Find out what you'll be doing
About the Job
Cryptologic Linguist Sailors (CTL) work in the field of Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), and are responsible for the interception and exploitation of electromagnetic emissions. In other words, they use sophisticated search receivers and other specialised equipment to intercept, record, analyse and disseminate intelligence obtained from communications transmissions.
Whilst all Cryptologic Linguists receive formal language training, they do not normally perform the role of an interpreter.
As stated, the Cryptologic Linguist is responsible for performing and supervising the detection, acquisition, identification and exploitation of communications transmissions. Some of the duties that a Cryptologic Linguist Sailor may perform include:
- Manually tune or program radio receivers and automated systems to specified frequencies or perform frequency search missions (or both), over specific portions of the radio frequency spectrum in order to locate, identify, analyse and report on transmissions of interest.
- Utilise high-tech equipment to monitor and record selected transmission in order to enable post acquisition transcription, translation and analysis.
- Recognise key information during real-time, as well as post acquisition analysis. This may include the provision of a gist or overview of what is being communicated, as well as the translation of spoken or written material from one language to another.
- Provide real-time indication of possible threats to the platform or unit being supported, as well as providing input to the strategic intelligence environment including analytical comments.
- Produce formatted reports and summaries on items of interest, and liaise directly with relevant authorities for the dissemination of these products.
- Operate other specific systems as required to support Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) tasking and reporting requirements.
All CTL Sailors will receive training on:
- One or more languages, as well as Morse code skills
- Communications theory, including radio wave propagation
- Operation of acquisition, recording, and processing equipment (including keyboard skills)
- Analytical techniques including problem solving
- Communications networks; formats, terminology, and theory of pattern analysis (traffic analysis)
- The fighting structure or the order of battle' of military forces
- Procedures for processing and distributing intelligence data
- Procedures for handling, distributing, and safeguarding intelligence information.
Cryptologic Category Sailors are a key component of the Navy Warfare Community, and part of a highly trained and internationally respected maritime force. The ability of the Navy to conduct combat operations depends on a number of factors, with the professional skills and dedication of CTL Sailors an integral part of this capability.
Whilst all CTL personnel have specialist skills, they are first and foremost Sailors. As such, they are expected to take part in normal Navy activities when at sea and ashore. Some of these activities include:
- Responding to emergencies such as a fire or flood
- Cleaning communal areas of the ship, as well as your own area
- Loading supplies such as food, water and equipment and
- Working outside of your normal working hours as required.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What kind of people does the Navy want?
The selection process involves a psychological assessment to ascertain your suitability to undertake challenging aptitude based language courses that require a strong level of personal commitment and the ability to quickly comprehend and retain new information. People that generally do well in this assessment have a comprehensive understanding of the English language including grammar, and are able to work under pressure.
Do I have to get some sort of a security clearance?
Yes. The day-to-day employment of CTL Sailors is of a highly sensitive nature. If the details of their employment were to be compromised, then the lives of Australian servicemen and women could be jeopardized.
For this reason, candidates for selection as CTL Sailors undergo a detailed security evaluation. The security clearance procedure is necessary to ensure that only suitable persons are granted access to sensitive information. All CTL Sailors must be suitable to hold a Top Secret Positive Vet (TSPV) security clearance. There can be no exceptions to this requirement.
Where will I work?
At sea you will be employed in a tactical environment and utilise your specialist skills to provide situational awareness to Commanding Officers and Warfare Teams, in the form of early warning information. This enables possible threats to be avoided or neutralised, and helps to assure a winning edge in combat.
When serving ashore, you will be either remotely supporting tactical war fighters at sea or wider ADF operations in direct support of Coalition operations. You may also be involved in Australia's strategic intelligence collection effort.
Whilst ashore you can expect to spend time in Canberra (ACT) and Nowra (NSW), and you may also have the opportunity to work in Toowoomba (QLD), Melbourne (VIC) or other localities depending on Navy requirements. During these non-sea postings, you can expect to work in a joint environment with members of the Army and Air Force, as well as civilian personnel.
Are women employed as CTL Sailors?
Certainly. Female CTL Sailors are employed under identical conditions to their male colleagues, and have even been offered the opportunity to serve on submarines if they wish.
Do all CTL Sailors serve on ships at sea?
Yes, all CTL Sailors are required to serve at sea and can be deployed on any platform from an Armidale Class Patrol Boat (ACPB) to the new amphibious ship scheduled to enter service in the near future.
You may also be required to deploy on submarines; with the service on submarines and surface ships associated with the payment of substantial allowances that are additional to your normal salary. The obligation for sea service will continue throughout each stage of your career progression.
