NORFOLK (NNS) -- Fourteen service members earned their red Warfare Tactics Instructor (WTI) patches from Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) in a ceremony held at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Oct. 20.
SMWDC was formally established in 2015 to increase the lethality and proficiency of the surface force in response to emerging and evolving near-peer threats. The WTI program is a central element of SMWDC's efforts, and it is developing a new generation of expert surface warfare tacticians who are returning to the fleet as force-multipliers for their watch teams. After earning their patch, WTIs return for a production tour in order to bring their skills to bear through advanced tactical training, tactics and doctrine development, operational support, and capability assessments and experimentation.
SMWDC's Amphibious Warfare Division in Little Creek, Va. is focused on increasing the lethality and tactical proficiency of the surface force, particularly the amphibious fleet. Students in their 13-week program learn the intricacies of bringing the power of the Navy-Marine Corps team to the shore.
"Today is a celebration, congratulations on what you have achieved," said Rear Adm. Jesse A. Wilson, Jr., commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic and guest speaker at the ceremony. "You are now leaders in amphibious warfare. Share your knowledge with your shipmates and "lead-up" to superiors; demonstrate toughness; maintain a questioning attitude; continue to innovate and develop cutting edge tactics that will keep us a step ahead in a complex and ever changing environment."
"There is no better training for a junior officer," said Lt. j.g. Megan Barron, who will be serving as an AMW WTI on USS Germantown (LSD 42). "The past 13 weeks have been both extremely challenging and amazing. From the two week baseline course in Coronado, to the Fleet Immersion experience in Camp Lejeune, to the several different lectures, vignettes, and hands on projects in the classroom and simulator; going into my second tour with this level of training under my belt is truly invaluable and will allow me to help train other junior officers in ways I never would have been able to had I not gone through this course."
With a goal of 110 graduates per year, the WTI program has continued to grow since its inception. SMWDC maintains a goal of placing a WTI at every surface ship and staff in an ongoing effort to sustain maritime supremacy and a culture of high-velocity learning.
"The WTI program is taking a serious look ahead to the future of Naval Warfare and taking time to invest in developing sound tactics for ever-evolving threats," said Lt. Cmdr. Chris Petersen, who is remaining at SMWDC AMW Division to train future WTIs. "I am excited to be part of a program that is developing the Navy of the future and moving on from past assumptions that we have held too long."
As WTIs graduate and return to the fleet, regardless of their rank, they are viewed as the experts in their field, a concept which was relatively uncommon among the surface warfare community prior to this program. WTIs take pride in holding themselves to a higher standard of tactical and doctrinal coherence; and in turn, systematically institutionalizing higher standards and implementing a culture of high-velocity learning to defeat the Navy's competitors.
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