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CHIPS Articles: Capt. Susan K. Cerovsky Talks about Training for the Information Dominance Corps

Capt. Susan K. Cerovsky Talks about Training for the Information Dominance Corps
Commanding Officer, Center for Information Dominance
By Gary Nichols - July-September 2013
Capt. Susan K. Cerovsky became commanding officer of the Center for Information Dominance in October 2011. The CID, based at Corry Station, in Pensacola, Fla., is the Navy’s learning center that leads, manages and delivers Navy and joint force training in information operations, information warfare, information technology, cryptology and intelligence.

The CID domain comprises nearly 1,300 military, civilian, and contracted personnel; CID oversees the development and administration of more than 201 courses at four commands, two detachments and 16 learning sites throughout the United States and in Japan. CID provides training for approximately 24,000 members of the U.S. Armed Services and allied forces each year.

Capt. Cerovsky responded to questions in writing in July.

Q: There have been many advances in technology and the cyber threat level seems to have escalated since you were interviewed for CHIPS last July. Have there been any changes in curricula and training at the CID in the last year to reflect any of these changes? How do you evaluate the effectiveness of the CID’s curricula and training and how do you assess when changes need to be made? When changes are required which organizations do you work with?

A: CID maintains a steady effort on ensuring quality training; it is crucial to fleet and national readiness. Of note, the most significant changes this year have been to our Joint Cyber Analyst Course, Signals Analyst Courses, Information Technology Courses and our fleet and systems training courses.

CID utilizes several sources for evaluating training effectiveness and in determining training gaps. Triggers outside of OPNAV N1 (Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education) emerge from Navy Technical Systems Plan Revisions; fleet performance, Operational Risk Management, and post deployment reports; direct fleet input; and modifications to commercial curriculum or systems. The most common trigger source is the Naval Education and Training Command’s (NETC) Human Performance Requirements Review (HPRR) process as well as the Associate Directorate for Education and Training (ADET) National Security Agency’s Cryptologic Training Advisory Group (CTAG) process. Within the HPRR and CTAG process, CID works with fleet and national experts to complete a comprehensive review of existing training against validated fleet and national standards, system and platform requirements and community or career management needs.

Once training gaps or unfunded training requirements are identified, CID works through the established end-to-end curriculum content development-and-revision process to identify the most cost-effective solutions to deliver training without sacrificing quality. As new cyber systems, techniques and tactics are introduced, we must ensure that innovative training techniques are applied when and where appropriate.

CID has built strong positive relationships with stakeholders in support of this essential program, which includes NETC, OPNAV N1 and N2/N6 (Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance), Fleet Forces Command, Navy Cyber Forces Command, Fleet Cyber Command and applicable SYSCOMs (systems commands); as such, these organizations are always involved to some degree in the approved solutions.

Q: The mission of the Center for Information Dominance is “to deliver full spectrum Cyber Information Warfare, and Intelligence Training to achieve decision superiority.” How does CID prepare the Navy’s Information Dominance Corps military members to meet this growing challenge? The IDC is an evolving workforce concept – has the evolution changed the way CID trains and educates personnel?

A: CID prepares the Navy’s IDC military members through fact-based, innovative, systemic changes to technical training based on approved and resourced requirements. CID’s daily battle rhythm reinforces and executes both the NETC and IDC published strategies on workforce development through the orderly and efficient use of the NETC course development and revision end-to-end process. This process along with the supporting instructions and NAVEDTRAs (Naval Education and Training Command Manuals) has incorporated the proper programmatics and governance for CID course development/revisions. This process when used correctly and in conjunction with the appropriate fleet and systems CONOPS (concept of operations), NTTPs, and NMETL (Navy Mission Essential Task List) process typically ensures a higher training success rate since the Sailor can be evaluated against approved standards.

Although the IDC is an evolving workforce concept, many NETC/CID processes do not need to be adjusted since the basic building block after the requirement approval and resourcing process is the development of a JDTA (Job Duty Task Analysis), if one does not already exist). The JDTA is used to structure task data into a format suitable to derive learning objectives. This JDTA process is contained within AIM (Authoring Instructional Materials) as a web-enabled tool where Learning Centers can access and share data across the domain and enables a review for artifact reuse and re-purpose.

