SAN DIEGO (NNS) – On behalf of Commander, Naval Surface Forces, Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) sponsored a Surface Training and Readiness (STAR) Tactical Advancements for the Next Generation (TANG) Design Workshop onboard Naval Air Station North Island, March 19-22.
The event brought together more than 150 surface Navy training stakeholders and waterfront Sailors as well as key representatives from warfare communities, academia, and industry to generate ideas and concepts that can be used to improve surface force tactical training and readiness. The effort was centered on refining and expanding the existing framework for generating and sustaining individual, team and unit tactical training with emphasis on performance measurement, individual qualification processes as well as currency and experience tracking.
“Our DoD and Navy leadership have been very clear about the imperative to be more competitive in a dynamic security environment where the only constant is change,” said Rear Adm. John Wade, commander of SMWDC. “The TANG Applied Design process has been used by other communities across the Navy to work through complex challenges, and it is one of the many tools we’ve decided to use to ideate solutions that can be implemented in the Fleet to increase lethality and tactical proficiency of the Surface Force. I’m encouraged and proud of the commitment made by the many people who took time away from their day-to-day responsibilities to support this critical event.”
The TANG effort will inform the Navy surface training enterprise with actionable ideas that will provide a more reliable and predictable path for conducting individual, team and unit training and understanding readiness. “Surface training and readiness is a broad topic encompassing many complex factors – from maintenance cycles and manning to curriculum management, data science, performance analysis, and individual and team dynamics – as well as many other factors. Each element of the training ecosystem relates to and affects the others, so it’s very important we come together collectively with fleet Sailors and training community stakeholders to work up new solutions,” said Cmdr. Jeff Heames, the training and operations officer at SMWDC.
The STAR TANG was the 13th TANG completed by the Navy since 2011. Numerous design concepts developed through TANG workshops have been prototyped, tested, and delivered to the Fleet with significant success. As preparation for the STAR TANG, SMWDC representatives conducted Fleet Concentration area site visits to meet with Sailors and training commands to solicit their concerns and perspectives. The team also gained insights through industry visits in areas with analogous challenges to identify potential opportunity areas.
“The TANG Workshop is an opportunity to take on tough training issues using a design process that has been used by other Navy commands to create tangible results,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chris Polnaszek, a Warfare Tactics Instructor assigned to SMWDC and the command’s STAR TANG planning lead.
During the TANG workshop, participants split into working groups to brainstorm, refine ideas, and use creative tools and exercises to challenge their thinking and expand their ideas. The process allows participants to think through current challenges from different perspectives to craft potential solutions in a team environment. Teams use creative props, storyboards, and other methods to present their ideas to the large group of participants for feedback and then iterate rapidly to refine their ideas. The concepts developed during the STAR TANG, as well as the themes and insights that emerged through the sharing process, will be evaluated as candidates for pilot programs and prototypes based on feasibility and impact.
A single Design Workshop usually produces 20 or more concepts for future prototyping and development for potential implementation in the Fleet. The concept designs produced at the STAR TANG Design Workshop will be presented to SMWDC in late spring or early summer 2018 for review.
SMWDC is the Surface Warfare community’s Warfighting Development Center and 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.