Navy officer rates, vs other branches

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by ns1234, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. ns1234

    ns1234 Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I interested in a few careers in several branches. I am looking at navy officer rates Intel, IP, Cryptology, and Cyber Warfare. I am planning on studying CS or Info security, but am not sure which degree would be best for these rates; I am also not sure what the difference is between these rates, honestly. Can anyone give brief analyses on how these careers are distinguished from each other (and even perhaps why I should choose between computer science, information tech, or information assurance as a degree)?

    Secondly, would anyone recommend army, navy, or marine computer/cyber/cryptology over the others? I like aspects of all three branches and can’t make up my mind! I would like to go outside the wire and be a traditional soldier/marine, and have the chance to have training like ranger school, maybe do ground intel and be a scout sniper, but I also love the navy, the ‘smart’ emphasis, ships, and naval stations. I would ideally like to work as a federal agent when I’m done.

    Thanks for your help!
     
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  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Just want to point out that what you major in is likely to have little or nothing to do with your MOS or rate in the Navy or any other service. I admire your investigating this and setting goals. I hope you get your desired MOS or rate, but be prepared to serve in some other capacity. I'll leave it to others to describe the differences between the different communities as well as compare and contrast the majors. My only other advice is to simply pick the major you want to pursue simply based on which one you would enjoy more and thrive in... the rest will (or won't) fall into place. If you're enjoying your major you'll end up with better grades, which improves your OML, which improves your chances of joining your desired community.
     
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  3. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 5-Year Member

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    It’s good to do research, as clearly you are doing. Having an idea of what you see yourself doing as an officer will help you work backwards to what service and what commissioning path.

    Starting at the end - becoming a Federal agent - is certainly doable. The “ABC” agencies definitely recruit from separating junior officers; they know you understand the concept of service, are operationally trained, have a security clearance and are fit - plus have way more leadership experience than civilian peers. Major is not that important, but probably more so for specific focus areas in cyber. We sponsored one USNA alum who was an Oceanography major, went SWO (Surface Warfare) then METOC (Meteorological), served 7 years, and is now an “ABC” agent overseeing port ATFP and EOD. One of her ABC training roommates was a West Point grad with an MP background, and there were several former junior military officers in her class, from all commissioning sources. Another of our USNA sponsor mids was a Physics major, went Marine comms (not sure I have the exact term), who is now serving OCONUS for an ABC. So, a doable goal from all officer sources.

    “Rate” or “rating” in the Navy and Coast Guard (I believe, am sure my sea service brethren here will advise) is generally used to describe enlisted professional designations. “Warfare Community” or “designator” is used for officers. All warfare communities have a numeric designator. As in, “What’s his designator?” “He’s a 1310 (“thirteen ten”).” “Oh, naval aviator.” Naval aviation would be the Warfare Community. You can read about officer communities at Navy.com (official Navy recruiting) websites. Here is an example:
    https://www.navy.com/careers/engine...-warfare-officer.html#ft-key-responsibilities

    Be sure and include the term “Navy officer” in your search string, or you will find yourself in enlisted rate areas, which can also be highly technical and demanding, but have a different role in the Navy workforce.

    As to major, if you attend USNA, there will be plenty of briefs about majors and warfare communities. You will have upperclass in your company or on a sports team or in an extracurricular whom you can observe going through the process of selecting majors, Service and professional warfare areas. I am sure the same is true for other SAs.

    You have a wide array of interests. You may have to leave some on the table as you refine your path. Read every page, dropdown and link on the various SA websites to educate yourself. Cyber/IW/IT is a rapidly evolving commmunity; there have been multiple name changes and mission changes over the last several years. By the time it’s your window to choose, what is true today may not be so then.

    Think about the general nature of the Services. The Navy does most of its work at sea, away from home for long periods of time. If you don’t get a cyber slot (there aren’t huge numbers compared to main warfare designators), are you up for serving at sea in a sub or ship, or some other area? Work through this drill with the other Services.
     
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  4. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012 5-Year Member

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    On the Navy side, Cryptology is now technically called Information Warfare. With Intel and Information Professional (IP), it is part of the Information Dominance Corps. All of these are restricted line billets, and so will not be available straight away from NROTC or USNA without a medical issue precluding an unrestricted line billet like Pilot or Surface Warfare. Beyond that, I'm not that familiar with the nuances that are different between those three billets, so I won't try to explain since I can't.

