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CHIPS Articles: Talking with Vice Adm. Jack Dorsett

Talking with Vice Adm. Jack Dorsett
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance (N2/N6)
By CHIPS Magazine - October-December 2010
Vice Adm. Jack Dorsett, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance (N2/N6), Director of Naval Intelligence (DNI) and workforce leader for the Information Dominance Corps, talks about training opportunities and career management for IDC officers and enlisted personnel. The IDC is composed of military and civilian cyber warriors who will execute the Navy's strategy to enable information to emerge as a core warfighting capability equivalent to U.S. Navy sea and air power. The admiral responded to CHIPS questions in early October.

CHIPS: The Department of the Navy Chief Information Officer published the DON Cyber/IT Workforce Strategic Plan in July. This plan establishes the DON's priorities for ensuring workforce excellence. It identifies the goals and objectives that will allow the DON to recruit, manage, develop, sustain and retain a talented workforce. Is the Information Dominance Corps included in this strategy, or will you and the Chief of Naval Personnel develop a different strategy for military and civilian personnel in the Information Dominance Corps?

Vice Adm. Dorsett: The Navy faces the challenge of expanding its cyber capabilities while at the same time working within a resource constrained environment with competing programs vying for limited funds. The IDC and DON CIO have been working closely throughout the development of the Navy's cyber capabilities, to include a new manpower and training strategy. This strategy will lead to a solution that is Navy-specific but still compatible with more comprehensive DON CIO strategies.

CHIPS: In our April-June 2010 CHIPS interview, you emphasized how important crosstraining would be in the development of the IDC. You indicated that Personnel Qualification Standards were in development across all the disciplines. Have these standards been completed? Have any career paths been formalized?

Vice Adm. Dorsett: Qualification as an Information Dominance Warfare Officer (IDWO) or Enlisted Information Dominance Warfare Specialist (EIDWS) requires completion of cross-IDC core Personnel Qualification Standards. Each community has its own unique PQS required, in addition to the core qualification. All are now available with the exception of the Space Cadre PQS, which remains in development. Distinct community career paths existed previously and these remain largely intact after the formation of the IDC. However, in an effort to offer significant professional development opportunities for senior leaders, and better position IDC senior officers for future leadership, a number of cross-detailing opportunities have been added at the O-5 and O-6 paygrades. These tours are not mandatory for promotion, but they do take officers into billets outside of their normal career paths, broaden their knowledge and enhance their leadership skills, while improving the overall quality of officers across the IDC.

CHIPS: The DoD CIO study "Net Generation: Preparing for Change in the Federal Information Technology Workforce" identified the need for a significant cultural shift to attract and retain younger workers. Within the workplace, the Net Generation wants flexibility in work hours, pay for performance, the ability to have their voices heard, continual performance feedback, and access to advanced technology and social networking applications. Although some changes have been made, many leaders say that military personnel policies and programs need to evolve. You indicated in our previous interview that you and the Chief of Naval Personnel were working on needed changes. Can you talk about the status of changes?

Vice Adm. Dorsett: Navy recognizes that the Net Generation has different needs and expectations as they enter the workforce. We have already embraced many of the changes this new and capable generation of workers sees as important to their job satisfaction, professional development and career success. The Navy work environment now includes options for flex schedules and for telework, and we will continue to explore ways to leverage technology to make the workplace remotely accessible and more dynamic.

The current Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS) has helped to institutionalize management by objectives and a process that provides performance feedback. We have also developed advanced education opportunities to include academic fellowships, tuition payment, part-time study, and other mechanisms that appeal to a generation that is committed to lifetime learning. Many of the larger initiatives, to include social networking applications and other new technologies, are part of larger DoD policy efforts. Navy has been an active participant in promoting 'out of the box' approaches as the department seeks to balance innovation with practical security concerns.

The bottom line is that Navy's workplace environment, and the means we will use to attract and retain a world-class workforce, will continue to evolve. This is not an area where we are satisfied with the status quo.

