Friday, October 14, 2011

Intelligence Specialist: Looking for the bad guys

By Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) James Barbour, USS NIMITZ (CVN 68)

Intelligence Specialist, the name speaks for itself…or at least it should. However, when I tell people my rating, the response I receive is generally one of confusion. Confusion for them because they aren’t quite sure what my job entails; confusion for me because I’m not sure how to explain my job without saying too much.  I’ve done the job for roughly about three years now though, so I think I’ve gotten to the point where I can safely tread the line between OPSEC violator and helpful informant.

The main thing, even if the only thing, to take from this is that Intelligence Specialists work and we work well.  The mission of CVIC (Carrier Intelligence Center) while underway is to collect, disseminate, interpret and provide necessary information to warfare commanders by utilizing a multitude of sources and skill sets.  

During our 2009-2010 deployment, our work provided troops on the ground with vital data on possible IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices).   CVIC collects data through all available sources and uses other means to verify the gathered data. When the location of the potential target is confirmed, strike analysts determine what type of weaponry would be best to neutralize the target and pass that information onto the ship’s Aviation Ordnancemen.  Once a weapon has been determined and strapped onto the jet, the pilots take-off to do their job. Once the pilots return, they come to CVIC so that we can verify it all.

With such a serious job, it’s funny that being a member of the Nimitz Honor Guard is how I spend my downtime. It’s a curricular activity that I find to be absolutely fulfilling because of what it means to the people you are performing for. Whether it’s a commissioning or a retirement ceremony, it’s a pivotal point in a shipmate’s career that you are being allowed to share with them and make special. I’ve done dozens of ceremonies since joining the military in September 2005 and I never get tired of that feeling I get while performing during military events.

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