DAHLGREN, VA (NNS) -- Seven Surface Warfare Officers (SWOs) qualified as Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTIs) and joined the growing base of top tacticians in the Surface Fleet during a graduation ceremony at Aegis Training and Readiness Center (ATRC) in Dahlgren, Va., Nov. 26.
The seven newest WTIs join Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center’s (SMWDC’s) cadre of 335 Amphibious Warfare (AMW), Anti-submarine Warfare/Surface Warfare (ASW/SUW), and IAMD WTIs. Next spring the first five Mine Warfare (MIW) WTIs will graduate and join the growing cadre.
After earning qualification, WTIs complete a production tour, where they bring their skills to the Fleet providing advanced tactical training, developing tactics and doctrine, providing operational support, and crafting capability assessments.
Rear Adm. (retired) Jesse Wilson, former commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, was the guest speaker at the ceremony.
“The tactical expertise you are developing has direct implications in today’s strategic operating environment,” said Wilson. “You should be proud of what you have accomplished, but your work isn’t done. This is the start of a career in developing yourselves individually, but more importantly, the teams you train and lead as we forge ahead in an era of great power competition.”
SMWDC, one of five Naval Warfighting Development Centers, was formally established in 2015 to increase the lethality and proficiency of the Surface Force. WTIs are a new generation of expert surface warfare tacticians that are developing Combat Ready Warships and Battle-Minded Crews through SMWDC’s advanced tactical training exercises and returning to the Fleet as force-multipliers for their watch teams.
IAMD Division in Dahlgren, Va., forges top-talent junior SWOs into IAMD WTIs through 15 weeks of rigorous training that includes classroom instruction with ATRC, tactical training, mission planning, and on-site visits with the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC) and various Army and Air Force commands. SMWDC’s WTI program is focused on the Navy’s most cutting-edge tactics and technologies. WTIs each have a specific research “focus area” to start them on the path to becoming a subject matter expert on that particular topic.
Select IAMD WTIs play an important role in the development of Live Fire With a Purpose (LFWAP) events – an enhanced missile exercise program designed to increase Fleet lethality and tactical proficiency. SMWDC plays a supporting role in the execution of the Strike Group-led events as the executive agent (EA) for the LFWAP program for Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces command and Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
The newest graduates – Lt. Adam Levine, Lt. Cmdr. Chris Stolle, Lt. Erin Bacon, Lt. Emily Hutson, Lt. j.g. Jack Taiclet, Lt. Taylor Reck, and Lt. David Mobed – will report to production tours with SMWDC’s IAMD Division, AMW Division located in Little Creek, Va., NAWDC located in Fallon, Nev., Carrier Strike Group 4 located in Norfolk, and aboard pre-commissioning unit (PCU) Daniel Inouye (DDG 118) located in Bath, Maine.
Warfare Commanders, Commanding Officers, and leaders throughout the Fleet are highly encouraged to identify top talent to enter the WTI program. Commanding Officers who wish to leverage WTI training for their top talent, and keep them aboard their ship for a follow-on tour, should review the Accelerated Warfare or Division Officer Sequencing Plan programs available through SMWDC.
Leaders interested in further development of the tactical proficiency of their commands should contact SMWDC’s WTI Program Managers directly at SWO_WTI@Navy.mil for more information.
SMWDC is a subordinate command of Commander, U.S. Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet and is headquartered at Naval Base San Diego, with four divisions in Virginia and California focused on IAMD, ASW/SUW, AMW and MIW.
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