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CHIPS Articles: The Future is Now

The Future is Now
Navy Revamps IT Training Pipeline
By Chris Kelsall - October-December 2010
While a large amount of money is being spent on new technologies to operate and secure the Department of the Navy's (DON) networks, it is the people with the right knowledge, skills and abilities to implement those technologies who will determine success. Enormous challenges confront the DON Cyber/Information Technology (IT) Workforce. Moreover, those who train Sailors and prepare them to meet their operational commitments must work diligently to keep training content cutting-edge and relevant.

After thorough review of the Navy's rapidly changing cybersecurity and network operations role, a new program called "IT of the Future" (IToF) was developed. This program revamps the Information Systems Technician (IT) rating to be an advanced technical field (ATF). The ATF allows the Navy to recruit initial accession Sailors to both four-year and six-year obligations. Forty-nine percent of the new Sailors will be recruited for a fouryear obligation, get their basic training in "A" School (basic skills training), and then go to their first permanent change of station (PCS). Fifty-one percent will be recruited for a six-year obligation and receive advanced training in a "C" School (advanced skills training) before transferring to their first PCS. The separate curriculums, supporting IToF, have been approved and are currently in pilot at the Navy’s Center for Information Dominance (CID) from July 2010 through April 2011.

The Information Systems Technician "A" School is in the middle of the first pilot program which will change "A" School from an 11-week course to a 19-week course, and in January 2011, the updated curriculum will be presented. Recently, senior workforce managers from the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy and Navy Cyber Forces Command (NAVCYBERFOR) visited the CID to assess the pilot and the progress of the course. There are 20 Sailors participating in the CID "A" curriculum pilot, and it is meeting all expectations. Sailors enrolled in "A" School will graduate with CompTIA A+ and Microsoft Certified Professional XP certifications. All 20 Sailors are maintaining more than an 80 percent average and all have passed the A+ exam on the first try. Sailors who finish the new "A" School will receive Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) 2790.

Thirty-five percent of the new accession Sailors will go right into "C" School and receive the new System Administration (SYSADMIN) NEC 2791. This training path includes additional certifications for Security + and additional Microsoft training. The new "C" School training will begin its pilot in January 2011. The remaining 16 percent will receive additional training from the new Journeyman Communications Course, which will come into effect at CID in 2012.

Fleet IT Sailors will have the opportunity to gain these new NECs with additional training which will be announced once the new training is fully in place. The Information System Administrator NECs 0000 and 2735 will be phased out in March and June 2011 respectively. Sailors will be required to hold NEC 2790 before acquiring the NEC 2791. Advanced IT training will be presented in courses that support improving the skills of Sailors in NECs 2710, 2720, 2730, 2779, 2780 and 2781.

All NEC 27xx series Sailors who hold privileged access to servers, routers and switches are required to have appropriate IA and operating system certifications in accordance with DoD 8570.01-M, IA Workforce Improvement Program. Therefore, current fleet and shore IT Sailors must attain commercial certifications as part of their daily training regimen and Personnel Qualification Standards. Once the certifications are gained, Sailors will apply to change their NEC. The Sailors can complete the required courses via immersive learning technologies at Carnegie Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute in coordination with Defense Information Systems Agency and the Department of Homeland Security and SkillSoft e-learning classes available through navyiacertprep.skillport.com, or via classroom courses sponsored by NAVCYBERFOR in fleet concentration areas. Certification exams for all IT Sailors will be paid for via the Credentials Program Office supported by Navy Credentialing Opportunities OnLine (COOL) at https://www.cool.navy.mil..

Information regarding transition to the new NEC structure is updated on the NAVCYBERFOR IAWF website at: https://www.portal.navy.mil/cyberfor/IAWF/default.aspx.

NAVY ENLISTED CLASSIFICATION (NECS) 27XX SERIES

2710: Global & Command Control System– Maritime 4.X (GCCS-M 4.X) System Administrator
2720: GSSC-M System Administrator
2730: Naval Tactical Command Support System (NTCSS) II Manager
2779: Information Systems Security Manager
2780: Network Security Vulnerability Technician
2781: Advanced Network Analyst
2790: Information Systems Technician (IAT I)
2791: Information Systems Administrator (IAT II)

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