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Navy Live » Blog Archive » Modern Sailors – Early Adopters of Navy Information Technology.

Modern Sailors – Early Adopters of Navy Information Technology

May 10th, 2011 posted by tjohnson

The following post was written by Nicole Collins, Public Affairs Specialist at Naval Space and Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), regarding their most recent class of SPAWAR sponsored recruits to graduate from RTC Great Lakes.

I’ve always been fascinated by the dynamic of multiple generations in the workplace. I seem to hear more and more about it these days, witness it on a daily basis at my job and take every opportunity to learn about it. It is so interesting to hear about traditionalists, baby boomers, generation Y and millennials- how they work together, how they can help each other, their differences and the challenges that come along with this diversity.

Leading up to the RTC Great Lakes Recruit Division 151 graduation on April 29, I had the unique opportunity to speak with three recruits, all millennials, about what inspired them to pursue careers in information systems technology. As a public affairs specialist for Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), The Navy’s Information Dominance Systems Command located in San Diego, I like to take every opportunity to connect with students, recruits or new professionals.

“The Navy is always involved in worldwide current events and we need top notch technology to help our allies and protect our loved ones at home, serving as the global force for good,” said Seaman Recruit Christel Lee from Philadelphia, PA.

“Since I was young I have always been interested in technology. My generation is very tech savvy and I wanted to be a part of this growing field and help further technical capabilities in the Navy,” said Seaman Recruit Amanda Copeland from Brooklyn, N.Y.


Seaman Recruit Lee from Philadelphia, PA and Seaman Recruit Copeland, Brooklyn, N.Y. study for an exam at RTC Great Lakes. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), the Navy’s Information Systems Command, sponsored Recruit Division 151. Both Lee and Copeland enlisted as IT rates and will soon be deployed to the fleet. U.S. Navy photo by Sarah King / Released

First off, many of you may ask yourself what is a “millennial” or “modern sailor.”? A millennial is an individual born between the years 1977 and 1998. This generation has most likely been raised in a household with a computer and they demonstrate the ability to navigate the Internet independently. From owning smart phones, frequently posting status updates on Facebook or “checking” in on Four Square, this generation likes to remain connected…at all times. A “modern sailor” is exactly that. A millennial sailor. Today’s youth is so far advanced that sociologists have coined the term “digital natives,” for those millenials that have adopted technology so quickly, often times at a very young age.

So what does this mean for the Navy? Since recruiting digital natives, many of today’s modern sailors’ experiences at RTC Great Lakes have differed from those who joined the Navy ten to twenty years ago. Today, the Navy is experiencing a positive shift in technology and is embracing it by recruiting and training enthusiastic, tech savvy sailors. These recruits arrived to boot camp armed with technical knowledge and were eager to apply it.

Hands on information systems technician training at RTC Great Lakes includes learning to design, install, operate and maintain state-of-the-art information systems, with sailors often functioning as computers systems analysts in the fleet.

Tough training? Not so fast. These digital natives grasp their technical training naturally.

The Navy trains modern sailors to be one step ahead of the adversary, detecting threats and protecting national interests. Who knows, maybe one day our sailors, digital natives, will be detecting threats by operating interoperable communication devices similar to today’s commercial smart phones.

While you can never replace the valued experience of a seasoned traditionalist or baby boomers, the technical possibilities seem to be endless with the modern sailor. My interview experiences inspired me to share how recruits at RTC Great Lakes are advancing at lightning speed and are excited to use their technical knowledge as a part of the U.S. Navy.

To learn more about SPAWAR’s RTC Great Lakes Sponsorship visit:

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