San Diego, California - Rear Adm. Scott Robertson, commander of Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC), congratulated the Navy’s 11 newest Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTIs) on Friday, August 23 at a ceremony onboard Naval Base Point Loma, Harbor Drive Annex. The event marked the latest SMWDC Anti-Submarine Warfare / Surface Warfare (ASW/SUW) WTI course’s ending, with each graduate earning the distinctive red-and-black WTI patch.
SMWDC’s WTI program selects top surface warfare officers (SWO) for advanced tactical training in four warfare specialty areas –ASW/SUW, amphibious warfare (AMW), integrated air and missile defense (IAMD), and mine warfare (MIW).
“This is a great week for SMWDC and our Navy,” said Robertson. “Earlier today we welcomed the seven newest amphibious WTIs in a graduation ceremony on the East Coast, and here we are congratulating the newest 11 ASW/SUW WTIs. Our Fleet continues to make strides in our development of critical capability embodied in our WTI cadre, and I’m looking forward to seeing what each of you brings to our Navy team as you start production tours.”
The newly minted ASW/SUW WTIs completed 13-weeks of rigorous classroom instruction, mission planning, and scenarios focused on critical application of the Navy’s most cutting-edge tactics and technologies. The curriculum is designed to develop each element of the WTI “Warrior, Thinker, Teacher” model through an emphasis on tactical simulations, immersion in doctrinal Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs), and the development of instructor skills through threat briefs and Capstone presentations. The curriculum featured lectures from subject-matter experts from across the warfighting communities. SMWDC’s Sea Combat Division staff were the primary instructors, but there were guest lecturers from the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and other training commands.
“Each iteration of the WTI course reflects the latest developments in doctrine, TTP and fleet feedback,” said CDR Jason “Howie” Young, director of SMWDC’s Sea Combat Division. “SMWDC’s involvement in at-sea exercises and testing constantly hones the WTI course of instruction’s relevance to operations underway.”
Upon graduation, most of the newly patched WTIs will commence production tours delivering tactical instruction at commands including the Surface Warfare Officer’s School, and SMWDC. Several graduates will report to ships and staffs immediately, including Lt.j.g. Christopher Brown who completed the course between his first and second division officer tours aboard USS Russell (DDG 59).
"As a JO [junior officer] returning to the fleet, I am excited to get back to my ship and train my watch teams,” said Brown. “I feel prepared and ready to take my ship to the next tactical level. I know that the skills I learned through the WTI course are going to pay dividends on deployment for my entire strike group."
WTIs are a key element of accomplishing SMWDC’s mission: increasing the lethality and tactical proficiency of the Surface Force across all domains. Through a range of operations from updating doctrine and TTP, to providing training ashore and afloat during Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) events and similar exercises, WTIs are shaping doctrine and its implementation in the fleet. SMWDC’s long-term goal is to have at least one WTI onboard every ship as a department head.
“The last 13 weeks were extremely challenging and professionally the most rewarding of my career,” said Lt. Cmdr. Leigh Tate, who will report to SMWDC Headquarters Operations and Training Branch where he will plan SWATT events. “Now I am looking forward to the opportunity to apply the skills I have gained in this course to better the Fleet.”
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 ASW/SUW, MIW, AMW, and IAMD.