Rear Adm. Jim W. Kilby, commander, Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC), visited USS New York (LPD 21) to introduce a new career path for tactically-hungry junior Surface Warfare Officers (SWO), November 18.
Kilby presented the newly-launched Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTI) program; a career path that is designed to increase the warfighting proficiency of the surface fleet. The WTI (pronounced witty) path provides graduate-level tactics and training to SWOs, who will subsequently serve as force multipliers to units and staffs in the fleet.
During the brief, Kilby emphasized the benefits that the WTI program provides. He encouraged New York’s junior officers to consider this new opportunity – an opportunity that would equip them to become better surface warfighters.
“Officers that become WTIs are passionate about tactics; they’re going to excel,” said Kilby.
Modeled after the success of the Naval Air Warfare Development Center (Top Gun) in Fallon, Nev., SMWDC will train a select cadre of SWOs to become specialized next-generation warriors. According to Kilby, those SWOs who desire to become a WTI must meet specific prerequisites: be endorsed by their commanding officer, be screened and selected by him and his staff, and finally – graduate from a school of extensive tactical training in a chosen warfare area.
There are three rigorous WTI courses. And all three, emphasize germane warfare areas of expertise -- which includes a 19-week course in integrated air and missile defense (IAMD), a 15-week course in anti-submarine and surface warfare (ASW/SUW), and a 12-15-week course in amphibious warfare (AMW).
The WTI program caught the attention of many of New York’s top SWOs. “I am very interested in this new program,” said Ensign Vincent Larocca. “I believe it is necessary to build the tactical expertise throughout the fleet; it’s also appealing to acquire specialized training in surface warfare proficiency.”
SMWDC has a graduated 43 WTIs to date, and 12 more are set to graduate the program in December 2015. SMWDC’s goal is to produce 110 WTIs a year with the plan to embark one WTI on every surface ship in the fleet in the near future.
“I do believe this training will make junior officers more effective in any job they do in the Navy,” said Kilby. “This experience will improve the performance of SWOs, and make them better tacticians, allowing them to train their ship and watch teams more effectively.”
Kilby’s visit to New York marked SMWDC’s 70th ship visit introducing the new command and the WTI program.
SMWDC was formally established June 2015 at Naval Base San Diego, and is responsible for increasing the tactical readiness of individual surface warfare communities through the creation of warfare doctrine, underway assessment exercises and WTIs.
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