Introductory Course for New Surface Warfare Officers
By Mark Oswell and Kiersten McCutchan, Naval Surface Forces Staff Writer
San Diego, Calif. – In order to provide stronger professional development for the younger generation of Surface Warfare Officers (SWOs), Naval Surface Forces (SURFOR) commenced an introductory course geared towards polishing, enhancing and building a solid foundation for junior officers Aug. 4.

Nothing is more important than knowing what to expect -- and what is expected of you -- as a young SWO. The ability to know how to prevent injuries at sea, to be able oversee ship maintenance, and to perform in a leadership capacity in many roles are all vital skills for junior officers who have dedicated themselves to the support of combatant commanders worldwide.

“Our people are the most important asset that Naval Surface Forces have,” said Vice. Adm. D.C. Curtis, Commander, Naval Surface Forces. “The course is designed to further empower new officers in their leadership roles and give them the tools necessary to run shipboard divisions, maintain required equipment and lead sailors at sea to prepare them for success.”

The introduction course, with iterations starting in San Diego, Calif; Mayport, Fla.; and Norfolk, Va. offers a SWO-centered curriculum with the overall goal of giving division officers the skills needed to work toward tactical excellence and improve warfighting readiness.

In developing this training, SURFOR -- in its vision of its strategic plan -- re-developed SWO training as a Back-to-Basics approach and self-assessment realignment of the mission and vision for the SURFOR community.

“As we man, train and equip our forces in pursuit of improved warfighting readiness, this course is designed as a building block to provide the competence in junior officers that commanders in the fleet need,” Curtis said. “As the course evolves, we will take a look at the results and processes, and redefine the programs as we need to.”

While attending the course, newly assigned SWOs will train on a ship of the same class to which they are assigned. This training will be followed by classroom attendance to explore subjects including electrical safety, financial management, navigation, damage control and others. The courses taught by Waterfront officers and Chief Petty Officers will focus on scenario-based application with an emphasis on leadership.

“We are re-establishing our great confidence in our junior SWOs,” Curtis said. “While professional seamanship skills are imperative for all Sailors in today’s Navy, our junior waterfront warriors must possess the skills that ready the Navy for the future of warfighting readiness, while ensuring tactical excellence now.”

Naval Surface Forces is dedicated to supporting the warfighter by using collaborative practices that ensure combatant commanders can focus on tactical excellence. The Surface Warfare Enterprise facilitates the work of SURFOR groups, including SWOs, by streamlining requirements and processes and aligning multiple organizations to improve warfighting readiness using the best of maintenance, modernization, logistics, manning and training.
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