PENSACOLA, Fla. - Senior Chief Petty Officer Tony Gonzales, an information warfare (IW) Sailor and San Antonio native, received his latest assignment serving as a Congressional advisor for one year, Dec. 7.
Gonzales was selected for the Department of Defense Legislative (LEGIS) Fellows program while serving as the training manager for the cryptologic technician (collection) rating, now Navy Occupational Specialty B540, at the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT).
The Navy's Office of Legislative Affairs manages the Navy's program, which allows Sailors to broaden their experience and knowledge in the operations and organization of Congress while enhancing the Navy's ability to fulfill its role in the national policy development process.
"Mine is definitely a very unique situation, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity," said Gonzales. "Senior enlisted personnel usually aren't exposed to the policy-making process that occurs on Capitol Hill, but it affects the way we train, and it's important to understand that process."
The program is open to enlisted Sailors in the paygrades E-7 through E-9 and officer paygrades O-3 to O-5. Participants are selected based on individual performance, promotion potential, experience, academic qualifications and availability for follow-on assignment.
Fellows are assigned to members of Congress serving on either the House or Senate Armed Services Committee. The Sailors' responsibilities include but are not limited to drafting legislation; preparing the member for hearings, meetings and briefings; advising the member on defense, Navy, and national security issues; answering constituent inquiries; coordinating with professional staff members of the various defense committees and subcommittees; and traveling to the member's district or state.
"As an adolescent, I was always fascinated with the rule of law," said Gonzales. "I remember getting excited watching C-SPAN as a kid, so having the opportunity to have a direct impact on U.S. legislation is very exciting."
Gonzales hopes that his experiences will allow him to provide insight to the work of the Navy's information warfare (IW) community.
He said he believes any person who meets the requirements for the program and has a real interest in the legislative process should look into the Legislative Fellows program.
CIWT, with headquarters at Naval Air Station Pensacola Corry Station, delivers information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services, enabling optimal performance of information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations.
For more news from Center for Information Warfare Training organization, visit www.navy.mil/local/cid/, www.netc.navy.mil/centers/ciwt/, www.facebook.com/NavyCIWT, or www.twitter.com/NavyCIWT.