Weapons Engineer Branch - Information Systems Careers

Discussion in 'The Fleet' started by wave_dodger, Feb 7, 2011.

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  1. wave_dodger

    wave_dodger War Hero Book Reviewer

    For Stitch:

    The move to integrate E(IS) into the WE branch isn’t wholly bad but I think it will need some time to properly establish its true way ahead. To get this into perspective you need to look at what the E(IS) were and what they delivered.

    In 1995 2SL decided the Instructor branch no longer had a defined platform-derived identity and should therefore be dis-established with the variety of tasks its members conducted to be delivered by the remaining platform derived branches. So in big handfuls the METOCs went off to be Warfare, and then there was a pause as no other branch had the capacity nor the inclination to conduct the two bigger areas that the “Schoolies” performed, namely training [in all its guises] and “IT”. So, there was a strategic re-think and two sub-branches were parented by the Engineers, and they became known as E(TM) and E(IS), there was caveat to the formation of these sub-branches. They were both largely expected to “wither on the vine”, as the other branches picked up the capability or it was delivered in another manner.

    Whilst E(TM)s didn’t really experience that much of a change and with approx 300 people they had a large enough mass to have some clout, the E(IS) were substantially smaller (bobbing along at just sub 100) and didn’t really have a focus for what they did. Now that may be viewed by some as being harsh, because there was an E(IS) Structural Policy Advisory Group which tried to promote the E(IS) agenda, in essence they were still hunting for a formal role. In the latter years things did improve most notably with the establishment of “Command Appointments” and the creation of the CISO/CISE. This latter development was whilst in itself a great idea and it exposed the Warfare and Engineering world to some bright enthusiastic Officers, who made significant contributions onboard, it also made people look and note the similarities between E(IS) and WE. Which may not have been a bad thing!

    So now, all extant/legacy E(IS) are integrated within the WE community [and badged as WE(IS)] and all new joiners are taken on as WE and follow a common career path but now there is the option of specialising within ICS.

    On the face of this you could make the assumption it’s a bad move – deep specialist’s have been replaced – and a new breed has been established that has the potential to dip in and out as their career or interests dictate. However, I take a different view: the posts that the E(IS) filled are largely still there and post SDSR there has been an increase in the focus on delivery of ICS, so what I expect to see is ever more people joining as WE and perhaps doing some mainstream WE jobs but eventually specialising in the many flavours of ICS. What will need to happen (and to some extent it has already) is the career managers will need to identify what really are “ICS” posts, what training is required and establish a career pipeline for WE(IS). Early days but so far, very promising.

    Your final point, about the emergence of “Cyber”, is interesting but you need to be careful as “Cyber” means many things to many people and not all agree.

    The MoD currently delivers a CND capability [CND, CNE, CNA being in my view the three elements of CNO - and I'm not sure how the MoD will eventually, if ever, work in the CNE/CNA spaces], the current MoD debate post-SDSR is what actually defines our vision of “Cyber” and hence what capabilities will be delivered and from that we can work out what people and skills we need. Broadly speaking I don’t see (my opinion only) the MoD having a surge in uniformed manpower doing these tasks (certainly not like the US CYBERCOM and its constituent sub-commands from the Army, Navy, Airforce and Marine Corps). At most I would guess we would perhaps see some SNCOs employed in technical/analysis roles and maybe some Officers employed in Policy/Strategy and a few lucky souls embedded with Allied partners. What I wouldn’t rule out is the use of contractors (and or a specialist company) because the skills needed in this area are phenomenally difficult (and expensive) to gain and retain.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2011
  2. Thanks WD, this is very helpful.

    Can you clarify CNO?
     
  3. wave_dodger

    wave_dodger War Hero Book Reviewer

    Computer Network Operations = Broad umbrella to cover three more discrete activities:

    - Computer Network Defence, something you always want to be doing.

    - Computer Network Attack, something you may do depending on political/strategic/operational issues

    - Computer Network Exploit, something you can do which can inform and enhance CND and CNA.

    As I think I said these are the definitions as I understand it, depending upon which texts you read they vary slightly.
     
  4. With respect to the last paragraph in your original post: how do you see the reservists fitting in? There could be potential for those employed in a civilian IT Security role using their skills when operating with RN.
     
  5. wave_dodger

    wave_dodger War Hero Book Reviewer

    In general I wouldn't. There is however a specialist unit which operates under 2SigX, LIAG which is developing a sister unit LICSG [can't recall the acronym] which may/may not expand into Cyber. Their primary role is delivering Information Assurance across all three Services [but predominately LAND units].

    You can't just rock up and join LIAG like a normal TA unit - these people are all experts with lots of industry experience and normally Commission straight in as Capt, so it's pretty top heavy with Majors and Lieutenant Colonels.

    There may well be very small niche roles for Reserves but generally I (again my opinion) don't see that happening. I'd suspect in the future the MoD will buy in these capabilities as services and retain a minimal Military Service Provider footprint.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2011
  6. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Gracious me, what goes around comes around, fancy that. Back in the Sixties 'Computers' belonged to the Greenies as nobody at senior rank really understood the idea that it was the software and not the amperes that made computers useful. There was the odd Schoolie as an 'analyst/programmer' at ASWE but that was about it - except for a few peculiarly gifted fish-heads trying to specify requirements by writing 'Rules' for 'Action Data Automation'.

    That was in the days when Eagle's programs were punched into substrate cards because 'you can't break software', and a Commander (WE) queried the cost of an 8kbyte computer asking if 7k would do.
     
  7. Stitch, would you like to be put in touch with a member of LIAG?
     
  8. wave_dodger

    wave_dodger War Hero Book Reviewer

    Stitch, sorry to hear you failed the Med. Do I take it though "from my CO" that you are currently a Reservist but failed a regular medical?

    Anyway, you have to take RUSI with a pinch of salt, they are a think tank. The current situation with setting the cyber policy is that the first real MoD meeting is a few weeks away and they are literally just looking at the policy and frameworks required to set up MoD capability and then they will start looking at the tasking, people, skills etc.

    I don't see why sponsored reserves couldn't be used but there is a lot of water to travel until a decision such as that is reached.
     

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