FULL JOB DETAILS
Other Ranks - Non Technical
Join the ADF with appropriate high school passes
The Royal Australian Navy offers competency based training inconjunction with the National Training Syllabus. This means thatmost training is nationally recognised and accredited. For moreinformation ask your Careers Counsellor.
Salary & Allowances
Salary while undertaking Military (Recruit) Training: $1,379 per fortnight ($35,854 per year).*
Salary while undertaking Initial Employment Training: $1,576 per fortnight ($40,976 per year).*
While under training, you will also receive $388 per fortnight ($10,086 per year pro rata) Trainee Allowance.
Salary (excluding allowances) on completion of Initial Employment Training: $2,016 per fortnight ($53,597 per year).*
In addition to your salary, you will receive Service Allowance of $517 per fortnight ($13,448 per year) except while undertaking Military (Initial) or Employment training. This allowance compensates a member for the unique requirements that service life may impose on an individual and his or her family.
To assist you in maintaining your uniforms in good order and condition, you will also receive a Uniform Allowance of $16 per fortnight ($419 per year).
Each General Entry job in the Australian Defence Force is classified into a pay grade. This particular job is classified as Pay Grade 4 on completion of Initial Entry Training, increasing with experience and further qualification through to Pay Grade 7 at the Chief Petty Officer level.
Refer to the Salary Scales for further details.
* Please note that these figures do not include compulsory deductions for taxation; meals, accommodation and utilities (as applicable); and superannuation.
All Sailors will serve in fleet units and shore establishments on a rotational basis.
Applicants must be aged between 17 and 53 years of age inclusive on entry.Applicants will not be allowed to enter the ADF until they achieve a minimum of 17 years of age, however they may be able to initiate the application process from 16 years and six months of age, depending upon the capacity of their local recruiting centre.
Education & Experience
You must have successfully completed Year 10 with passes in English and Mathematics. An aptitude to learn a foreign language is essential (all applicants will be tested prior to acceptance).
If you do not satisfy the education requirements for this trade or do not possess evidence of your educational attainment there is an alternative pathway available to you.
You may be eligible to sit an Alternative Education Equivalency (AEE) assessment to ascertain your ability at the required educational level for this trade.
Further information is available here.
Medical & Fitness
To be appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry into the ADF. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.
You must also pass the swim test and physical fitness test to graduate from your Navy Training and to proceed to the Safety of Life at Sea Training that is a requirement for Recruit School and Officer training.
Royal Australian Navy Swim Test (RANST)
The RANST is conducted to ensure the Navy's duty of care to all serving personnel, with respect to rudimentary swimming skills. The purpose of the RANST is to ensure fundamental water survival skills as a prerequisite to training such as survival at sea training.
Individual components of the RANST are fundamentally related to the survival at sea scenario. Competency in the RANST is achieved through successful completion of each component comprising:
- A safety jump off a 3m tower in overalls
- A 10m underwater swim in overalls
- A 50m swim using three safety strokes
- The ability to tread water or float for 15 mins in overalls
Note: You will find it much easier to pass the swimming test if you undertake swimming training before you join.
All personnel will undertake the RANST upon entry and competency is to be achieved within 15 weeks from commencement of initial training. Failure of any one component will constitute failure of the entire RANST and no waivers will be granted.
For more details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF , Medical Process for Entry into the ADF and Physical Employment Standards once you're in the ADF
Period of Service
You will be enlisted for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of six years. On enlistment if you elect to serve an open ended enlistment, you will be able to serve until retirement age, subject to your continued suitability for service. If you elect to serve for a fixed period of service, subsequent periods of service may be offered subject to the requirements of the ADF and your suitability for further service. Your Careers Counsellor can advise on how IMPS will relate to your chosen occupation.
Language Aptitude Test
During their testing at the Recruiting Centre, all Cryptologic category applicants are tested for their aptitude for learning languages. This is to identify their capabilities in assimilating different language structures. We do not expect you to know a second or subsequent language at this stage.
The application process to join the Australian Defence Force requires you to complete a series of aptitude tests which may include verbal, spatial and numerical ability and a general maths test. Some jobs may also require you to complete additional testing at a later date.
Psychology support staff will explain what is involved with each test.
The aptitude tests provide information about your suitability for the Defence Force and for particular jobs. Defence Force Recruiting can then help you identify jobs that best match your abilities.
Further information on the aptitude testing requirements can be found here.
Only Australian Citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.
If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary deferral of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.
The Department of Defence requires ADF entrants to obtain a security clearance appropriate to their avenue of entry.
A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and, as required, interviews enables the Regional Security Office to make an informed assessment of an applicant's suitability for a security clearance.
Current policy requires applicants for this particular avenue of entry to have lived in Australia for the preceding 10 years, or have a checkable background for this period.
