Rear Adm. Dave Welch, commander, Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC), welcomed the eight newest Anti-Submarine Warfare/ Surface Warfare (ASW/SUW) Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTIs) Dec. 7, into the elite cadre of surface warfare officers (SWOs) who are increasing the lethality of the Surface Fleet.
The graduation of eight more ASW/SUW WTIs is reflective of the Fleet’s demand signal for capable and confident junior officers who are trained in advanced tactics.
“Seventy-seven years ago today the United States was hurled into World War II after a surprise attack on the Surface Fleet at Pearl Harbor,” said Welch. “Now as a WTI-patch wearing surface warfare tactician, I challenge you to continue advancing your warfighting expertise and apply your skills towards keeping our Surface Fleet the most capable, lethal and ready combat force in the world.”
Graduates of SMWDC’s four WTI courses of instruction - ASW/SUW, Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD), Amphibious Warfare (AMW), and Mine Warfare (MIW) – wear a distinctive WTI patch on their uniforms, identifying themselves as expert tacticians who have learned the latest advanced warfighting tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs).
“The curriculum was very challenging, but I’m glad I did it,” said Lt. Dennis Hooks, Class 0718’s Honor Graduate. “As a division officer, it’s difficult to find time to study tactics since you have to wear so many different hats on the ship. In the WTI course, I had a singular focus; learn and get better at tactics. The knowledge I gained has made me a better officer and I know I can use these new skills to help enhance fleet lethality.”
ASW/SUW WTI candidates complete 14 weeks of rigorous classroom instruction designed to develop WTIs who are part warrior, thinker, and teacher. WTI training includes emphasis on tactical simulations, immersion in 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 Naval Undersea Warfare Center.
Upon graduation, the majority of the new WTIs will begin readiness production tours where they will provide advanced tactical training, develop doctrine and tactics, 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. Some WTI graduates will return directly to the Fleet, like Lt. j.g. Bryan Diebag, who will return to USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55).
“I’m excited to head back to the mighty Leyte Gulf,” said Diebag. “This course has taught me so much and I feel very well prepared to take on my next tour. I recommend division officers apply to become an ASW/SUW WTI, you will not regret it.”
SMWDC is a subordinate command of Commander U.S. Naval Surface Forces, and is headquartered at Naval Base San Diego with four divisions in Virginia and California focused on IAMD, ASW/SUW, MIW, and AMW. To date, 268 qualified WTIs have joined the ranks of junior officers steeped in tactical training and expertise, providing an enabling warfighting force for commanders throughout the Fleet.