Many of the current mission parameters and operational tasks of the Cryptologic Technician (CT) rating are based upon Naval Signals Intelligence efforts stretching back decades. And while the tasks of Sailors in the CT Collection (CTR) service rating (which was drawn from the old Communications Technician Collection service rating in 1976) involve a huge amount of Signals Intelligence work, a rethinking of the roles of communications and information has altered not only how the information they glean is leveraged in an information-warfare (IW) environment, but also the responses they can take on their front of the IW battlefield.

Following completion of Recruit Training, potential CTR Sailors attend the Class “A” Cryptologic Technician school in Pensacola, Florida for sixteen weeks of classroom training and lab instruction on signals theory, computer basics, security concepts and procedures, equipment operation, satellite communications, and reporting methods. Upon completion of these courses, about half of CTRs will be deployed for sea duty or shore duty, with possible overseas assignments in Bahrain, England, German, Japan, Puerto Rico, or Spain. The other fifty percent will receive intensive specialized training at a Class “C” school.

There are four jobs in the CTR service rating: Collection Operator, Collection Operations Manager, Signals Intelligence Collection Analyst and Reporter, and Communication Intelligence Collection Signals Analyst. Two tasks are common to all four positions: the management and/or exploitation of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum, and the planning and execution of communication Electronic Attacks—and the success of the latter depends on the success of the former.

A subset of Electronic Warfare, an Electronic Attack can employ electromagnet energy, directed energy (DE), or anti-radiation weapons against equipment, installations, or personnel with a goal of destroying, neutralizing, or degrading the enemy’s ability to engage in combat. Targeting communications equipment and channels, the Electronic Attacks unleashed by CTR Sailors can involve actions that deny the enemy’s use of the EM spectrum (jamming and spoofing, for example) or deploying weapons that use EM or DE (lasers, particle beams, radio-frequency) as the “punch” that deprives the enemy of operational capabilities in the EM spectrum—and thus robs them of the ability to engage in either operational or strategic communications.

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