I might become a Navy CTN, any advice?

I went into an Armed Forces Career Center yesterday, asking for advice on how to get a secret clearance so I could get a job in cybersecurity. They gave me a lot of information on the training program for CTN in the Navy. I took a practice ASVAB while I was there, and I scored a 90! They told me I would be qualified for anything with that score.
If I do this, I will have to go through basic training and A school, and go through a lot of background checks for a top secret clearance. I have heard of people getting screwed over and being put in school for programs they have no interest in, how can I avoid that?
I am just looking for general advice on the whole process, although if anyone here is a cryptographer, I would love to hear about it.

You’re looking into get a top secret clearance and the first thing you do is post about it on an internet message board?

Ask the recruiter to get the school guaranteed for you. If it’s not in writing in your contract, all bets are off. The Navy only fills billets according to needs of the service. If there are no openings, you’re out of luck.

By the way, while a TS clearance in the military can help with job apps, it’s the schooling and experience that will get you the civilian job. The clearance goes away once you leave the service, and it will have to be done all over again by your civilian employer.

Chefguy - holder of TS clearances both in the military, federal government and civilian world

I had a TS clearance while in the Army. At no time during the process, should you lie about your past. And they will ask all sorts of questions, I was asked if I had engaged in bestiality, for example. If they find out you lied which they probably will, they will deny/take away your clearance. They are looking for any thing that you could be bribed or blackmailed about in order to get you to give up secrets.

My early entry was held up and I was temporarily signed up for another MOS because I owed Columbia House money for some cassettes (ask your parents).

Good luck. The Navy has some great technical training.

It’s a good thing animals can’t speak.

This isn’t accurate. As long as your 5-year investigation isn’t passed 5 years, and you haven’t had a break in Federal Service for more than 2 years, your clearance transfers to whatever government agency you start working for.

First off, a practice ASVAB is not your ASVAB. Take the actual test and see if your score is high enough for the rating (job) you want.

Next, recruiters are generally lazy. Every time you answer “yes” to one of their questions, it’s another form and explanation page in your enlistment package. They may pressure you to say “no”. You should resist, because if something comes up during your background check that doesn’t mesh with your other information, it can be a red flag.

Third, for your background check you will need a lot of information, especially about the last seven years of your life (addresses, trips outside the U.S., organizations you participated in, etc.) Get all of that together now. Also, a list of people that have known you at least seven years that you aren’t related to, and make sure everyone on that list will tell everyone that you are the most patriotic and upstanding person they’ve ever met.

And finally, as Chefguy said, if it isn’t guaranteed in your contract, it isn’t real.

AO2 (AW) West, one time holder of a Secret clearance

Government agency, perhaps. I was speaking of jobs with civilian contractors. I had a TS when I retired from the Navy (last tour was with Department of State) and went to work for a government contractor, where they had to do another BC, even though it was from the same agency and was a downgraded clearance. Only a year and a half later, I was a direct hire for the Department of State; it had taken them two years to get my TS clearance done even though it was started when I was still in the military and already carrying a DOS TS clearance!. I’ve had a DOD Secret clearance for contract work, but have no idea what their rules are. Seems that different agencies have different hoops for you to jump through.

Another question is, I have A+, Network+ and Security+ certs. Could these get me through their training faster?

As the farmer said to the ventriloquist -

“Before we go any further, that sheep on the end is a liar!”

This +1 - sign nothing before it is in writing, no matter what the recruiter says.


Unlikely. Military training is about doing it the right way, in which the right way is the military way. ‘A’ School is a pre-ordained unit of time and I’ve never heard of anyone graduating early.

Your knowledge should help you to pass the exams with less studying, but you won’t get out early.

You should ask the recruiter about rank advancement, though. I started my time in the fleet as an E-3, rather than an E-1, because I had two years of college behind me.

There’s another trap here, too. If what you already know differs from what you’re being taught, what you already know is WRONG (as far as the school is concerned… and their opinion is the only one that counts at that moment). If it interferes with learning what’s being taught at that moment, it could be a problem.

Case in point: I’m a retired Air Force enlisted computer programmer. (Yeah, we used to have those.) At my tech school, we were in our final block: advanced COBOL. I already knew a fair bit of COBOL. So this would be a slam-dunk!

Apparently, I knew too much. I was using language features in my final project that hadn’t been taught in the class.

I failed the project. The only project I didn’t get an out-of-the-park top score on. Thankfully, the trainer wasn’t a complete jerk and gave me the opportunity to redo it over my final weekend at lovely Keesler AFB, in strict accordance with the material we had been taught. And I did it. And I passed.

Turns out that after an experience like that, Keesler AFB is much lovelier in the rear-view mirror than it is from the inside of Wolf Hall cussing at the compiler and the trainer and the Air Force. And also, I would never have anything to do with COBOL as long as I had any say in the matter.

Enough ranting. My point is that this may not be a very high risk in a very detailed technical field like networks, but it’s something to consider. If you are serious about getting through a term in the Service, do it the Navy’s way, not the way you already know to do; at least, until you’re in a position where you can defend your technical choices (i.e., being in a position of authority and with a supportive chain of command).

iyaoyas! :slight_smile:

Seabee by any chance?


It will certainly help, but you still have to go to all the classes. Among other things, a CTN learns about operating and maintaining certain types of equipment. There’s simply no civilian equivalent school. I suppose you could attend something put on by the actual manufacturer, if they’d let you in (which they probably wouldn’t unless you already had the clearance and need-to-know about that device).

Consider it this way, when they’re talking about basic PC stuff the OSI model or three-factor authentication you should be way ahead of the curve. Thus when they get to stuff you don’t know, you have a solid foundation to build upon.


They do, though some Agencies will accept a DoD clearance and some want to do their own. DoS doesn’t like to accept DoD clearances for full time hires. DHS is famous for their clearance process taking just forever, and then once you have a DHS clearance, some agencies UNDER the DHS umbrella STILL want to do their own vetting. The whole system is a mishmash.


Bingo! You?

Onetime DC2 (sw) here.

I will say my recruiter never lied to me but there was a ton of things he failed to mention…

I got a 99 on my ASVAB and originally went into the nuclear propulsion program. Being an 18 year old punk I washed out. Went to the fleet as an unrated E3, struck for Damage Controlman and had a blast. Managed to get sent to A school again. It was a great 4 years and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I’ll repeat what was said,

-Get the A school you want guaranteed before you sign. If you have to you might be on hold for weeks or months before you leave for boot camp. Don’t let them ship you out in 2 days (or whatever) saying that your school slot can be taken care of at boot camp.

-Ask if there is a signing bonus.
-Ask if you can get rank advancement. Worst thing is they say no. They need you more than you need them. Don’t feel pressured to OMG SIGN NOW OR ELSE! The military is a huge

Remember this

(Oops submitted too soon)

The military is a huge machine. If the recruiter is pushing you walk away. They have a shitty job sometimes and some will say anything. Go across town and talk to a different one if you feel like it.

I hope it works out, any questions come back and ask us.


True, but I note carefully the use of “agency”. Security investigations for personnel outside the Government, contractors, are handled by a different agency (OMB) than investigations for Gov’t employees. So if the job in question is with a private firm, the investigation will have to be redone. Obviously, it may go a lot faster given the individual already has a TS from the military, but only may. Investigations are held up for many reasons besides the individual case-usually budget problems.