Surface Warfare Tactics Instructor Selected For Prestigious Award
​​SAN DIEGO (Feb. 6, 2018) Lt. Andrew Blanco, second from right, a Surface Warfare Officer assigned to Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC), poses for a photograph after receiving a Copernicus Award at a ceremony honoring awardees, Feb. 6, 2018. Blanco is dual-qualified as a Surface Warfare Tactics Instructor (WTI) and an E-2 Hawkeye Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI). His assignment at NAWDC is a readiness production tour that allows Surface WTIs to refine and develop their academic training after earning their patch through the Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) in support of driving fleet lethality and tactical proficiency. SMWDC and NAWDC are two of the Navy's five Warfighting Development Centers. (U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Samuel Souvannason/Released)

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Warfare Tactics Instructor (WTI) Lt. Andrew Blanco was honored with the Prestigious Copernicus Award Feb. 6, at AFCEA West 2018.

The name for the award came from the Copernicus Architecture used as the blueprint for the future C4I structure of the Navy. The award is presented annually to Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and civilians who excel in command, control, communications and computers and information technology jobs.

Blanco, a Surface Warfare Officer assigned to a readiness production tour at Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC) in Fallon, Nevada, serves as the surface warfare integration officer. He was selected for the award because he developed tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) and refined air defense and integrated fires communication. His construct allows for aviation and surface operators to integrate surface-to-air missile fires with fixed wing defensive counter air tactics to enhance lethality and survivability.

"It's an honor to be recognized alongside some outstanding service members from around the fleet and other armed services," said Blanco. "As the surface warfare integration officer, my personal goal was to increase the exposure to the key integration concepts that could enhance other surface community initiatives."

Blanco was also a key team member of the team who designed and tested the Integrated Air Defense Course linking together the strike group air defense team to include Aegis, E-2 Hawkeyes, and F/A-18 Super Hornet operators, in a virtual environment. His work ensured command and control lessons were taught to all deploying Carrier Strike Groups (CSGs) increasing the interoperability of the CSG's air defense team and their ability to meet all levels of threat.

Blanco graduated from Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center's (SWMDC) comprehensive Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) WTI program, taught at Dahlgren, Virginia. He also graduated from the E-2 Hawkeye Weapons and Tactics Instructor program, taught at NAWDC. Blanco is one of only a handful of Surface Warfare Officers who are dual-qualified WTIs, and he is the first surface WTI assigned to NAWDC.

WTIs support SMWDC's lines of operation (advanced tactical training, doctrine and tactical guidance refinement, operational support and capability assessments, experimentation and future requirements) through completion of their readiness production tours. Readiness production billets are located at SMWDC headquarters, one of four SMWDC Divisions (Sea Combat, IAMD, Amphibious Warfare, or Mine Warfare), and a variety of training commands such as NAWDC, Undersea Warfighting Development Center, CSGs FOUR and FIFTEEN, Tactical Training Group Pacific and Atlantic, Afloat Training Group, the Center for Surface Combat Systems, and Surface Warfare Officer Schools Command. Equally as important as the support WTIs provide, is the continued professional development afforded by the experiences they have during their readiness production tours.

SMWDC was formally established on June 9, 2015 in recognition of increased competition among adversaries. By investing directly in top talent, advanced tactical training, tools, and tactics, ship captains and Warfare Commanders are best equipped to transform combat potential into maximum combat power.

NAWDC is the center of excellence for naval aviation training and advanced TTP development in integrated strike warfare, at the individual, unit, integrated and joint levels. NAWDC ensures alignment of the training continuum in order to set and enforce combat proficiency standards.

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