Title: Questions About Deploying? Here Are Some Answers

Release Date: 2018-03-01

Document Date: 2005-10-18

Description: Q&A about deployments to the Middle East enumerates NSA group locations throughout the Middle East and includes interesting facts about staffers’ requirements for assignments. All persons are required to become qualified on the M-9 pistol and the M-16 or M-4 rifle in a four-day training course, and carry anti-radiation medication. The pre-deployment culture training is a 3 1/2-hour course.


(U) Questions About Deploying? Here Are Some Answers
FROM: the Expeditionary Group/ National Intelligence Support Team Office
Run Date: 10/18/2005

(U//FOUO) Here's a Q&A about what you can expect when you volunteer for a tour at a CST* or
CSG* in the Middle East...
(U//FOUO) How does the NIST Branch support the CSTs and CSGs?
(U//FOUO) The NIST Branch provides the training and the personnel that deploy to the
CSTs and CSGs.
(S//REL) Where are the CSGs and CSTs that are supporting the Global War on Terrorism
(S//REL) They are located throughout Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, and the Horn of Africa.
Specific cities include: Balad, Mosul, Tikrit, Baghdad, and Babil in Iraq, Bagram and Kabul
in Afghanistan, Doha in Qatar, and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.

(U) What kind of people would I be working with?
(S//REL) Your CSG/CST colleagues may be civilians or military from any of the military
On a CST, you will be part of a team of 4 people. You will support and work
directly with tactical-level U.S. military personnel.
CSGs are typically composed of 8-10 personnel, and support higher-level,
headquarters elements. You will likely interact with senior officers.
(U) Are there people from other intel agencies at these locations, too?
(S//REL) Yes, there are people from other agencies, such as from DIA or CIA.
(U) What are living accommodations like?
(U) They vary. Personnel may live in tents or trailers, and in some cases we occupy
(U) I'm a civilian. Do I have to wear a uniform?
(U//FOUO) Yes, in all areas but Kabul, where casual dress is appropriate.
(U) What do I need to bring?
(U//FOUO) Your TA-50 gear, which consists of 2 pairs of combat boots; socks; 4 sets of
DCUs (Desert Combat Uniform); 2 hats; shoulder, side and leg holsters for your 9mm;
safety glasses; Kevlar with inserts; helmet; 2 flashlights, 1 overcoat, NBC gear (full set
of nuclear, biological, chemical warfare protection outfit); anti-radiation medication;
under-armor shirts; 3 duffle bags (2 with rollers); as well as personal hygiene items. You
may also bring entertainment items such as books, personal computers, game systems,

(U) Are there showers?
(U) Yes
(U) Will I have free time, and what activities are available to keep me occupied?
(U) You will have very little free time. However, they do have MWR gyms, a PX (a post
store) and the bazaar (local market place located on base).
(U) How hot is it really?
(U) Some days have reached into the 120's in Iraq, while Afghanistan reaches the 100's.
In the winter however, it gets down into the 20's.
(U) How dirty is it really?
(U) It depends on the location, but generally there is a lot of dust in the air. On occasion
there have been sand storms reported. It gets pretty muddy after a good rain.
(U) Where and what would I eat?
(U) All the locations have chow halls. Baghdad also has Burger King, Popeye's, Pizza Hut,
Subway and Cinnabon.
(U//FOUO) What percentage of deployers are women?
(U//FOUO) About 20%.
(U) What's it like being a woman in the Middle Eastern culture?
(U) It is fine as long as you adhere to their standards. A female cannot wear sleeveless
tops or shorts. If you respect their ways, they should respect you.
(U//FOUO) What's the civilian-to-military ratio of SIGINTers?
(U//FOUO) About 1 civilian to every 8 military members.
(U) How will I keep in touch with my family?
(U) In addition to having regular U.S. postal service, the bases have internet cafes that
are free, morale calls are available, and they also sell calling cards at the PX.
(U) Can I use my cell phone?
(U) Only if you have a GSM provider.
(U) Is there any opportunity for R and R , so that I could meet up with my family in Europe?
(U) No, you won't have the opportunity to take a vacation during a 90-120 day
(U) Will my family know where I am?

(S//REL) Yes, once you have arrived you will be able to inform your family of your
general location (country/region), but your specific location cannot be disclosed.
However, you will travel with a "cover."
(U) What are the medical requirements for people interested in deploying?
(U//FOUO) A person has to pass a worldwide deployable physical and psychological
(U//FOUO) What are the medical facilities at the CST locations?
(U//FOUO) They are either tents or buildings, relatively close to the living quarters.
(U) What's this about weapons training?
(U//FOUO) A person is required to become qualified on the M-9 pistol and the M-16 or M4 rifle. Training lasts 4 days.
(U) What do I have to learn?
(S//REL) All personnel who commit to a deployment through the Expeditionary
Group/NIST will receive the following top-notch training: 2.5 weeks of GEO Bootcamp,
AOR-specific office visits, 2-3 weeks of analyst training in the MOC/HAC/CT Product line,
as well as various computer-based training courses. In addition to the previous, Officersin-Charge (OICs) will receive: OIC training in GEOCELL, and a TDY trip to CENTCOM
Tampa and NSA/CSS Georgia.
(U) Will I carry a weapon when I'm there?
(U) Yes, all the time.
(U//FOUO) Have any NSA deployers had to use their weapon?
(U) Not to our knowledge.
(U) What's the work environment like?
(U) It is an exciting, fast-paced environment. You'll always be busy!
(U) Will I have a desk?
(U) Normally, yes.
(S//REL) Will I have a computer with NSANet access?
(U) Yes.
(U//FOUO) I'd like to talk to someone who's already deployed to a CST. Can you connect me
with someone?
(S//REL) Yes, all deployment locations have secure NSTS lines, and we can arrange for
you to speak with someone.
(U) What is available regarding "culture training"? Tell me more about that.

(U//FOUO) Volunteers who are training to deploy will attend a "Hostile Area PreDeployment" briefing. Within this course, culture training is covered. This is 3.5-hour
course that covers general culture issues, customs and courtesies.
(U) What does deployment to a CST do to my career progression?
(S//REL) It gives a person a thorough understanding of how tactical SIGINT supports the
war fighter in a joint environment - this is great experience for many SIGINT jobs.
(U) Regarding my promotability, will it hurt me to be out-of-sight,out-of-mind for several
(U//FOUO) NSA and SID leadership have expressed its strong support for these
(U) My supervisor tells me that this would be a bad move. True?
(U//FOUO) False! Almost all deployers are thrilled by the experience and return with the
hope of deploying again in the near future.

(U) Baghdad
*(U) Notes:
CST = Cryptologic Support Team
CSG = Cryptologic Services Group

"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet
without the consent of S0121 (DL sid_comms)."



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