The JDTA process also permits the requirements sponsor to select which tasks they desire to be formally trained (many blended solutions exist for this venue), captured via OJT/PQS or included into rate training manuals. By capitalizing on blended solutions, CID can maximize the availability and frequency of training while minimizing the costs to the resource sponsor. This process also attaches the required attributes to the tasks that drive the performance standards or performance outcomes required. As we continue to plan for integrated team training events, following the process to ensure we gain the desired outcome will be critical.

Our ability to capitalize on and reuse common core JDTA data across the IDC as a total force is imperative to our transformation. With future planning, there is a potential for IDC training continuums to leverage common core modules where available e.g., fleet concentration areas or via virtual desktop environments. In this fiscally constrained environment having opportunities to leverage training in multiple areas for several different cohorts is very desirable.

Q: Folks in the IDC have highly sought after professional skills by industry and academia. How would you rate the career opportunities and advancement prospects for the military members with these skills? Are bonuses available for retention?

A: The Navy does attract extremely bright and talented people, and our community — in particular — attracts a combination of highly educated and technically skilled people, and people with strong technical aptitude, which we nurture to develop them into exceptional operators, maintainers, problem solvers and leaders. The Information Dominance Corps Human Capital Strategy 2012-2017 and the CHIPS article (January-March 2013) defines the plan to ensure the elite workforce is retained, and sustains its competitive edge in the cyber warfare domain. Navy’s SRB NAVADMIN 077/13, released March 26, 2013, published the most recent Selective Reenlistment Bonus eligibility and award level amounts which include amounts for CT, IT and IS ratings within certain tiers, zones and specific NECs (Navy Enlisted Classifications).

Q: Can you talk about which members of the IDC are taught at the CID?

A: Across the CID domain, we train every officer community and enlisted rating of the IDC; with the exception of meteorology, which is taught at the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Professional Development Center in Gulfport, Miss. At NMITC, CID Unit Corry Station and CID Unit Monterey we train new officer and enlisted accessions within the mission areas of cryptology, information warfare, intelligence and information technology/management. In 2011, we opened up the ITS “A” and “C” School at CID Learning Site Groton to support the Undersea Warfare Enterprise. These sites along with other sites in the domain like FITC (Fleet Intelligence Training Center), CID Det Goodfellow, CID Det Fort Gordon, and learning sites in every fleet concentration area, train advanced courses at the journeyman and masters level preparing military members of the IDC for operational and leadership assignments ashore and at sea.

Q: CYBERCOM Commander Gen. Keith Alexander said in March that CYBERCOM is developing teams that will protect the nation’s interests in cyberspace, along with tactics, techniques and procedures, and doctrine describing how the teams will work and that the Defense Department would use to defend the nation if it were attacked in cyberspace. Could this affect the CID’s training programs?

A: CID is actively participating in current cyber planning efforts. The demand signal for CID is currently for an increase in student throughput in existing officer and enlisted training pipelines; for which CID currently has capacity. Realizing the importance of increasing the cyber workforce, CID is standing by for additional tasking and demand signals to support other requirements not yet formulated. Our current requirements focus on accession pipelines and specific NEC awarding “C” Schools for Navy IT, CT, IS, and officers; as well as for the other joint service personnel. We are working closely with NETC, the joint services, OPNAV’s Production Management Office, and CNIC’s (Commander, Navy Installations Command) regional and base commanders to ensure appropriate base support operations and planning processes are synergistically working the details well in advance of anticipated execution dates to ensure capacity is not exceeded and POM are addressed as swiftly as possible.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to talk about?

A: I would like to point out that the IDC was established in response to a growing threat. Our mission is much the same as it ever was — to train officers and Sailors to maintain information superiority and provide the fleet indications and warnings of our adversaries’ intentions. We still must find, fix, track and monitor our enemies and adversaries, and we must ensure our own information and communications are safeguarded. Today, we face the added complexities of the digital environment, rapidly evolving technology and protocols, and non-state actors, but all of the old challenges still remain, too. Complex encryption, signals with a low probability of intercept, and the foreign language challenge are all still there. Our work is more challenging and more rewarding than it has ever been.

As the commanding officer of CID, I am fortunate to see such outstanding young men and women coming into the Navy and entering our schoolhouses each day. When I see these bright and highly motivated graduates heading out to their first operational assignment, I can sleep well at night, because I know our nation’s future is positive, safe and secure.

For More Information
Center for Information Dominance -
Navy Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) -

Gary Nichols is the CID public affairs officer.

Capt. Susan K. Cerovsky
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