    I would not recommend the Marine Corps for cyber or any specialized IW/IT work at this time (there will be a significant caveat below). Intelligence work in the Marine Corps is, as is everything in the Marine Corps, focused on how best to support the MAGTF. If you want to do Marine-stuff and intelligence, the Marine Corps is the way to go. However, if you want to do big-picture intel work, the Marine Corps is probably not your best option.
    Intelligence communities in the Marine Corps are broken down into human intelligence/counter intelligence, signals intelligence (which is normally organized into "radio battalions" that are at the MEF level and parted out to supported units to conduct electronic warfare), aviation intelligence (the designated air intel guy for a squadron), and ground intel. Ground intelligence officers attend the Infantry Officers' Course (IOC) with their grunt brethren, have the opportunity to attend the Scout Sniper Leader's Course, and for their initial tour are normally assigned to an infantry battalion.
    At the Captain level after a few years in one of those specialities, all of the Intelligence Officer MOSs merge to become MAGTF intel officers. Traditionally, it seems like Marine intel guys do pretty well when they get out.

    Cyber in the USMC is still very, very young. It's a "project" for the current Marine leadership and will likely get significantly better. However, it is currently a weird offshoot in the Marine Corps and does not to my knowledge have its own MOS yet for Officers, which has some career implications.
     
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  5. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    @Hurricane12 - I've been hanging out around the Corps too long. I actually understood every acronym and nuance of your post! :rolleyes::D
     
  6. nuensis

    nuensis USNA 2016 5-Year Member

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    The Information Dominance Corps is now the Information Warfare Community. See http://www.iwcsync.org/ for more information. Note in all the descriptions below, all communities in the IWC will do much more than just computer networks and cybersecurity. Also, I know just about nothing about how the other services run their equivalent communities.

    USNA now graduates about 7-12 CWs and 2 IPs per class that are physically qualified for unrestricted line. As much as they like to say major does not matter, you will not be very competitive if you have a major outside of CS/IT/Cyber/CE/EE. With only nine quotas, there were Trident Scholars from the CS department left out in my class.

    Intel (and in a lot of ways METOC) is its own animal separate from the computer stuff IPs and CWs do (a few USNI articles have been written about removing Intel from the IW community). Intel mostly involves collection of raw data, analysis of data into information, and synthesizing and fusing information from multiple sources into relevant and timely intelligence. Intelligence Officers lead enlisted Intelligence Specialists (IS) specializing in operational intelligence, imagery intelligence, counterintelligence, human intelligence, expeditionary intelligence, and strike planning and analysis to produce coherent intelligence products (i.e. PowerPoints...heh) to operational commanders. Newly graduated Intel officers can expect to be squadron Aviation Intel Officers (AIs), Air Wing Assistant Targeteers, work in staff N2 shops, or work at various shore commands.

    IP officers can expect to spend the initial two tours first at a major telecommunications shore stations covering an AOR or broad mission set, and second as an afloat Communications division officer aboard a CG/DDG/LSD--or vice versa, depending on how detailing works out. After that, graduate school is common, then ashore or afloat Communications, Network Operations, and Combat Systems staff jobs. At this point there is some overlap between IP and CW, particularly ashore.

    CW officers can expect to be detailed first to a Naval Information Operations Command (NIOC) co-located with a major NSA/CSS facility (Maryland, Georgia, Texas, Hawaii, Colorado). After this tour, they can expect to either continue with "National Mission" billets (staying with major shore facilities/NSA) or move to "Direct Support" billets, where they can be assigned as small detachments to conduct operations on aircraft, ships, and submarines.

    METOC can should expect to be detailed to Naval Oceanography shore facilities specializing in Antisubmarine Warfare, Mine Warfare, Special Warfare, or one of the Fleet Weather Centers providing forecasting support to fleet units. JOs can expect to run watchfloors at these shore facilities and/or lead small detachments of forecasters and analysts aboard aircraft carriers, destroyers, and integrated as part of destroyer or mine countermeasures squadrons to support operational requirements.

    I've posted on this before, more info below.