The Warrant Officer category of Data Processing Technician first appeared in the Navy Register in 1968 and had an officer designator of 783x; the Limited Duty Officer equivalent had a designator of 623x in the field of Data Processing. The only source rating for the new category was, unsurprisingly, Data Processing (DP), which had been established from the Machine Accountant rating in February, 1967. Until this point, Machine Accountants had no path of advancement to be commissioned as either a Warrant Officer or Limited Duty Officer.

From the time the Navy first began to use automated methods of processing data in the 1940s, it had realized that the technology could be applied to a host of fields, from calculating missile trajectories and the effects of wind and tides on ship navigation to determining the amount and types of supplies that should be ordered based on past consumption and expected contingencies in the future. The two main types of equipment employed by Data Processing Technician Warrant Officers were electric accounting machines, best described as legacy devices, and Electronic Data Processing devices—i.e., general-purpose computers that are the direct forerunners of the types of computers we take for granted today.

For the insignia to be used for the new Warrant Officer category, the Navy simply used the specialty mark for the now-disestablished Machine Accountant rating: a quill pen, slanted diagonally with the nib end down to the left, superimposed over a gear. The DP rating was merged into the Radioman rating in 1997, which was subsequently changed to Information Systems Technician in 1999.

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