature, in this case providing guidance on how we serve and act as members of the Cryptologic community.  Perhaps more importantly, they indicate what we value as a community — specialization, leadership, critical thinking, and collaboration.



Pulling it All Together

The summary does more than capture what has already been discussed.  In fact, it is more of a call to action, declaring this document a “foundation” from which we will “collectively build.”  It instructs us to “err on the side of action, demonstrate personal initiative, do not be afraid to fail and work together!”  Finally, it reminds us that we have a “responsibility to build our future, change the order of things, and deliberately build a legacy…”

You may have noticed that I skipped a few key sections of this document.  Next week I’ll be reviewing these sections in depth and discussing how they relate to Talent Management.