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    Ford Sailors Snoop Around on Ike

    The wind is whipping, bitter cold and steady. The sky is gray, a fog settled on the horizon. Barely visible, but slowly inching closer before backing off again, is a small ship, barely distinguishable as anything but a vague silhouette to the average Sailor. The quiet sounds of shutters clicking is accompanied by the occasional report up in the crow’s nest of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). This is the setting for the Ship’s Nautical or Otherwise Photographic Interpretation Examination (SNOOPIE) team.
    Mostly comprised of Ike Sailors from intelligence and media department, there are two new faces on the team. Lt. j.g. Anthony Kim and Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Charles Pennington who are temporarily assigned from the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) to intelligence department’s QZ division as Ike’s SNOOPIE team leads.
    “SNOOPIE is another way of providing information -- what we call indications and warnings -- to the [Tactical Action Officer (TAO)],” said Pennington. “We interpret visual sight when something is close enough, whether it’s a foreign adversary, a merchant vessel or air contact. You can only get so much from other forms of intelligence gathering, but when you can see it with your own eyes it’s easy to provide specific intelligence to the TAO so he can protect the ship and take necessary precautions.”
    The Navy’s adversaries don’t go away when the sun sets, which is why SNOOPIE members must be prepared to respond at any time of day from anywhere on ship in five minutes or less.
    “SNOOPIE team has to have the flexibility to always be on stand-by and ready to go,” said Kim. “It’s a day and night job. You also need the situational awareness of what is already in the current operational area.”
    Identifying contacts quickly and precisely can be a challenge, which is why SNOOPIE members must possess certain skills.
    “You have to have stamina to run up the ladder wells, for one,” Pennington said with a laugh. “However, the biggest thing about SNOOPIE is attention to detail. We have to go up and identify what’s been called away and we have to be privy to what foreign ships are going to be around where we’re operational. The best kind of intelligence we’re going to get from the SNOOPIE perspective is being able to see what’s going on with our own eyes. Systems can have faults – technical errors can mess up how we see data, but if you’re up there in person you can see small details that a radar might miss, like if a ship is aiming a gun at us. A radar isn’t going to catch that, but we will.”
    Another responsibility of the SNOOPIE team is Operational Task – Visual Information (OPTASK VI), which is the accurate and timely reporting of an incident.
    Kim said that it’s important to be aware of the area of responsibility the ship is currently in as the requirements can change for OPTASK VI can change. He also said that gathering plenty of evidence from the time SNOOPIE team is called away to when it’s secured is important so that the strike group is accurately reporting the same information.
    Incidents can happen at any time. While the crew will have as much warning as can be provided beforehand, Sailors may find themselves in a position to record their own footage.
    “It’s important that the crew maintains operational security when an incident occurs,” said Pennington. “It’s just like normal, don’t post locations or leak need-to-know information. If someone happened to be on the smoke pit and was able to capture footage on their phone, bring that to intelligence or media department.”
    Kim agreed that Sailors should be mindful of operational security. He said that while any captured footage is unclassified, Sailors should refrain from posting it on social media or sending it to friends and family for security purposes.
    “SNOOPIE team is a core part of what we do as intelligence specialists and mass communication specialists,” said Pennington. “It’s about getting the story right, getting the evidence and reporting what really happened.”



    Date Taken: 01.20.2020
    Date Posted: 01.24.2020 17:12
    Story ID: 360334
    Location: US

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