SAN DIEGO -- The amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) has become the first small ships to be approved for the Enlisted Information Dominance Warfare Specialist (EIDWS) program, Oct. 21.
Sailors from various Information Dominance Corps (IDC) ratings and from the electronics technician (ET) rating aboard New Orleans now have the opportunity to earn their EIDWS pin.
“I am very proud of the work my Information Dominance Professional put into getting our program running independently,” said Douglas C. Verissimo, New Orleans’ commanding officer.” We will be able to better train and test both our Sailors and others on the waterfront,”
The process of starting an EIDWS program began over a year ago and required New Orleans to work closely with 10th Fleet. Master Chief Cryptologic Technician (Technical) (SW/IDW/AW) Suzanne L. Whitman and Chief Cryptologic Technician (Collection) (SW/AW) Phillip Pena spearheaded the program with the help of several subject matter experts.
“First we had to show 10th Fleet that our ship’s mission was compatible with the IDC, and from there we had our work cut out for us,” said Whitman.
Utilizing the Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS) from the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), which leads New Orleans’ amphibious ready group, New Orleans had to create a program that encompassed the unique IDC missions of the LPD 17 class platform.
“Boxer’s PQS gave us a baseline to start with, but we had to tailor our program to our specific platform, and even more specifically, to our actual ship,” said Whitman. “We are the first small ship – that is, not a CVN or LHD or LHA—to have created an EIDWS PQS, so it took a great deal of time, research, and dedication.”
The subject matter experts worked to produce an extensive PQS, covering everything from naval heritage to expeditionary intelligence. After months of compilation, the Naval Education and Training Command and 10th Fleet gave New Orleans the final approval to employ the PQS.
With the oversight of 10th Fleet via video teleconference, New Orleans’ seven board members conducted the ship’s first EIDWS board for Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class James Holzmann (SW/AW) on Oct. 9.
“It was nerve racking being the first to go through the board with such a large audience, and the questions were difficult,” said Holzmann. “Thankfully I had been preparing for months, so I felt confident that my answers were sound.”
Holzmann passed the strenuous board and was pinned on Oct. 24, paving the way for other Sailors aboard New Orleans. A total of 52 crew members are currently working on earning their EIDWS designation.
The Enlisted Information Dominance Warfare Specialist designation was implemented in 2010 to enhance the Navy’s understanding of information dominance to increase warfighting and mission effectiveness. The EIDWS warfare qualification specifically focuses on Information Dominance personnel in the aerographer’s mate (AG), cryptologic technician (CT), intelligence specialist (IS) and information systems technician (IT) ratings.