U.S. NAVY CRYPTOLOGIC TECHNICIAN (CT) BALL CAP DEVICE

It almost goes without saying that a job in any of the five Cryptologic Technician (CT) service ratings will entail considerable intellectual and mental challenges. For Sailors wishing to serve  the Interpretive (CTI) service rating, however, there are several hurdles to overcome before even taking the first real step on the career ladder.

Foreign language translation and analysis is at the core of CTI duties. In addition to meeting some fairly high security-clearance requirements, CTI candidates must take the Defense Language Aptitude Battery, a test used by the Department of Defense that is designed to evaluate an individual’s ability to learn a language. The test can be taken at a Military Entrance Processing Command (or any other location where it is available), and the score determine the language in which CTI Sailors will immerse themselves.

Category I languages (score of 95-99) are Romance languages: French, Italian, Portugese, and Spanish. Category II (100-104) is just German, while Category III—the largest grouping--consists of languages from a wide variety of language families (Hebrew, Russian, Hindi, Thai, Turkish, Uzbek, and Croatian, to name a few). A score of 100 qualifies a CTI candidate to study Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean.

Those studies are at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California, and begin when Sailors have completed Recruit Training. How long a Sailor spends in this phase of training depends upon his rate of learning; it can last between seven months to a year. This is followed by Phase II of CTI training—which runs another six to twelve weeks—and graduation to a Class “F” School, which is the Center of Excellence for a specific language.

Of course, where the rubber meets the road for the CTI service rating is in Signals Intelligence, which entails an entirely new type of instruction in the operation of radio receivers, recording equipment, and computer-assisted information processing systems in order to develop analyses of potential threats. And the immersive study that CTIs go through also give them an appreciation of cultural and regional traditions which they can use as a factor in the reports they use to advise leadership.

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