The Naval Air and Missile Defense Command (NAMDC), the U.S. Navy’s lead organization for Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) matters, was part of a tactical disestablishment and consolidation June 30 to better serve the warfighting needs of the surface Navy.
NAMDC is now the Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center Detachment Dahlgren (SMWDCDD), reporting to the newly-established Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) in San Diego, California.
The change is credited to a training need recognized in 2010 by the commander of U.S. Naval Surface Forces Pacific (CNSP), for a single surface warfare cross-fleet organization responsible for theater through tactical level warfare mission areas.
"We are beginning a concerted upgrade in our tactical standards and expertise with the establishment of the Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center; we’ve needed this command for a long time," said Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. "What a great day this is for our surface Navy; I am committed to SMWDC’s success as an essential means of improving our combat readiness".
This summer, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) activated four Warfighting Development Centers to enhance fleet tactical readiness: Expeditionary Warfighting Development Center (EXWDC) in Virginia Beach, Virginia, the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC) in Fallon, Nevada, the Undersea Warfighting Development in Groton, Connecticut, and SWMDC in San Diego -- with detachments in Dahlgren and Little Creek, Virginia.
"This has been a long time coming for our community," said Rear Adm. Jim Kilby, commander of SMWDC. "We’re aligning the surface warfare community through synchronized tactics, doctrine, and training in air warfare, amphibious warfare, ballistic missile defense, mine warfare, surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare. I believe this effort will keep our focus on warfighting first."
Under the new merger, all NAMDC missions, functions, tasks, and personnel billets are transferred to SMWDC with no change to operations. The goal of this consolidation is to mitigate warfare gaps, support the operational commanders and ensure tactical excellence by design.
With the unification underway, SMWDCDD welcomed U. S. Navy Capt. Jim Jones, detachment director (officer in charge), who returned to Dahlgren after tours aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG-67) and at the Pentagon. Jones was previously a part of the establishment of NAMDC in 2009, where he served as the command’s assistant chief of staff for operations and mission support.
"The standup of SMWDC really marks a new focus on improving tactical proficiency within the surface warfare community," said Jones. "A key part is going to be the Warfare Tactics Instructor (WTI) program, mostly due to the synergy of having all these centers of excellence on the base. We’re going to be able to build true IAMD warfighting professionals and [subject matter] experts. I’m excited about the challenges ahead."
Jones noted that the new emphasis on tactical proficiency will be especially important for the surface warfare community’s future leaders.
"Another great change is seeing how we’re focusing on our junior officers and junior personnel," he said. "I think it’s going to help build our pride and professionalism. It was good [before], but now it’s going to be even better."
As a NAMDC plank owner, Jones is confident in the ability of SMWDCDD to carry out its new and vital mission.
"I was gratified to see that many of the folks I worked with previously are still here," he said. "They are recognized experts and really bring a lot to the team. I’ve also been impressed with the new personnel; they bring in new ideas and experiences. I am fortunate to work with this great team again."
SMWDC is the single command responsible for the synchronized-tactical training of the surface warfare community in six mission areas: Amphibious Warfare (AMW), Air Warfare (AW), Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD), Mine Warfare (MIW), Missions of State (MOS), and Surface Warfare (SUW)/ Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW).
Supported by SURFOR, SWMDC will increase the tactical proficiency of the surface warfare community across all mission areas at the individual, unit, integrated and joint levels.
"It’s great for surface warfighters," said Jones. "The maritime threat is evolving and we are evolving our training and readiness to be ready for that threat, today and tomorrow -- where it matters, when it matters."