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Navy Information Warfare/Cryptology Community – 77 Years of Excellence

This blog is from Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, leader of the Navy’s U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and 10th fleet.  Rogers gives a hearty “Bravo Zulu” to the more than 13,000 Sailors and civilians of the Fleet’s information warfare and cryptology community as they celebrate 77 years of existence. Join Rogers as he takes us through the community’s history and “virtually” touches on some of their more significant milestones and achievements.      

Happy 77th anniversary of the founding of the Navy’s cryptologic/information warfare community!

Since the first wireless transmission from an U.S. Navy ship in 1899 was made possible by the research of Lieutenant Bradley A. Fiske, to the exploits of the ‘On-the-Roof Gang’ and Capt. Joseph Rochefort’s cracking of the Japanese navy code, the early cryptologists built the very foundation of technical skills so valuable to our success in the Global War on Terrorism today.  In every era, in every battle, in every way – the Navy’s information warfare / cryptology community has been, and will remain, in the fight.


I am proud to lead our community as we execute the full spectrum of cyber, cryptology, signals intelligence, information operations and electronic warfare.  What you do on a daily basis is of critical importance to our Navy and the Nation.

Navy cryptologists can legitimately and proudly trace their heritage all the way back to our country’s founding fathers.  That heritage goes back to our 3rd President, Thomas Jefferson who invented the ‘wheel cipher’ – with some versions still in use today.


Nearly a century and a half century later, in October 1928 the Navy Department implemented training for its first class of ‘foreign wireless communications intercept’ operators.  In a blockhouse on the roof of the old Navy Department building the “On-the-Roof Gang” was born.  Five original OTRG members survive today.  The community’s 77th Anniversary commemorates the establishment  of the Communications Security Group on March 11, 1935, later renamed the Naval Security Group.

At the height of WWII more than 22,000 officers and 225,000 Sailors composed the Naval communication program. Since that time, cryptologists have played a direct role in every U.S. conflict and have evolved to meet the dynamic challenges of modern cyber warfare.

Information Warriors continue to not only perform in their linguistic/interpretive skill sets, but assist the Fleet in Special Warfare Operations, detection of Improvised Explosive Devices and intrusions on the Navy’s networks.

Information Warriors have been an integral part of SEAL teams in Iraq and Afghanistan and several have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duties.  Still others have been instrumental in the creation of lifesaving measures in the field and recognized with the award of the Bronze Star and other military awards for their ingenuity and bravery.




Bravo Zulu!  Well Done! Keep up your significant work.


You can find information on careers in the Navy here: Navy Information Warfare (IT) and Cryptology (CT).

Facts and Figures:

•   IW/CT current end strength includes: 1,229 active duty (AD) officers; 221 Reserve component (RC) officers; 9,558 AD and 778 RC cryptologic technicians; 455 Navy civilians.

•   The IW/CT force performs both national missions with the National Security Agency and fleet missions.

•   36 percent of the force is forward deployed on ships, submarines, aircraft and in other tactical applications globally.

•   Navy CTs are trained in a total of 114 languages and dialects.

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