Duration: 11 weeks
Location: Crib Point, Victoria
The Recruit School at HMAS Cerberus is situated on Western Port Bay, Victoria about 70 kilometres south east of Melbourne. The school has its own administration building, accommodation blocks and classrooms and operates as an independent unit within the greater training environment of Cerberus.
The eleven week recruit course is designed to give you sufficient knowledge and skills on which to base your Navy career. The course includes both classroom and practical activities. Most subjects are individually tested. Examinations are set to ensure recruits are sufficiently prepared to undertake further specialist training at category schools. Private study areas are available in the school and a Duty Instructor is available for assistance during non-instructional hours.
When you are offered a General Entry job in the Navy, you will receive Joining Instructions for the Recruit Training Course. These instructions will provide you with a good indication of the daily routine while at the recruit school and what will be expected of you during your training. This information is also available by accessing the Navy recruit school web site.
Recruits, who successfully complete the course including the Navy Swimming Test , participate in a Graduation Parade, which is normally held on the Friday of the last week of training. Recruits will have the opportunity to invite family and friends to view the parade.
After graduation, personnel will be posted to category schools at Cerberus or at other training establishments throughout Australia.
During Military (Initial Recruit) Training and Initial Employment Training (IET), members may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities, depending on a number of factors.
Like all General Entry Sailors, Cryptologic Linguist Sailors begin their careers at HMAS Cerberus at Western Port in Victoria to undergo 11 weeks of common basic training. Here they are trained in all the basic skills that Sailors need to prepare themselves for a career at sea and ashore.
Once basic training is completed, CTL Sailors move to RAAF Base Williams located in Melbourne's outer western suburb of Laverton. RAAF Williams is where the Australian Defence Force School of Languages is located, and it is here CTL Sailors undergo 22 weeks of primary skills training.
They are taught a South East Asian language course which is tailored to prepare CTL Sailors for both operations at sea and ashore. This language training is quite unlike courses run at universities. It is more intensive and tightly focussed on the skills CTL Sailors will need for their day-to-day employment.
CTL Sailors then commence a 35 week course to teach them their operator skills. This is conducted at the Electronic Warfare Wing of Defence Force School of Signals at Cabarlah, just north of Toowoomba in Queensland. It is here that CTL Sailors learn Applied Military language skills. Other subjects taught include computer operating skills, communications techniques and security procedures.
What happens after CTL training is completed?
As soon as they are qualified, CTL Sailors usually begin by applying their skills at a shore-based facility located in Canberra. Here they will consolidate their skills before posting to sea. Newly qualified Sailors can expect to remain ashore in Canberra for about 12 months before they begin working on a warship at sea.
What about prospects for further language training for CTL Sailors?
After approximately four years service and on completion of a CTL Sailor's first sea posting the Sailor can expect to undergo further Language training. This training can be a bridging course of 22 weeks to advance the skills of the CTL Sailors primary language, or an intensive 46 week language course which can also be the primary language or a second Asian or Pacific language.
There are also many opportunities throughout a CTL's career to undertake short language courses for Asian and Pacific languages and dialects.
Sub Specialist Option
Application to transfer to submarines is open to all Sailors and some Officers, male and female. Volunteers may apply for Acoustic Warfare Analyst (AWA SM) whilst in recruit school and to other Submariner categories as early in their careers as during initial Sailor trade and officer primary qualification training.
Although not all Sailor categories are employed in submarines, Acoustic Warfare Analysts (AWA) and Electronic Warfare Submariners (EWSM) are drawn from any category. Transfer into one of these may be necessary for some personnel to serve in submarines. (See the individual category sections to find out if the trade of your choice has a submarine component. If not, you may volunteer to transfer to AWA or EWSM).
If Submarine Service interests YOU let the Interviewing Officer know at your Recruiting Centre.
Service in submarines is extremely demanding, both emotionally and physically.
Submariners work and live in very close proximity to each other and personal privacy is extremely limited, except when ashore. Submarine personnel work long hours and are constantly subjected to emotional and physical pressures not found in surface ships.
Many a new recruit to the Submarine Arm of the Royal Australian Navy believes that he/she has what it takes to become a good Submariner. However, until you have been tested and have experienced the arduous conditions and life inside a submarine, you won't fully appreciate the difficulties.
Today's Submariner is a unique breed of Sailor/Officer. They have met the challenges, been tested to the limits of their endurance and abilities and found to have what it takes to be members of a very demanding arm of the Royal Australian Navy.
If you think you have what it takes, then you must be prepared for some very demanding personal challenges throughout your training and employment. If you come through these you will be willingly accepted into the Submarine Arm of the Royal Australian Navy and welcome to wear 'The Dolphins' (the submariner's badge of distinction).
Note: Submarine Service is not a sub-specialisation of this category. Transfer of category is necessary to become a submariner.
Further information is available on the Submariner pages.