By Naval Surface Warfighting Development Center Public Affairs
The surface warfare Navy is going on the offensive with the upcoming establishment of the Naval Surface Warfighting Development Center (NSWDC). The future advanced tactics and training command aims to build tactical excellence by design by purposely investing in a small cadre of junior officers to become specialized Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTI).
These WTIs (witty) are expected at a junior level to increase the tactical proficiency of their ships and squadrons, and systematically institutionalize the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) ’ top priority: Warfighting first.
NSWDC’s training and readiness officer visited Forward Deployed Naval Force (FDNF) ships and officers in Yokosuka, Japan, Feb. 12-13, to spread the tactical gospel of becoming a WTI.
“I’m responsible for developing the WTI program from scratch; WTIs are junior officers that are provided advanced tactical training and education, said Capt. Darren McPherson, training and readiness officer of NSWDC. “Those officers will go on to production tours [post second tour division officer shore duty] where they will go to a training command and train the surface fleet in advanced tactics. In fact, we already have two WTIs on our staff making a difference.”
NSWDC has graduated three WTIs courses since Fall 2013, with graduates becoming the subject matter experts (SME) in subsequent billets on staffs and training commands: Afloat Training Groups (ATG), Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) and NSWDC’s prospective flag headquarters.
“We have three WTI mission areas at varying levels of maturity,” said McPherson. “The most mature is the Integrated Air and Missile WTI course which is currently held at the Naval Air and Missile Defense Command (NAMDC) in Dahlgren, Virginia. It is a 19-week course that trains junior Surface Warfare Officers (SWO) to be experts in IAMD,” he explained. “Our other two mission area WTI courses currently under development are Amphibious (AMW) WTIs and Anti-Submarine/Surface Warfare (ASW/SUW) WTIs which we expect to be actualized sometime in 2016.”
From ship visits to Japan, San Diego, and Virginia, staff members of the forthcoming NSWDC have been on a missionary campaign to recruit only the most tactically hungry junior SWOs.McPherson aims to recruit SWOs who are passionate about tactics and Warfighting with an emphasis on quality over quantity. Prospective WTIs will also require endorsement from their commanding officers.
“It is exciting: the idea of being this super WTI, said Lt. j.g. Mor Rosenberg, anti-submarine warfare officer on board USS McCampbell (DDG 85). “ The idea of becoming this super SME,to really be the person in charge of the warfare domain on my ship is thrilling.”
Senior officers in the Seventh Fleet area of responsibility also support the forthcoming effort to have a sole command responsible for building tactical SMEs who will personify the CNO’s top three priorities: Operating Forward, Being Ready and Warfighting First.
“I’m a huge fan of NSWDC and I’m a fan of WTIs,” said Rear Adm. John Alexander,commander of Battle Force Seventh Fleet. “We want our SWOs to be good mariners, to be good leaders, but most of all–we want them to be good warfighters and having a command that focuses on Warfighting, that is what NSWDC is about. We have one focus and it is no longer left to chance; we do it deliberately, and with an end in sight.”
From lieutenants to admirals, many candidly showed their support for NSWDC during McPherson’s visit.“This is a monumental cultural change for our community,” said Capt. Shan Byrne, commodore of Destroyer Squadron 15. “I wish NSWDC and the WTI program was around when I was a young Ensign.”
“I’m excited that this effort is happening during my generation,” said Rosenberg, a 2012 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. “I love the idea of elevating tactically at my individual level, and that’s what really excites me about being a SWO: to be able to employ tactics and Warfighting – to talk about it, teach it and discuss it,” she continued. “The idea of standing-up NSWDC is fantastic and I’m excited for the possibility of being apart of it as a WTI. It will help me benefit my ship and benefit the Navy.”
NSWDC will be headquarted in San Diego and commanded by Rear Adm. James Kilby and Deputy Commander, Capt. Frank Olmo. The specifics on upcoming facilities, establishment and school-house locations have not been finalized.
For more information on the forthcoming Naval Surface Warfare Development Center and
Warfare Tactics Instructors, contact the staff’s IAMD WTI, Lt. Cmdr. Matt Cox at 619.437.2856