SMWDC Commander Engages with SWOS Students, Staff Naval Education and Training Command

NEWPORT, R.I. -- Rear Adm. Dave Welch, commander, Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC), visited Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) Command, Aug. 8.

"The training and development of naval officers is a top priority within the surface fleet,” said Welch, a former SWOS commanding officer. “At SMWDC, we actively seek top talent to build the cadre of Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTI) who positively impact the fleet’s lethality and tactical proficiency. Our ability to do that is tied directly to the foundational and ongoing development of competent and confident naval officers at SWOS.”

Welch spoke with students attending advanced division officer, department head, executive officer and commanding officer courses, about the importance of continuing personal and professional development in the naval service.

“It was an honor to have Admiral Welch visit the command,” said SWOS Commanding Officer Capt. Scott Robertson. “I had the opportunity to speak with him about the urgent needs within the surface community and what we’re doing here to ensure we are developing leaders that deliver top warfighting capabilities to our fleet commanders.”

Welch also met with WTIs currently assigned to readiness production billets at SWOS to highlight their importance in developing leaders and warfighters.


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“I appreciated Admiral Welch coming out to show us the latest news from SMWDC, especially how they are continuing to develop the WTI cadre and increase their ability to provide tactical expertise to the fleet,” said Lt. Katherine Hinkle, a WTI and SWOS department head student. “I appreciated that he took the time to sit down with the staff and student WTIs, answered our questions, and solicited feedback from us on potential improvements to the WTI process.”​​​

WTIs are trained to be tactically astute and lethal warfighters in one of three warfighting areas – amphibious warfare, anti-submarine warfare/surface warfare, and integrated air & missile defense.  SMWDC is also developing a mine warfare WTI program that will begin in mid-2019.

While the scope of SWOS’ mission to ready seabound warriors to serve on surface combatants as officers, enlisted engineers, and enlisted navigation professionals may vary from that of SMWDC, the two commands do converge and complement one another.

One example is Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) exercises. SMWDC WTIs and senior mentors embark surface ships during these exercises to provide advanced tactical training that prepares ships to work together before joining other strike group elements.

“The SMWDC WTIs and senior mentors underway for SWATT exercises are focused on advanced tactical training,” said Welch. “As top professionals, however, they also provide guidance on more basic level seamanship and navigation skills if and when deficiencies arise.”

SMWDC, established in 2015 as one of five warfighting development centers, is a subordinate command of Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and increases the lethality and tactical proficiency of the surface force across all domains. Surface Warfare Magazine

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