CIS Update - Is This Accurate?

Hi there.

I went to the London AFCO today, to ask about joining as a CIS. Now, before anyone says anything, I've read absolutely every thread I could find about CIS on this forum, so I'm well-prepared in my view. Thus this post.

Because when I went to have a chat about it, I was told that CIS was split into (ET) - Engineering Technician and (WE) - Weapon Engineering. However, throughout the many threads on this forum, CIS has been referred to as CIS(ET)(WE). Meaning you'd study both "fields". Yet the AFCO seemed to say otherwise! Is this true? Is he simply not up to speed perhaps? He definitely meant that each sub-specialization was different, because he urged me to join the (WE) side, due to it supposedly being a sort of "two in one" and has more/better transferable skills. So I'm really unsure about what I'd choose now. All along, I thought I only had to pick between the CIS surface fleet and CIS submarine service. So when I got home, I hurried to create an account to share this with you guys! The guy I spoke with was a former CIS of some sort as well I think and while I thought he might simply not have followed with the times, since the change from OM(C) to CIS, he did mention he has a colleague who's currently a CIS as well; although he wasn't present sadly. Yet he IS a recruiter, so I expect him to know.

Lastly, when I read through the brochure (it was much more appealing than what the Army AFCO gave me, sorry army), CIS was listed as part of the Warfare branch... So now I'm just confused. I assume they didn't update things yet, but at the same time, it did seem to be *current*. The magazine even said that CIS(SM) learn Morse code with flashing lights! This is contrary to everything I've read on this forum, regarding CIS moving away from the Warfare branch and into the Engineering branch. But what's more, this worries me because I assume the eyesight requirements might potentially be VA1, instead of VA2 (as I've understood it on the forum), as the VA1 eyesight requirements in the Warfare branch apparently stem from their traditional role of communicating with flags and lights. What's going on?

In addition, for those interested (and since CIS threads need an update), I was told that the waiting time to join CIS (provided you go through all the tests smoothly), is around 3-4 months! Epic.

Slightly off-topic, I also asked about CTs and was told that dual-nationality (not that I have it) was no problem. Heck, he claimed he even knew (or heard of, I'm not sure) of people with 3 nationalities being CTs lol. If he indeed did mean CTs and not CIS, this yet again goes against the grain of everything I've read. Although it's quite a boost if you're not simply British I guess.

I would really appreciate any feedback/advice, cheers! :).


Book Reviewer
CIS derives from the older Communications branch, which was a sub-branch of Warfare. Thats now changed and CIS is a sub-branch of WE as there is far more commonality.

CIS is a sub-spec of WE, so it is ET(WE)(CIS)..... You're not choosing to be ET or CIS in that sense.

If you choose to stream CIS after common training you will move away from 'true' engineering to CIS systems engineering/administration etc. The difference between General Service and Submarine derivations is largely equipment fits and deployment patterns.

CT's have to be UK Nationals, in cases of dual nationality its case by case I believe. I'm sure a CT will come along and clarify that.
Ah wave_dodger, good to see you. Your posts have always been so informative, so thanks for that!

I also asked them about laser-eye surgery. On this forum, I read that both your corrected and uncorrected pre-laser-eye-surgery vision apparently gets taken into account when you do laser-eye surgery. But since I wasn't sure, I asked. They didn't have a clear answer really, but they seemed to suggest that if "too much had been taken off", then you could still be barred from entry. I'm not sure what that means, other than that they make a comparison between your pre & post-laser eye surgery vision and then make some sort of judgement based on that. Which is a little worrying really, if you ended up with 6/6 vision, but then got turned down anyway.


War Hero
The thing to remember about branch specific pipeline training is it is an evolving creature. A CIS rating who joined the Navy three years ago and still serving would not be familiar with his source branch training today. Neither would an ET(ME), for that matter who underwent 26 weeks training in 2012 but 40 weeks if he/she joined today.

The information available to AFCO's is only as current as that offered by the source branch itself. With several dozen specialisations ranging from surgeons to engineers, padre's to mine clearance divers, the scope for change is, to put it mildly, vast. On average, besides the fact there are, on average, between 30-50 changes to recruiting procedures per year, a person serving five years, will most likely be unaware of a couple of hundred changes since they underwent selection.

Anyway, careers advisers undergo update courses every other year for one to one briefs with branch SMEs, to try to keep abreast, as best possible. It's worth bearing in mind also that not everyone in an AFCO is a careers adviser, very often there are temporary loan service personnel who are spending a few weeks working from home, enjoying a bit of 'harmony time'.

ET(WE) (CIS) is now an Engineering branch, as indicated by @wave_dodger. The minimum eyesight standard is Visual Acuity standard 2, colour perception grade 3. The latest advisory letter regarding laser surgery is quoted below.

Good luck!

