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The Evolution of Navy Cryptology

By Vice Adm. Jan E. Tighe
Commander, Fleet Cyber Command, U.S. 10th Fleet

Eighty-one years ago today, the first unified organization coordinating Navy Cryptology, the Communications Security Group, was established. From Station HYPO, OP-20-G and the On the Roof Gang, to the present day, our community has continued to evolve to meet and defeat the threats we face.

160303 - T3 NIW 1
Vice Adm. Jan Tighe, commander of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, speaks to visitors at the Navy Information Warfare exhibit hosted by Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, its system centers and partner program executive offices during WEST 2016.

The transition of the Information Dominance Corps to the Information Warfare Community in concert with the CNO’s Design for Maritime Superiority has given us another opportunity to formalize our evolution, and to deliberately examine our community identity. A great deal of our heritage can be traced to the Naval Security Group, and our collective identification as Navy cryptologists.

To that end, and based on thoughtful input from the affected members of our community, the name of some of our officer designators (181X, 681X, 781X) will be changing to cryptologic warfare officer. This choice honors our cryptologic heritage, reflects what we do, recognizes the military effects we deliver in the converged domain and more closely ties our officer corps with our enlisted and civilian force counterparts. Cryptologic warfare officers, together with cyber warfare engineers, cyber warrant officers, cryptologic technicians (interpretive, maintenance, networks, collection and technical) and civilians, engaged in cryptologic missions are a unified community—unified through understanding, unified in action and unified by name.

We are Navy cryptologists.

Officer Information Dominance Warfare Insignia
Officer Information Dominance Warfare Insignia

Whether we are executing mission under joint commanders, fleet commanders, Director of the National Security Agency (DIRNSA), or the Commander, United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM); and whether significant portions of our missions are organized under Communications Security Group, Naval Security Group, Naval Network Warfare Command or today’s Fleet Cyber Command/10th Fleet, we have our own enduring identity, culture and ethos.

We are the Navy cryptologic community.

On behalf of maritime and joint commanders, we execute cryptologic warfare, which encompasses signals intelligence (SIGINT), cyberspace operations and electronic warfare (EW) operations in order to deliver effects through sea, air, land, space and cyber domains at all levels of war.

As a symbol of what we do, I would also like to share with you our new Navy cryptologic community seal. While not a representative of a Navy organization or command in the traditional sense, this seal represents our own rich heritage, who we are and where we are going. It represents us.

logoThe Naval officer crest and our cryptologic technician insignia, with its lightning bolt and quill, represent and respect our long history. These symbols have stood from the earliest days of our community to the present day.

The binary background overlaid on the globe represents our part in the larger information warfare community, whose seal shares the same symbolism, as well as our core expertise in cyber, along with our global reach.

The skeleton key reminds us that we are relied upon to unlock and solve puzzles, and in many cases find missing pieces to paint a complete picture of our Nation’s adversaries. The key is engraved with the date symbolic of our collective establishment as a naval profession: March 11, 1935.

The chain binds us all together — officer, enlisted, and civilian — and binds our core missions — SIGINT, Cyber, and EW — to us, and us to them. The three stars also symbolize these three core missions. Through the converged domain, we enable and deliver effects to the commander and fellow warfighters. Our Community Vision, an update to our 2012 Foundational Principles, is also under construction and I will share it with you as soon as it is complete.

Please join me in embracing this next evolution of our community, which has stood on the shoulders of giants, both seen and unseen. Today, you who serve in the Navy cryptologic community will be those giants upon whom future generations of Navy cryptologists stand.

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3 comments

  1. I miss you guys it’s Shawn Kelley and will I ever receive my aknoledgement of service to my country and for working with Air Force one from my navy cea cadet days

  2. I held Top Sec Crypto position for 4 years in the Navy…..but cant talk about it…

  3. Comrade, I salute you! Have a cookie! You are good sailor, have another cookie! Now, tell us all about crypto or no milk for you!

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