Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Cortez, an instructor at Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Corry Station, was honored as one of the 2022 Copernicus Award winners for his contributions supporting information warfare during the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association’s TechNet Cyber conference at the Baltimore Convention Center on Apr. 26.
The Copernicus Award, named for the Copernicus Architecture used as a basis for the Navy’s modern Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) Systems, was created in 1997 and is presented by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association and the U.S. Naval Institute to selected Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard service members and civilians who have demonstrated sustained superior performance in C4I or information technology (IT) related positions.
Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, president of AFCEA, attended the awards ceremony and retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Paul Fredenburgh III, executive vice president for Defense for AFCEA, served as the guest speaker to recognize the Copernicus Award recipients.
Cortez was nominated for his contribution to the Navy while attached to Carrier Strike Group 5 (CSG5). During that time he served as the cryptologic resource coordinator (CRC) for the carrier strike group, while also supporting the development of doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures for future CRC Sailors.
CRC is the position assigned an officer responsible for managing cryptologic assets, cryptologic coverage and tasking plans, personnel and augmentation requirements, cryptologic direct support operations, signal security operations, direct service interfaces, cryptologic sanitation, and correlation procedures.
Cortez said receiving notification that he was selected for the Copernicus Award was a surprise.
“I didn’t even know I had been nominated for the award, so it’s super humbling to have been selected,” said Cortez. “I felt pride in the accomplishment, felt pride to have been a part of CSG5; and most of all thankful for my Sailors, and proud of everything we accomplished as a team. My accomplishments would not have been possible without great mentorship from my leadership, outstanding support and teamwork from my peers, and amazing Sailors who inspired me every day to be better.”
Cortez, now serving as a CRC instructor, said his number one goal is to provide the best instruction, guidance, and mentorship he can to the future CRCs and Assistant CRCs. He looks forward to passing on the things he learned during the two years he served as the CRC of CSG5 supporting Forward Deployed Naval Forces operations, “the good and the bad.”
IWTC Corry Station is a part of the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT). With four schoolhouse commands, two detachments, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan, CIWT is recognized as Naval Education and Training Command’s top learning center for the past three years. Training over 26,000 students every year, CIWT delivers trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. CIWT also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and officers in the information warfare community.
Story by Kurt Van Slooten