The rating of Interior Communications Electrician (IC) was closely linked to the Electricians’ Mate (EM) rating for over sixty years. Established in 1948 from the EM rating and the specialty rating of Electrician’s Mate (SR) (I.C. Repairmen), the IC rating was designated in the Fireman rating along with EM, and at the E9 paygrade the two ratings merged to form the Master Chief Electrician's Mate (EMCM) rate.
But in 2013 the Navy significantly altered the Interior Communication Electrician’s rating in a move to shift the focus of the rating to combat systems. One major change was to create the rate of Interior Communications Electrician Master Chief (ICCM) for IC Sailors reaching the E9 paygrade. Another was to designate Sailors at E3 or lower in the Seaman designation rather than Fireman.
The changes are largely the result of evolving technologies and the type of work involved. Today’s IC Sailors work extensively with sophisticated electronic systems that handle navigational data and communications, visual systems that provide real-time monitoring of landing procedures, audio and video teleconferencing, and high-speed fiber-optic data networks.
As in almost all Navy ratings, Sailors in the IC rating attend Class “A” and “C” Technical Schools, and the changes to the Interior Communications Electrician rating meant that the Naval Education and Training Command’s sub-command in charge of those school moved from the Center for Naval Engineering to the Center for Surface Combat Systems in Dahlgren, Virginia.
One thing the 2013 announcement (with an effective date of May 2014) did not do, however, was convert EMCMs who had reached that rate by climbing the IC rating ladder to the newly formed Interior Communications Electrician Master Chief rate.