A 2010 homeschool graduate and Newnan, Georgia, native is stationed with a command responsible for teaching future information warriors the skills required to defend America around the world.
Petty Officer 1st Class Kaitlin Welch works as an intelligence specialist and serves with the Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Virginia Beach.
A Navy intelligence specialist is responsible for training sailors to exploit and report on various types of imagery and provide reports to warfare commanders in the fleet.
Welch credits success in the Navy with lessons learned growing up in Newnan.
“I grew up in the same town until I joined the Navy,” said Welch. “I have learned that it is okay to move and live in different places. You get to experience new cultures and meet really cool people. It isn’t as scary as I thought.”
IWTC Virginia Beach provides a continuum of information warfare training to Navy and joint service personnel, preparing them to conduct information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations.
The training command currently offers 65 courses of instruction in information technology, cryptology and intelligence with an instructor and support staff of 280 military, civilian and contract members who train more than 6,500 students every year at five different training sites.
Welch is playing an important part in America’s focus on rebuilding readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
IWTC Virginia Beach is one of four schoolhouses for the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT) and also oversees learning sites at Jacksonville and Mayport, Florida; Kings Bay, Georgia; and Groton, Connecticut to continue aligning the information warfare community training.
“Our IWTC Virginia Beach staff members clearly demonstrate exemplary performance and leadership, shown through their significant contributions to deliver trained information warfare professionals to the fleet,” said Cmdr. Richard Bosworth IWTC Virginia Beach commanding officer. “I’m extremely proud of their accomplishments and more importantly how the impact of their hard work continues to ensure fleet mission readiness around the globe every day.”
Charged with developing the future technical cadre of the information warfare community, the CIWT domain leads, manages and delivers Navy and joint force training to 22,000 students annually. With 1,200 military, civilian and contracted staff members, CIWT oversees about 200 courses at four information warfare training commands, two detachments and additional learning sites located throughout the United States and Japan.
CIWT is responsible for training enlisted cryptologic technicians, information systems technicians, intelligence specialists and electronics technicians. CIWT also provides training to cryptologic warfare, information professional, intelligence and foreign area officers, which prepares sailors to wage battle and assure the nation’s success in this burgeoning warfare arena.
“The CIWT team is successful because each of our domain members is committed to our job of preparing sailors to fight and win in the arena of information warfare,” said Capt. Nick Andrews, CIWT’s commanding officer. “I’m extremely proud of how their hard work and professionalism prepare our sailors so they are ready for the Navy the nation needs.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Welch is most proud of being selected as Junior Sailor of the Year in 2014.
“It solidified that I was doing a good job and recognized the hard work I was putting in,” said Welch.
Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Welch, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Welch is honored to carry on that family tradition.
“My great-grandfather, grandfather and uncle were all in the Navy,” said Welch. “I thought it would be really cool to be a fourth-generation sailor.”
IWTC Virginia Beach sailors and staff are serving as a key part of the information warfare community in its mission to gain a deep understanding of the inner working of adversaries and developing unmatched knowledge during wartime.
They have a responsibility in creating warfighting options for fleet commanders and advising decision-makers at all levels as they serve worldwide aboard ships, submarines and aircraft and from the National Security Agency to the Pentagon.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Welch and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving in the Navy means experiencing, embracing diversity and coming together as one to complete the ultimate goal which is to support the missions,” added Welch.