SMWDC Mine Warfare Division Certified as Theater Mine Warfare Commander
​SAN DIEGO  (July 13, 2018) Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and Royal New Zealand Navy sailors jump from an MH-53E Sea Dragon, attached to Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 14, as a part of dive operations during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, July 13. Twenty-five nations, 46 ships, five submarines, about 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 27 to Aug. 2 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The worlds largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security of the worlds oceans. RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Curtis D. Spencer)

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet recently certified Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center’s (SMWDC) Mine Warfare Division as the Theater Mine Warfare Commander (MIWC).

“Ensuring sea lines of communication remain open is a vital part of the Navy’s mission in all of our areas of operation,” said Commander, Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center Rear Adm. Dave Welch.

“The capability that our deployable mine warfare battle staff provides is an essential element to the Navy’s support of the National Defense Strategy and our certification affirms that we are ready to fully provide that capability.”

Welch, who also serves as the Navy’s Global Mine Warfare Commander, leads the deployable Mine Warfare Battle Staff, now certified to lead complex mine warfare missions in all numbered fleet areas of operation. The Mine Warfare Battle Staff completed final stages of MIWC certification during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in the Southern California (SOCAL) area of operations earlier in the summer. The biennial certification exercise assesses the staff’s readiness to conduct its global mission. During RIMPAC, Welch served as the RIMPAC MIWC as Commander Task Force (CTF 177).

The MIWC certification exercise brought 26 units and approximately 1,100 personnel representing the United States, Australia, Canada, England, Japan, the Netherlands and New Zealand together under the MIWC. The partner nations conducted advanced mine warfare operations including mine countermeasure operations throughout RIMPAC.

“This is a significant accomplishment for our Mine Warfare Battle Staff, and more importantly, our Navy team,” said Welch. “The RIMPAC exercise was an ideal event for us to challenge our staff in an environment where we are able to practice our capability to rapidly adapt to a dynamic environment in conjunction with our partner nations.”

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. SMWDC headquarters is 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.

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