The new Cryptologic Network Warfare Analyst Advanced Leader Course, ALC, resumed its second cycle of classes this month at the Noncommissioned Officer Academy, NCOA.
The 288-hour, small group-led ALC prepares noncommissioned officers to assume supervisory roles in cyber analysis and operation elements. Upon completion, Soldiers should be able to apply critical thinking while supervising and leading Army Cyber operations.
Sgt. 1st Class Michael Fleshman, senior small group leader, described the course as “performance-oriented, scenario-based training.” He explained how the small group environment facilitates discussion, and allows students to collaborate with each other in groups and accomplish performance-based exercises.
“It’s student-centric, peer-to-peer learning,” he said. “[Small group leaders] facilitate instruction. We’re not like teachers where we’re standing up there and talking the whole time. We manage discussion.”
Curriculum consists of five modules: Signals Intelligence Operations; Mission Management; Operation Management; Mission Analysis; and a situational training exercise, STX. The STX applies Army Cyber work roles and current tactics, techniques, and procedures of cyber analysis.
“The course introduces appropriate 30-level critical tasks and reinforces intermediate cyber analysis skills to develop the broadly skilled leader for the cyber environment,” said Sgt. 1st Class Nolan Nagaue, NCOA Training Management noncommissioned officer in charge.
ALC planning and organization began in 2011 and completed its first class cycle in May. According to Susan Fuerst, NCOA course training manager, the NCOA worked closely with the 780th Military Intelligence Battalion at Fort Meade, Maryland, on course development since the unit houses the majority of cryptologic network warfare analysts. The second cycle started on Aug. 5 leaving some time in between to “fine tune” the curriculum.
“With every course there’s always work to be done to make it better, but I think we’ve made some good improvements and the students are receiving the benefits of that in this course,” Fleshman added.
The course currently trains eight Soldiers at a time but will extend to 12 students per cycle next year. When it comes to training future Soldiers, Fleshman wants to implement more course changes.
“We do plan on making some of the scenarios a little more in-depth, basically allowing [students] to make decisions … where they’re allowed to make the wrong decisions, learn from the wrong decisions and eventually will learn to make the right decisions,” he said.
A cryptologic network warfare analyst, also known as a 35 Quebec, is one of the newest military occupational specialties offered by the Army and started in the fall of 2012.
According to www.goarmy.com, the MOS requires Soldiers to perform initial cryptologic digital analysis to establish target identification and operational patterns. The 35Q identifies, reports and maintains intelligence information in support of Commander’s Intelligence Requirements and uses technical references to analyze information.