By SOF Editor on Tue, 12/29/2009 - 10:58am
Sailors from Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Hawaii, NIOC San Diego, and NIOC Whidbey Island are playing a crucial role in the daily operations of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility.
The capacity to acquire, analyze, and apply pertinent information enables the ready group's Sailors and Marines to execute the maritime security mission and respond to disasters around the globe.
"Our job is to make sure we don't get surprised," says Chief Cryptologic Technician Collection (SW/EXP) Naomi Richards, a leading member of the team. To avoid surprises, NIOC personnel identify and analyze phenomena that are inconsistent with established trends.
"We figure out if things are normal in our operating environment. If we identify that something is out of place then this is significant for us," says Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class (SW/AW) Luis Holguin.
NIOC personnel meticulously search for patterns in scattered pieces of information in order to ultimately assemble a cohesive maritime picture. The ability to understand what is happening at any given time in order to predict what may happen as a result allows ARG leaders to safely position ships and personnel to execute a mission.
"The information is all around us. We just put the puzzle pieces together," says Holguin. "It's our nature to want to know what the other guy knows and to top him."
Analyzing intelligence information is a rigorous process, requiring NIOC members to constantly collect, process, distribute and potentially act. This process is now performed at speeds that were historically incomprehensible thanks to new advances in technology.
"Bad information can be detrimental to the mission. Ensuring the information we provide is timely and accurate is extremely important because ARG leaders might make key decisions based on it," says Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 1st Class Brandon Fouse.
Although NIOC personnel operate behind the scenes and provide capabilities that aren't always visible, the ARG depends on their efforts. For instance, NIOC helps monitor ship networks in order to protect important data.
"My job encompasses several areas that are part of NIOC's overall spectrum of capabilities," says Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class (SW) Christopher Love. "Every area � including Electronic Warfare, Operational Security and Computer Network Operations � contributes to an overall effort to keep our ships and networks safe."
The ARG is currently on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, supporting maritime security operations. The ARG includes three ships � the command ship, amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6); amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland (LPD 7); and amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 47).