Naval Surface Force Atlantic and SMWDC Commanders Synchronize to Increase Lethality
Rear Adm. Jesse A. Wilson Jr., commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic, left, shakes hands with Rear Adm. Dave Welch, commander, Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC), right, during a visit to SMWDC's headquarters. 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 Lt. Matthew A. Stroup/Released)

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Jesse A. Wilson, Jr., Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic visited Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) to speak with leadership and Sailors about the importance of readiness, warfighting and lethality at Naval Base San Diego, August 20.

SMWDC is the Navy’s surface community’s Warfighting Development Center, and is uniquely situated to provide aligned and synchronized, in port or underway, advanced tactical training to the Surface Fleet in both the U.S. Pacific Fleet and U.S. Fleet Forces area of operations.

Wilson met with Rear. Adm. Dave Welch, commander of SMWDC, the command’s leadership team, and officers who together underwrite SMWDC’s four lines of operation: advanced tactical training (ATT); doctrine and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) development; operation support to the Fleet; and capability assessments, experimentation, and future requirements - Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTI).

During the visit, they discussed bi-coastal Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) exercises, the Surface Warfare Combat Training Continuum (SWCTC), and Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and Mine Countermeasures (MCM) concepts of operations and alignment.

Wilson visited the command not long after the completion of the first East coast Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) exercise, which involved the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Amphibious Ready Group.

Wilson highlighted the importance of that exercise and emphasized how the force must be ready and technically and tactically proficient.

“We must be proficient in high-end warfare and maintain a competitive advantage during this time of great power competition. Under our ‘One Fight, One Navy’ construct, we need to be aligned on both coasts,” said Wilson. “We must be ready for the fight, ready when called upon and prevail when tested,” said Wilson. “SMWDC helps prepare our warfighters to be tactically and technically superior, to be ready Sailors.”

The Kearsarge ARG SWATT exercise provided the units within the ARG the time and space to develop as a cohesive warfighting team. Sailors completed air warfare and live-fire exercises, and engaged simulated torpedo attacks. SMWDC senior mentors and WTIs provided near real-time feedback using replay tools that rapidly improved watch teams’ performance each time they completed advanced training events.

The WTI Program underpins the execution of SMWDC’s ability to provide advanced warfighting capability to the Fleet.

WTIs play a significant role in planning and executing advanced tactical training at SMWDC. To achieve the high-level of tactical proficiency required to become an effective WTI, first prospective WTIs complete an enhanced training course to provide junior officers advanced training in Anti-Submarine/Anti-Surface Warfare (ASW/SUW), Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD), Amphibious Warfare (AMW), and starting in fiscal year 2019, Mine Warfare (MIW). After they complete the course, they fill readiness production tours in key training positions throughout the Fleet, including SMWDC’s headquarters and four divisions. It is in these billets where they refine their skills through the development of advanced tactical training events that have become a key driver of increased surface force warfighting capability.

“The establishment of SMWDC and the development of the other four WDCs was a critically important development in our Navy’s ability to drive warfighting capacity and capability in support of our Fleet Commanders and our national defense,” said Welch. “I expect to see the WTI program grow and flourish in the years to come as we continue to recruit men and women who not only receive high marks, but also have the character, initiative, and intellectual curiosity needed to ensure that the WTI cadre develops a culture that ensures our Navy maintains Sea Control. Fleet response to the product we provide is humbling, and it is important to protect this team for the long game.”

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