Laser Surgery Advice said:
Thank you for your enquiry regarding eyesight corrective laser surgery (corneal refractive surgery) and the relevant Royal Navy Policy. The Naval Service does not endorse the use of laser surgery as a method to gain entry and there is no guarantee that such treatment will improve vision to an acceptable standard.

The Naval Service requires individuals to serve anywhere in the world, in extremes of climate and operational situations, which are remote from primary and secondary care. Therefore, even minor conditions such as the use of correcting lenses can take on much greater significance when even basic support is limited. As a consequence, medical screening is stringent and to a higher standard than might be expected for normal civilian employment.

In general, any defect or weakness of sight will be a bar to entry if these defects render an individual incapable of, or likely to be incapable of performing general duties in the Naval Service. The tri-Service standard for uncorrectedvisual acuity is right eye 6/60 and left eye> 6/60.

With regard to surgical correction of myopia or hypermetropia, it is acknowledged that the following methods are now considered suitable for entry on an individual case by case basis for non-specialist employment groups and subject to single Service requirements:

(a) Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)
(b) Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK)
(c) Laser in-situ Keratomileusis
(d) Intrastromal Corneal Rings (ICRs), otherwise known as Intrastromal Segments (ICS).

Entry will not be considered for Radical Keratotomy (RK), or Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK), or any other form of incisional refractive surgery, other than those procedures listed above. All invasive intraocular surgical procedures will remain a bar to entry.

In order to be considered a candidate must fulfil the following criteria and provide documentary evidence to support that:

(a) The total pre-operative refractive error was not outside the limits for selection, and in no case more than + 6.00 or - 6.00 dioptre (estimated spherical equivalent) in either eye and;

(b) The preoperative best spectacle corrected visual acuity was within selection limits and;

(c) You are over the age of 22 and;

(d) At least 12 months have elapsed since the date of the last surgery or enhancement procedure and;

(e) There have been no significant visual side effects secondary to the surgery affecting daily activities or night vision and;

(f) Refraction is stable; as defined by two refractions performed on each eye at least 6 months apart, with no more than 0.50 dioptre difference in the spherical equivalent in either eye.

(g) Specialist visual function testing has been carried out with satisfactory results at least 12 months following surgery, including assessment of refraction, symmetry of visual acuity, high and low contrast sensitivity (with and without glare sources) or contrast acuity analysis, astigmatism, glare, corneal clarity, masked mild hypermetropia and night vision.

An applicant who has undergone eyesight corrective laser surgery must supply evidence of the above and may be subject to evaluation by a Service Ophthalmic Consultant. Each case is considered on an individual basis and if all the criteria are met it may be possible to consider an application to enter the Naval Service.

Decisions regarding any kind of ophthalmic surgery should be discussed with an Ophthalmic Consultant. This letter should be taken to ophthalmic consultations where eyesight corrective laser surgery is to be discussed with a view to achieving the necessary eyesight standards for entry.
As a current LET(CIS)(SM) (I think) I can say, with some confidence, that the RN hasnt got the slightest clue what we are either, so you'll fit right in! We're WE when it suits (cheers Faraday) but not enough to be on the supp 3 pay-band until after cross training. And god help anyone trying to get on a new course....


Book Reviewer
As a current LET(CIS)(SM) (I think) I can say, with some confidence, that the RN hasnt got the slightest clue what we are either, so you'll fit right in! We're WE when it suits (cheers Faraday) but not enough to be on the supp 3 pay-band until after cross training. And god help anyone trying to get on a new course....
Some parts haven't I will grant you that, in other quarters we're fighting the cause!
Thank you everyone :).

The CIS route is looking super appealing to me. Since it's in Engineering, will there be a lot of maths either initially or later on?


War Hero
The 'sums bit' only gets significantly more "in depth" on Leading Rate's qualifying course , so far as I'm aware. The recruit test pass/fail mark is set at a level which gauges the intellectual capacity of the individual to successfully complete initial branch training. Pass the recruit test, you should pass branch training. Or so the theory goes.

Is the ET (CIS) SM role a highly varied one? Do you work on every electronics based piece of kit which needs maintenance and how much do you actually operate equipment and in what way?
Do you work with boat weaponry as part of the electronics maintenance?

If you can provide me with a rough outline of the duties and routine that would be great - I'm thinking of going for this role myself and any and all info would be interesting .

Best of luck to you AB111 by the way ;)

Is the ET (CIS) SM role a highly varied one? Do you work on every electronics based piece of kit which needs maintenance and how much do you actually operate equipment and in what way?
Do you work with boat weaponry as part of the electronics maintenance?
You will operating all the external communications equipment and assisting in the maintenance of that equipment, along with the administration and maintenance of the onboard IT systems. The weapons systems are looked after by ET(WESM) ratings.

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