More than seventy Anti-Submarine/Surface Warfare (ASW/SUW) Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTI) participated in the first ASW/SUW WTI Re-Blue here, May 22-24. Re-Blue events are an investment in WTI career professional development and bring together WTIs of each type - ASW/SUW, Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD), or Amphibious Warfare (AMW) - to exchange lessons learned and doctrine and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) updates from the Fleet, and to build esprit de corps within the cadre.
“The WTI program is a long-term investment in the lethality and warfighting capability of the Surface Fleet,” said Rear Adm. Dave Welch, commander of Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC). “The initial return on investment of the program is high, and the compounding effects of WTI cadre development over time will maintain our warfighting edge against our adversaries.”
The impact on the Fleet extends beyond the group as WTIs, as they drive SMWDC-led advanced tactical training events, review and update of doctrine and TTP, direct operational support to the Fleet, and experimentation, analysis, and future requirements development.
For example, lead planners for Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) exercises – the link between the basic and integrated phase of training – are senior WTIs. Further, WTIs provide over-the-shoulder training and mentoring during SWATT exercises to individuals and watch teams to include practical application of the Plan, Brief, Execute, and Debrief (PBED) method of learning to rapidly increase watch team competence and confidence.
"The CDS-21 [Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21] staff is grateful to all participants in the successful execution of the training objectives and tactical development efforts set by SMWDC in preparation for overseas deployments,” said Capt. Murzban Morris, commodore, DESRON 21 after a recent SWATT exercise. “The SWATT event is a critical piece in developing the operational and tactical capability of the DESRON and association ships prior to Group Sail and Carrier Strike Group operations.”
During the ASW/SUW Re-Blue event, WTIs also reaffirmed their proficiency in threat-centric planning, and the use of updated tools available to the Fleet. Beyond the classroom, the ASW/SUW WTI cadre was charged to deliver their updated and refreshed skills to the waterfront through face-to-face interaction with shipboard teams, and to find the next crop of junior officer talent for the WTI program.
"The purpose of the WTI program is to train junior officers at a high level so they can return to the fleet and be exceptional warfighters who improve the capability of our warships to fight and win," said Cmdr. Jason Young, training officer at SMWDC’s Sea Combat Division. “A WTI's responsibility doesn't end when they get their patch. That's just the beginning!"
Surface Fleet leaders at all levels and in any Fleet Concentration area interested in ship visits from senior SMWDC staff and WTIs can email the WTI Program Managers at SWO_WTI@Navy.mil to arrange a visit. Ship visits include a discussion of how SMWDC provides support to ships at both an individual and enterprise level, and how junior officers are playing a significant role in that effort.
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. It is headquartered at Naval Base San Diego with four divisions in Virginia and California focused on Sea Combat, Integrated Air and Missile Defense, Amphibious Warfare, and Mine Warfare.