Rear Adm. Yvette M. Davids, Senior Military Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, welcomed the 11 newly qualified Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTIs) to the Fleet onboard Naval Base San Diego, May 3.
The event was a sign of the growing capacity and capability WTIs provide to the Surface Fleet, and reflective of the Fleet’s demand signal for capable and confident junior officers who are trained in advanced tactics. Graduates of one of Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center’s (SMWDC) three WTI courses of instruction - Anti-Submarine Warfare/ Surface Warfare (ASW/SUW), Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD), and Amphibious Warfare (AMW) – qualify to wear distinctive WTI patches on their uniforms.
"I am honored to be here with you today as you mark a significant milestone in your personal professional development," said Davids, a career surface warfare officer. "But as you know, today isn't a finish line, but rather a starting block for you to sprint out from as you the begin to do important work our Navy, and the nation, needs to have done. I challenge you to learn faster than our adversaries. You must maintain the WTI ethos, stay humble, and take joy and pride in the success of those you mentor and teach."
The WTIs completed 14 weeks of rigorous classroom instruction focused on application of the Navy’s most innovative tactics and technologies. The curriculum was designed to develop WTIs who are part Warrior, Thinker, and Teacher. WTI training includes emphasis on tactical simulations, immersion in Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs) and instructor skills. The ASW/SUW WTI curriculum is a collaborative effort led by SMWDC’s Sea Combat Division and subject matter experts who traveled from multiple commands including Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center, the Office of Naval Intelligence, and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.
"This was a great cohort of WTI candidates, and I'm excited to see what they will do in their readiness production tours and beyond," said Capt. Dwayne "Duke" Ducommon, director SMWDC Sea Combat division director. "Each day I see the important work that our WTI's do throughout the Fleet, and the steady, important cultural changes that they are enabling. They represent a bright future for the Surface Warfare community."
Upon graduation, the majority of 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 one who completed the course between his first and second division officer tours.
“I am excited to return to the fleet this summer as an ASW/SUW WTI to help develop the tactical proficiency of USS Porter (DDG 78) Sailors and throughout the Rota waterfront,” said Lt. j.g. Matthew Heimer, Porter’s Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer and recipient of the Arleigh Burke award from the class. “I am humbled that my command recommended and supported me through this program and I want to give back and make a difference during our upcoming Forward Deployed Naval Forces patrols and exercises. I hope to have a lasting impact and empower sailors with the confidence, competence, and tactical tools they need to succeed in any contested environment.”
To date, over 230 qualified WTIs have joined the ranks of junior officers steeped in tactical training and expertise, providing an enabling force for commanders throughout the Fleet.
“I like to think that when I tap into the support of one WTI, I’m getting the support of 233 of the top tacticians in the Fleet,” said Davids.
SMWDC is a subordinate command of Commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet and exists to increase the lethality and tactical proficiency of the Surface Force across all domains.