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Goodfellow Air Force Base was chosen as the location to host the RSC to showcase the successful planning and execution which allowed Navy CTIs back into the esteemed Air Force-led Apprentice Cryptologic Language Analysis program. The seeds for this success were planted long ago by retired master chiefs and active master chiefs alike. Considering the success of their endeavor it was only fitting to honor that effort by hosting the council there.
The history of the CTI RSC dates back decades, but it was a nebulous, inconsistent gathering of CTI master chiefs. Circa 2012, retired Master Chiefs Jeff Salazar, Brad McNamar, Shannon Hickman, Barry Armstrong, Rich Robinson, and Edo Forsythe (to name a few), collaborated with senior enlisted CTIs from across the Navy to implement an annual, structured forum.
When asked about the purpose and history of the CTI RSC, Salazar offered this insight.
“During my time at NAVIFOR (Navy Information Forces Command) (2010-2014), because we were in a steady state of compromise and being reactive, I imagined that we could produce the best group of CTIs that had ever walked the earth, ideally by changing the entire machine, cradle to grave,” said Salazar. “The first steps involved were to analyze root causes, not the symptoms, and then make systematic changes to all MPT&E (Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education) processes for long-term sustainability. This could only be done by the entire CTI (Chiefs) Mess through the RSC.”
Attendees are typically CTIs in positions of greater affect, but the entirety of the Mess channels informs and reports to those leaders to represent the overall population of CTIs. Common attendees are senior CIT Sailors in positions such as the CTI Technical Advisor, the Senior CTI Detailer, NAVIFOR, Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT), IWTC Monterey, Goodfellow ACLP (Apprentice Cryptologic Language Program) representatives, Military Personnel Plans and Policy, Naval Operations for Information Warfare, Fleet Cyber Command, Tenth Fleet, Senior Language Authorities, Command Language Program Managers of the larger sites, the CTI Reserve component, and representatives from all CTI Centers of Excellence.
The four-day symposium provides a discussion forum for all attendees to brief strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) specific to their domains. They also have the chance to suggest changes to the current status quo, collaborate in person with the CTI body of influence, identify what changes and processes need to be worked, and assign an accountable party to action the due-outs. At the end of the gathering, the CTI Mess exits the Rating Strategy Council with a unified voice and a way forward to incrementally improve the Rate year after year.
Master Chief Micah Epley, the host and organizer of the 2022 CTI RSC, offered his insight to the benefits of holding the council at Goodfellow Air Force Base.
“We were very fortunate to have the CTI RSC at Goodfellow this year,” said Epley. “CTI’s just returned to Goodfellow for “A” school, so allowing the RSC to see CTI staff and students in action will pay huge dividends down the road. In the Chiefs Mess, we say ‘train your relief’. This week, we all got to see that first-hand and it was a great reminder of why the RSC meets every year to tackle the challenges impacting the CTI rate. I’m very proud to be associated with this group and I know the CTI rate is in very capable hands.”
Master Chief Ken Paulsen, who has served in numerous roles of influence for over ten years, also shared his tear-jerking reflection of this process.
“Here’s what I find most impressive with this group; many of our members are here to work toward solutions that they will not see to fruition,” said Paulsen. “They will not personally witness the reward for their efforts. They are here simply because it must be done.”
One other insight directly from the Technical Advisor to any CTI at any point in their career, Master Chief Scott Welker offered these words of reassurance saying, “Never let quotas deter you from being the best you can be; you control your destiny.”
In closing, an ancient Chinese proverb states, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago; the second best time is now.” It is comforting to see leaders like Salazar and McNamar who had that understanding over a decade ago. It is even more reassuring to see the continuous power of the Mess come together each year to plant seeds for trees they will never see. Navy Chief! Navy Pride!
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