Service Options after Academy

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by socalmomof3, Jan 26, 2015.

  1. socalmomof3

    socalmomof3 Member

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    What are the possible post-academy service options that would involve working with Computers? I know that your choice of major does not influence your service selection, but my DS is interested in majoring in Cyber Operations or Computer Science because he want to work in cyber security or at least be involved with computers in some way. If he decides to go to the Naval Academy, I am concerned about him having limited abilities to put his computer knowledge to use while he is serving, and then being very behind in the computer world after a couple years away from it.
     
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Best response I have is a story. We had a sponsor son who did very well academically and in other areas at USNA. He majored in Computer Science (there have been some name changes just in the last few years), service selecting submarines. He was selected to attend the Naval Postgraduate School immediately after graduation, earning his M.S. in Computer Science after 1 year. After completing the nuclear power pipeline and serving in his submarine for the requisite sea duty tour, he came back to USNA to teach Cyber for his shore duty. He departed from the Navy after 8 years and has a very, very well-paying job with Microsoft in Washington - leading a sizable division. He is leading a team, because his education has informed the leadership and resource management skills he learned as a junior officer, making him a valuable prospect to any company.

    Where there is a will, there is a way, and your DS will figure it out, if he wants to stay involved with computers. Cyber operations are a large and growing part of the 21st C . Navy. Computers drive the weapons systems, combat information, navigation and the warfare platforms themselves, and concerns about information assurance play a large part in operational planning.

    Have him google DARPA. Some officers get detailed there. I had several friends who worked there over the years, and they could never tell me what they did.....
     
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  3. socalmomof3

    socalmomof3 Member

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    Thank you for that story. That does make me feel better to see that it is possible for it to work out.
     
  4. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    The short answer is there are MANY and INCREASING opportunities and I'll post a more detailed response later. This year will be the first year that physically qualified MIDN will be able to go directly into Information Warfare or Information Professional communities without having to go Surface Warfare Officer first. There are a limited number of billets (I think it was a combined 6 between both communities for USNA and 3 additional for NROTC, but there is a possibility that will grow over the coming years). One of the main factors looked in lateral transfer into these communities (a completely separate process that happens AFTER officers are commissioned) is a computer science, IT, electrical engineering, etc. degree. So a cyber or CS/IT major will come to good use!
     
  5. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    The two communities that would be most closely associated with computers are the Information Professional (IP) and the Information Warfare communities (IW) (as I kind of hinted above).
    The IP community deals more with the communication infrastructure...everything in the RF spectrum to the maintenance and security of networks.
    The IW community is more vast...they cover Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), military information support operations (MISO), operations security (OPSEC), computer network exploitation/attack/defense, and military deception and then some.
    The IP and IW overlap (somewhat) when it comes to computer network defense. Both communities are involved in newly created cyber billets for USCYBERCOM and FLTCYBERCOM.
    Computer science and cyber security majors could find themselves in either community -- it really comes down to an individual preference, something that your son would have plenty of time to explore and talk to officers within those communities.

    As far as Navy billets....
    (1) While a small number right now, there is an opportunity to go directly into the IP/IW community right after graduation.
    (2) SWO-IP/IW option program, where officers do 1-2 SWO tours, then automatically are re-designated to the IP/IW community. This isn't such a bad thing, as you get an understanding of what the Navy is really about.
    (3) Lateral transfer, applying to be re-designated to IP/IW community AFTER serving in another community. A board convenes to determine approval/disapproval (no guarantees on this one). A key discriminator (among others) in this board is having a relevant technical degree (i.e. computer science/IT/EE/etc) or being in a comparable job (i.e. ship's communication officer).

    If your son is really keen on majoring in computer science, IT, or cyber...and he puts the time, effort, goes above and beyond, the odds of receiving one of these "few" billets greatly increase. FWIW, as you become more senior, you become less technical/hands-on...so the most technical your son will ever be is probably at USNA or within their first 1-2 jobs. HOWEVER, having the knowledge is something that stays (and needs to stay) throughout the career. Understanding what an IT or CTI/R/N/M is telling you in technical jargon is a lot easier when you have the background and comprehension.

    Additionally, there will be opportunities to attend postgraduate education. Furthermore, the IP/IW communities are part of the Information Dominance Corps, so your son will have to be a knowledgeable expert in what all of the IDC communities (IP, IW, Oceanography/Meteorology, Intelligence, and Space) bring to the table (initial step is earning the Information Dominance Warfare Officer pin and community basic qualification).

    Two good links:
    (a) http://www.usna.edu/Cyber/
    (b) http://www.usna.edu/Cyber/idc.php
     
  6. socalmomof3

    socalmomof3 Member

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    This information will be helpful as he makes his decision about attending the US Naval Academy. Thank you so much!
     

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