USS Makin Island Certified as First West Coast 'Large Deck' to Award EIDWS Pins 
By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Donnie W. Ryan, USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs 
USS MAKIN ISLAND, At sea - USS Makin Island (LHD 8) became the first West Coast "Large Deck" authorized to operate an afloat Enlisted Information Dominance Warfare Specialist (EIDWS) program and award the EIDWS pin to personnel following final certification by Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, March 21.

Makin Island joins USS Wasp (LHD 1) and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), both homeported in Norfolk, Va., as the only large deck ships authorized to operate afloat EIDWS programs.

The certification was granted after nearly a year of intense planning and complex administrative work that had to be accomplished in order to receive the final approval to operate the program.

"This is a great honor for Makin Island to become the first 'large deck' on the West Coast to be able to offer the EIDWS program," said Senior Chief Information Systems Technician (SW/IDW/AW) Brian M. Costa, Makin Island's EIDWS program coordinator. "We received a lot of help from the Wasp as they were the first large deck amphib to get certified."

Costa said Makin Island Sailors who achieve the EIDWS qualification will develop a greater understanding for the other ratings in the Information Dominance Corps (IDC).

"This isn't a qualification that can be earned in two weeks," said Costa. "The EIDWS program focuses on a lot of complex systems and shipboard systems that Sailors must learn in order to complete the qualification process."

Costa said the command had to create a local instruction for the program, identify subject matter experts, and reproduce common core and platform-specific Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS) books, and issue designation letters as part of the approval process.

Costa said that on board Makin Island, the enlisted EIDWS program will be limited to the IDC ratings of information systems technician, cryptologic technician, intelligence specialist and aerographer's mate.

According to Costa, a team of more than 30 Sailors from Makin Island and the embarked staffs worked together to get the certification finalized.

"It was really inspiring to see every IDC rate come together and put forth the effort in making this program well-rounded," said Cryptologic Technician (Networks) 1st Class (IDW) Joseph M. Caddy, who is assigned to the Commander, Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 5 staff currently embarked aboard Makin Island. "The team did a fantastic job at making sure the program did not heavily weigh in on one aspect, making it an IT pin, or a CT pin, or an IS pin; but a program that evenly leverages critical skill sets from all facets of information warfare."

Caddy, who earned his EIDWS pin at his parent command prior to Makin Island's deployment, said he thinks it is extremely important for IDC ratings to have a strong background in information warfare and how it is applied in the Navy.

"When you see a Sailor with an EIDWS pin on his chest, you immediately know that Sailor is versed in information warfare," said Caddy. "It's especially a big deal to Sailors who specialize in IDC rates where there are very few opportunities to go out to sea."

Cryptologic Technical (Technical) 1st Class (SW/IDW) Michael E. Cibor, assigned to the COMPHIBRON-5 staff, earned his EIDWS pin more than a year ago at a previous command and also helped with the certification process for Makin Island program.

"I was the training coordinator for the program which entailed writing the schedule, location and instructors for training, maintaining a running record of attendance, topics covered and progress by individuals in the program," said Cibor.

Cibor said he also helped to ensure study guides and lesson presentations were correct as well as assisted with the creation of the test question database.

"Everyone worked hard to achieve this common goal," added Cibor. "It is a tremendous honor to be a member of the first EIDWS qualified ship on the West Coast and I look forward to assisting the rest of the IDC personnel on board with earning the pin."

Established Feb. 19, 2010, the goal of the Navy's EIDWS program is to provide a common link among the IDC communities and institute a rigorous qualification program to identify highly qualified and diversified information dominance professionals.

The EIDWS insignia is a two and three-quarter inches by one and one-eighth inches, silver oxidized metal pin showing a background of ocean waves, a crossed naval enlisted cutlass and lightning bolt with a fouled anchor and globe.

While Makin Island's enlisted EIDWS program, like all afloat EIDWS programs, is only open to information dominance community ratings on the ship, Sailors in other ratings who transfer to shore-based IDC commands in the future could have an opportunity to earn the warfare device.

Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the Navy expects over the course of the ship's lifecycle, to see fuel savings of more than $250 million, proving the Navy's commitment to energy awareness and conservation.

This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps that will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the secretary of the Navy's energy goals to improve our energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.

Makin Island is the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, currently supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility
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