8/11/2015
 
We Want You!
SMWDC Boss Calls Hawaii-Based Cruiser SWOs to Action

Rear Adm. James Kilby
150810-N-IU636-055 PEARL HARBOR (August 10, 2015) Rear Adm. James Kilby, commander, Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC), speaks with junior surface warfare officers during a ship tour and professional mentorship wardroom call aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. During the wardroom call, Kilby spoke to the junior officers about the new generation of surface warfare tactical experts known as warfare tactics instructors (WTIs), and how they work to enhance mission critical skill sets in such warfare areas as amphibious operations, integrated air and missile defense, or a combination of anti-submarine and surface warfare. SMWDC headquarters was formally established June 2015 at Naval Base San Diego and is responsible for increasing the tactical proficiency of individual surface warfare communities through the creation of warfare doctrine, underway assessment exercises and Warfare Tactics Instructors. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Johans Chavarro/Released)

PEARL HARBOR - Junior surface warfare officers (SWO) stationed aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) were visited by Rear Adm. James "Jim" Kilby, commander, Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC), at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Aug. 10.

The new SWO “Top Gun” commander hosted a professional mentorship call to introduce SMWDC and the career opportunities it presents to SWOs after their second division officer tour as a new generation of SWO tactical experts called warfare tactics instructors (WTI).

“WTIs are junior SWOs that receive comprehensive education in advanced tactics and training,” said Kilby. “These officers will act as force multipliers for their ships and staffs. They are passionate about tactics and they’ve shown an affinity throughout their career to become tactical subject matter experts (SME) in specific warfare areas: amphibious warfare (AMW), integrated air and missile defense (IAMD), surface warfare/anti-submarine warfare (SUW/ASW) and mine warfare (MIW).”

This summer, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) activated four Warfighting Development Centers to enhance fleet tactical readiness: the Expeditionary Warfighting Development Center (EXWDC) in Virginia Beach, Va., the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC) in Fallon, Nev., the Undersea Warfighting Development in Groton, Conn., and SWMDC in San Diego -- with detachments in Dahlgren and Little Creek, Va.

“We have set up a 19-week WTI schoolhouse for IAMD in Dahlgren along with forthcoming classes next year in SUW/ASW in San Diego and AMW in Little Creek,” said Kilby. “I want to produce tactical thinkers, instructors, -- a peer who can teach the tactics to his wardroom and watch team.”

 

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SMWDC’s goal is to produce 110 WTIs per year with one WTI attached to each surface ship and staff (Center for Surface Combat Systems, Afloat Training Groups, etc) to ensure a single training standard for the surface fleet.

Junior officers aboard JPJ said having the rear admiral come on board ignited their interest in the WTI program, primarily because the career trajectory allows opportunity for growth, specialization and appreciation.

“Do I see myself pursuing the path of a WTI? Right now, where I am in my career, I would say, yes,” said Ensign Elee Wakim, main propulsion officer (MPO) aboard JPJ. “It offers the opportunity for me to specialize, learn and grow in a specific warfare area. It allows me to leave my imprint and really have ownership of something in my career. It’s an exciting opportunity and it’s one I think I’ll pursue.”

Lt. j.g. Alexander Roman, anti-submarine warfare officer (ASWO) for JPJ, agreed with Wakim.

“Would I sign up to be a WTI? Of course, without a doubt,” said Roman. “This is an exciting time to be a SWO; being a better warfighter is what I signed up to do. WTI is the future of the [surface] Navy. Being able to teach tactics, being able to understand the tactics and being able to tactically employ the weapon systems, and build up the proficiency of the wardroom, wherever you go [as a WTI] in the Navy, is the way that it should be.”

Dating back to summer 2014, Kilby and his SMWDC staff have been on a ship-to-ship campaign seeking the most tactically passionate junior SWOs to prospectively become WTIs. His visit to the JPJ marked his 55th ship visit spanning from San Diego, Virginia, Japan and now Hawaii.

“When you take time out of your day to go to the ship and address them, that’s a definite overt signal; it’s a visible tangible signal that we are serious about this program,” said Kilby. “The JPJ is unique; she’s the test ship for the Missile Defense Agency in the Navy. Those officers are on the tactical cutting edge of our Navy and I definitely want to pull that experience and leverage it as we move forward into this program.”

In the end, Kilby said the WTI program is a long-term investment opportunity, one that builds a more robust surface Navy, with more tactically proficient leaders as they gain subject matter expertise at more junior levels.

“The best investment is in our people; we’re investing in our youth and building that expertise at a much more junior level,” said Kilby. “We will see over time, that those officers will stay in and feel valued, and become great commanding officers, destroyer squadron commanders or amphibious commanders in the future.”

SMWDC headquarters was formally established June 2015 at Naval Base San Diego and is responsible for increasing the tactical proficiency of individual surface warfare communities through the creation of warfare doctrine, underway assessment exercises and Warfare Tactics Instructors.

For more information on SMWDC and WTI email SWO_WTI@navy.mil Surface Warfare Magazine

 
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