Deputy Commander Naval Surface Force US Pacific Fleet Recognizes Fleets Newest WTI Patch-Wearers
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​NAVAL SUPPORT FACILITY DAHLGREN (May 11, 2018) Rear Adm. John Mustin, deputy commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, left, poses for a photograph with Lt. Christin Sagui after presenting her with the course Honor Graduate award during an Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Warfare Tactics Instructor (WTI) graduation ceremony where Sagui and seven other WTIs earned distinctive WTI patches. Sagui was also recognized with the the Edward W. Gohring Best Instructor Award. SMWDC is one of the Navy's five Warfighting Development Centers and its mission is to increase the lethality and tactical proficiency of the Surface Force across all domains. (U.S. Navy photo by Michael Bova/Released)
​NAVAL SUPPORT FACILITY DAHLGREN – Rear Adm. John B. Mustin, deputy commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, recognized the Surface Fleet’s eight newest Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTIs) during a graduation ceremony onboard Naval Support Facility Dahlgren, May 11. 

The graduation ceremony marked the completion of a rigorous 17-week course of instruction through the Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center’s (SMWDC) Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Division.

“I am proud to be here with you today to welcome you to the Fleet as our newest Warfare Tactics Instructors," said Mustin. "SMWDC delivers the Navy, and particularly our Fleet commanders, a high-demand, low-density resource pool of afloat tactical excellence. You represent another step in the right direction as we institute a culture in our Surface Force that contributes to a lethal, ready, and capable fleet aligned with our National Defense Strategy."

Upon graduation, most newly patched WTIs will begin readiness production tours where they will provide advanced tactical training, develop doctrine and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP), conduct capabilities assessments, analysis, and requirements, or provide operational support to the Fleet in billets around the Navy that leverage their unique skill sets. Depending on timing, other graduates receive immediate assignments aboard ships and afloat staffs, including some who complete the course between first and second division officer tours.

SMWDC stood up in 2015 as the Navy’s surface community’s Warfighting Development Center to increase the lethality and tactical proficiency of the Surface Fleet across all domains, in response to emerging and evolving near-peer threats. The WTI program is foundational to SMWDC's efforts, and it is developing a new generation of expert surface warfare tacticians who are returning to the fleet as force-multipliers for unit watch teams.

SMWDC's IAMD Division’s instructors focus their efforts on delivering training on the highest levels of innovative tactics and technology to the surface community’s top junior-officer talent. Divisional staff planners develop and deliver the WTI course of instruction including classroom instruction, immersion into TTPs, mission planning, tactical simulations, an emphasis on and the Plan, Brief, Execute, and Debrief (PBED) process, instructor skills, and personnel exchanges with the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC) and various Army and Air Force commands. During the course, WTI candidates also select areas of independent study to begin a path of continuous learning in that area through the course of their careers.

"The WTI program is directly effecting an increase in lethality and tactical proficiency of the Surface Fleet”, said Lt. Cmdr. Eric Duffield, SMWDC IAMD Division WTI Program Manager. “The officers who have just completed this challenging curriculum are joining a cadre who make a difference every single day."

Three WTIs from the graduating class earned special recognition as the Honor Graduate, Top Tactician, the Edward W. Gohring Best Instructor Award recipient, and the Adm. Arleigh Burke Award recipient. Awardees were:
Honor Graduate: Lt. Christin Sagui
Top Tactician: Lt. Aaron Van Driessche
Edward W. Gohring Best Instructor Award: Lt. Christin Sagui
Adm. Arleigh Burke Award: Lt. Cmdr. Kristofer Tester

The Honor Graduate is the WTI candidate with the highest academic average at the end of the course. The Top Tactician is the WTI candidate that best represents the qualities expected of an IAMD WTI – hard work, professionalism, respect, balance, composure, highest level of knowledge, inspiring confidence, and a fascination with warfighting – as designated by instructors and staff. The Edward W. Gohring Award is named for the late executive director of the Center for Surface Combat Systems. The award recipient is the WTI candidate who completes the IAMD WTI curriculum with the highest overall instructional standards, and best represents the presentation skills expected of an IAMD WTI – a forceful, tactful, credible, motivating, and passionate communicator. Lastly, the Adm. Arleigh Burke Award is given to the IAMD WTI candidate chosen by a private ballot of his or her peers for superior leadership, industry, and perseverance.

SMWDC is a subordinate command of Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet and exists to increase the lethality and tactical proficiency of the Surface Force across all domains. The command’s headquarters is located in San Diego, with four divisions in Virginia, and California focused on Amphibious Warfare, Anti-Submarine Warfare/ Surface Warfare, Mine Warfare, and IAMD.
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