“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.