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Experts in all facets of Information Operations (IO), including traditional Cryptology, Command and Control, Computer Network Operations and Space Systems, Cryptologic Warfare Officers help ensure that America’s Navy capitalizes on the information vulnerabilities of our enemies. Their responsibilities include:
Cryptologic Warfare Officers are directly involved in every aspect of Naval operations – delivering information to decision-makers by attacking, defending and exploiting networks to capitalize on vulnerabilities in the information domain. As a CWO, you will employ a thorough understanding of sensors and weapons, strategy and tactics, as well as national systems’ capabilities and limitations. This role may include:
Cryptologic Warfare Officers assume critically important duties both afloat and ashore. This may include:
Serving part-time as a Reservist, your duties will be carried out during your scheduled drilling and training periods. During monthly drilling, Cryptologic Warfare Officers in the Navy Reserve typically work at a location close to their homes.
For annual training, CWOs may serve anywhere in the world, whether on ships, submarines or aircraft, or anywhere on land from the National Security Agency to the Pentagon.
Take a moment to learn more about the general roles and responsibilities of Reservists.
Those pursuing a Cryptologic Warfare Officer position are required to attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, R.I. Upon completion, they attend an eight-week IW Basic Course of instruction in Pensacola, Fla. – learning the fundamentals of everything from Electromagnetic Theory to Tactical Cryptology to Signals Intelligence Reporting.
CWOs must complete specific qualifications as part of their training during Fleet tours and are expected to pursue advanced education opportunities. Promotion opportunities are regularly available but competitive and based on performance. It’s also important to note that specialized training received and work experience gained in the course of service can lead to valuable credentialing and occupational opportunities in related fields.
Most of what you do in the Navy Reserve is considered training. The basic Navy Reserve commitment involves training a minimum of one weekend a month (referred to as drilling) and two weeks a year (referred to as Annual Training) – or the equivalent.
Cryptologic Warfare Officers in the Navy Reserve serve in an Officer role. Before receiving the ongoing professional training that comes with this job, initial training requirements must be met.
For current or former Navy Officers (NAVET): Prior experience satisfies the initial leadership training requirement – so you will not need to go through Officer Training again.
For current or former Officers of military branches other than the Navy (OSVET), as well as for Officer candidates without prior military experience: Beginning October 1st, 2019, Officer Candidates will be required to attend the Officer Development School (ODS) in Newport, RI instead of the 12-day Direct Commission Officer School. ODS is a five-week program that provides a comprehensive and intense introduction to the responsibilities of Navy Staff Corps Officers. Here you will learn about the military structure of the U.S. Navy, its rich history of traditions and customs, leadership development and military etiquette. There may be an option for attendees to request to split the five-week program into two sessions.
Beyond professional credentials and certifications, Cryptologic Warfare Officers can advance their education by:
Postgraduate education is important to the success of the Cryptologic Warfare Officer. Most CWOs will complete a master’s degree in one of the following: electrical engineering, cyber systems and operations, computer science, or space systems.
A four-year degree from a regionally accredited institution is required to work as a Cryptologic Warfare Officer. The degree must be in a technical field, preferably in one of the following: information systems, electrical engineering, computer engineering, information operations, computer science, systems engineering, general engineering.
All candidates must also be: U.S. citizens, willing to serve worldwide, eligible for a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) security clearance, and qualified for sea duty.
General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you’re currently serving, whether you’ve served before or whether you’ve never served before.