NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO -- Adm. Scott Swift, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, met with leaders at Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) headquarters onboard Naval Base San Diego, Feb. 5.
Swift heard from command leadership and Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTIs) during his visit. They highlighted SMWDC’s mission, and its continued investment in surface warfare officer development and fleet readiness.
“Your questions and comments give me great hope and confidence in the future of our Navy,” said Swift to the WTIs. “The strength of our Navy has always been the uninhibited power of the junior officers and the Sailors on the deckplates, and it will be how we’re going to win this fight.”
WTIs are integral to SMWDC’s success, and after earning red-and-black WTI patches in one of three warfighting areas – Sea Combat, Amphibious Warfare (AMW), or Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) – they fill readiness production billets at SMWDC or various training commands throughout the Fleet. After completing their readiness production tours, WTIs are equipped with the requisite skills that are needed to develop tactical mastery. These same skills are also core elements of successful, subsequent assignments at sea - department head, XO, CO, and major command.
A central topic of discussion during Swift’s visit was the importance of being a learning organization. “Learning is everything,” said Swift. “We learn through failure, and to keep learning and growing, we need to be willing to fail in the training so we’re prepared to fight.”
SMWDC’s training focuses on the review of ground truth during exercises, particularly in the three areas of human, system, and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), developing data to analyze performance, and using that truth and data to drive learning within the Surface Fleet.
SMWDC’s advanced tactical training portfolio includes Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT), a combination of classroom, synthetic, and underway training that bridges the basic and integrated training phases. SMWDC also leads and supports additional advanced tactical training programs, exercises, and events such as Live Fire With a Purpose (also known as MISSILEX), Sea Combat Commander and Submarine Command Courses, Ship Anti-Submarine Warfare Readiness and Evaluation Measurement (SHAREM), and the Integrated Air Defense Course (IADC).
Currently there are more than 200 WTIs in the fleet, a vast majority of them filling readiness production billets. One such officer is Lt. Andrew Blanco, a dual-patched WTI currently assigned to Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center where he supports cross-domain integration with the aviation community.
“I came to SMWDC because I wanted to be the best naval officer and warfighter I could be,” said Blanco. “It was an honor for me to share my experience training the warfighters in the fleet with the Pacific Fleet Commander.”
Blanco is one of the recipients of the Navy’s 2018 Copernicus Award. Awardees come from applications that are screened and selected from Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard applicants to include active duty service members and civilians.
SMWDC continues to increase the lethality and tactical proficiency of the Surface Fleet as the Surface Warfare community’s WDC. It is headquartered at Naval Base San Diego with four divisions in Virginia and California focused on Sea Combat, IAMD, AMW, and MIW.