Fleet feedback has been very positive for both of these courses, and we have already reached the point where every ADOC student is a BDOC product. This trend will continue and in approximately three to four years, every Department Head School student will be a BDOC and ADOC graduate. With a solid foundation now in place, the Surface community is better postured to develop an Officer Corps which possesses more technical and increased tactical proficiency as they return to SWOS for the Department Head Course and ultimately return to sea in pivotal roles as Department Heads. SWOS must be prepared with a revised and improved Department Head curriculum to match this trend. SWOS will take advantage of Warfighting Tactics Instructors (WTIs) filling “production billets” at SWOS and will maximize post Commander Command talent assigned to SWOS to ensure wholeness and relevance of material within each warfare domain. In the next few years we plan to introduce a nuanced shift in our approach to training officers, and a greater understanding of foundational material will be expected of individual students. In other words, the SWOS department head course and command courses will provide more assigned reading and will assume an increased level of understanding of Navy instructions, capabilities and limitations. The course itself will increase in complexity with a drive to a long term goal of producing officers at the command level who have mastered SWO core competencies: warfighters, tacticians, leaders, ship-drivers, and material readiness and personnel managers.
This comprehensive training continuum has been built with the end-state goal in mind of elevating our community’s warfighting capability through advanced tactical thought and execution using the latest technology and the most qualified instructors in the schoolhouse. We must produce commanding officers who are wholly grounded in advanced warfighting and tactics; this represents a return to our roots, with the CO as the ship’s number one warfighter. Raising the bar, particularly at the junior levels, has forced SWOS to re-evaluate how we train at mid-grade and senior levels in order to improve upon the skills that our current junior officers have developed. As we move forward, we must retain an agile, innovative and relevant training organization, that relies upon improved, detailed curriculum and learning initiatives that produces competent warfighters. This requires SWOS to evolve the current curriculum, support a wide array of individual learning strategies, and better utilize specific and targeted application of technology.
Short term improvements include infusing elements of cyber security across the training continuum as well as developing and leveraging curriculum in support of the Planning and Tactics Officer. As a community, we must build shipboard Subject Matter Experts on the Navy’s Operational Planning Process, and must weave the principles of Plan-Brief-Execute-Debrief (PBED) into every aspect of formal training. This will enable ships to have a mature deliberate planning process and solid tactical training program.
We must continue to strive for the right balance of learning strategies. Today the preponderance officer curriculums are instructor-led training. While this training has its place, we realize that it is only one way that an individual learns. SWOS continues to shift towards a blended solution that combines required reading, computer based training, instructor lead training, specific and targeted application of intelligent tutoring systems, practical exercises, facilitated discussions, high-fidelity physics based simulations, practical assessments and examinations. Our goal is to provide a learning environment that supports a myriad of individual learning strategies that builds and then maintains a relevant foundation of SWO warfighting excellence.
Training and education must continue to evolve to ensure they provide relevant material, prepare officers for the challenging assignments afloat, and maintain the core competencies of our community. A center piece of distributed lethality requires that we shift away from the decades old SWO paradigm of purely defensive operations. In order to act offensively, we must have a solid educational foundation that enables all SWOs to not just understand tactics and doctrine, but to be able to plan effectively and think tactically.