Navy Cryptologic Technician - Communications (CTO)

Enlisted Rating (Job) Description and Qualification Factors

Image shows a woman in military garb and a headset sitting at a control board. Text reads: "A day in the life of a navy cryptologic technician: providing telecommunications support to the fleet (air, surface, and shore); Information processing using computer terminals observing all applicable security measures; Controlling and operating communications systems and networks; Assuring signal quality and path integrity using test equipment"

Image by Alison Czinkota © The Balance 2019

CTOs perform a variety of duties associated with operating telecommunications systems that exist across the global communications spectrum. Advanced AIS networking and information management skills support the movement of huge volumes of data to operating forces ashore and afloat.

What They Do

The duties performed by CTOs include: providing telecommunications support to the fleet (air, surface, and shore); information processing using computer terminals observing all applicable security measures; administrative duties, which include maintaining files and updating communications publications via automated methods. controlling and operating communications systems and networks including satellite systems, network servers, patch panels, modems, routers, multiplexers and communications security devices; assuring signal quality and path integrity using test equipment such as protocol analyzers, distortion test sets, spectrum oscilloscopes and state-of-the-art signal analysis equipment.

ASVAB Score:


Other Requirements

Must have normal hearing. Security Clearance, (TOP SECRET) Requirement (SSBI). Must be U.S. citizen.

Notes: SSBI originated at RTC. Both the applicant and his/her immediate family members must be U.S. citizens. A waiver for U.S. citizenship requirement for immediate family may exist due to a compelling need. Only DONCAF may authorize this based on CT ECM's recommendation for severely undermanned CT branches. Moral turpitude offense(s) are generally disqualifying. Personal security screening interview will be conducted by a Naval Security Group Command special representative. Former members of the Peace Corps are not eligible. Must be a high school graduate or equivalent (GED, CPT, home study or other equivalency). If not a diploma graduate, the applicant must provide a high school transcript verifying successful completion of the 10th grade.

Technical Training Information

Enlistees are taught the fundamentals of this rating through formal Navy schooling. Advanced technical and operational training is available during later stages of career development.

Correy Station, FL -- 96 calendar days

Subjects: Basic communications, basic computer operation, networking theories and operation, cryptographic techniques and equipment. Training Methods: Group and computer-assisted instruction with live applications training. After completion of basic CTO technical training, graduates are assigned either to sea duty, overseas shore duty or shore duty in the United States. The normal assignment rotation for CTOs is two tours overseas and one tour in the United States. A tour at sea is expected and will count as an overseas tour for rotational purposes. The stateside tour length is normally three years.

Working Environment

Thirty percent of CTO billets are at sea where they work in secure compartments that house computers and communications devices. Ashore, CTOs work in secure office environments operating and managing various computerized information processing systems and communications circuit control equipment. Normally they are part of a communications watch team, while at other times, they may work independently. CTOs may also be assigned to aviation units. Shipboard assignments are available to males and females and comprise approximately 30% of CTO billets.