CHIPS: Since the consolidation of various disciplines, an estimated 45,000 positions, come under the Information Dominance Corps, which includes: 1800 – Meteorology/Oceanography, 1810 – Information Warfare, 1820 – Information Professional, 1830 – Intelligence, 1840 – Cyber Warfare Engineer, 1850 – Any IDC-qualified officer billet, Civilian Intelligence, Network Operations, Space Cadre, Cryptology/Signals Intelligence, Information Operations and Electronic Warfare, have you had any feedback from these communities?

Vice Adm. Dorsett: A series of IDC 'Road Shows' involving experts and senior leaders from all IDC communities was conducted at major commands and fleet concentration areas around the world in the last few months. The Road Shows were intended to inform our personnel about the IDC and give them the opportunity to ask questions directly of their communities’ officer and senior enlisted representatives. Road Show feedback indicates that while IDC Sailors and civilians have a number of questions about what the IDC realignment means to them and their careers, the overall feeling is very positive and IDC Sailors are excited about the futures of their communities.

CHIPS: One of the most exciting changes affecting the IDC is that the Navy is prepared to make the investment in personnel and training to create an elite, world-class corps of professionals. Will the current budget climate affect your vision to grow and train the Information Dominance Corps?

Vice Adm. Dorsett: Achieving this level of prominence in the current fiscal environment will be challenging. That said, a trained and focused IDC is actually a force multiplier that will increase the capability of the force without a corresponding growth in capital investment. 'Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education' (MPT&E) initiatives that align IDC management, consolidate staff functions, and innovate training are underway. These are designed to optimize operational effectiveness and ensure the development of a world-class corps of professionals.

CHIPS: Colleges and universities are offering summer cyber boot camps and formal courses to anticipate the growing job market for cyber professionals. Is the Navy in discussion with academia about a standardized curriculum that would offer the most value to students who would like to work for the Navy or Defense Department?

Vice Adm. Dorsett: Navy has initiated a Cyber Option NROTC Scholarship program that is a key part of a comprehensive Navy strategy to attract, recruit and develop the elite cyber professionals needed to operate securely and effectively in cyberspace. The scholarship is specifically for high school and college students who excel at the U.S. Cyber Challenge competitions (see www.uscyberchallenge.org). The Cyber Challenge is a national talent search and skills development program that identifies young Americans with the interests and technical skills required to fill the ranks of cybersecurity practitioners, researchers and professionals who become the innovative leaders in cybersecurity.

CHIPS: Will training for cyber military and civilian positions be similar so that their job responsibilities could be interchangeable?

Vice Adm. Dorsett: Cyber training will be primarily interchangeable for military and civilian personnel. However, there will be limitations on specific assignments due to operating environments. Some assignments are inherently military due to the likelihood of direct or imminent combat operations or basing on an operational platform (sea or air based).

CHIPS: Under Secretary of the Navy Robert Work said, "Every IT professional in the Navy and Marine Corps has to think of themselves as a warrior. The network is their weapon." How do you convey that sense of responsibility to junior enlisted and young civilian employees who grew up with an ease for using social media, texting and gaming, and who may not recognize the seriousness of Mr. Work's message?

Vice Adm. Dorsett: The Navy continues to educate the entire workforce on threats that pose a danger to its IT infrastructure and the appropriate mitigation strategies. The most recent example of these efforts is the 19 Aug. [issuance of] ALNAVs 056/10 and 057/10 to all Department of the Navy employees providing guidance on official and non-official posts on the Internet, to include social media sites, and the need to be professional and security conscious. It is imperative that we implement and enforce policies to ensure the security of Department of Navy networks. The DoD [Directive] 8570.01 Information Assurance Workforce (IAWF) certification requirements will ensure that our IT professionals are prepared to administer and secure DoD networks.

For more information, go to the Navy Personnel Command website at www.npc.navy.mil/.

Vice Adm. Jack Dorsett
Vice Adm. Jack Dorsett
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