San Diego June 10, 2015 - Naval officers and midshipmen gathered at Naval Base San Diego (NBSD) to celebrate the establishment of the Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) June 9.
The pep rally style ceremony, led by Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Forces, introduced the new advanced tactics and training command to those gathered on the waterfront at Pier 2.
"I've been waiting 33 years for this day; what a great day this is for our surface warfare community," said Rowden. "The establishment of SMWDC signifies a major milestone in how we support CNO's 'Warfighting First' focus; advancing combat capability and warfare competencies of our surface force."
SMWDC will increase the tactical proficiency of the surface fleet by synchronizing multiple warfighting mission areas under a single command - headquarted at NBSD.
"This has been a long time coming for our community," said Rear Adm. Jim Kilby, commander of SMWDC. "We will align the surface warfare community through synchronized tactics, doctrine, and training in air warfare, amphibious warfare, ballistic missile defense, mine warfare, surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare. This is an exciting time to be a surface warfare officer."
SMWDC will also provide advanced tactical training and warfighting tactics, techniques and procedures across mission areas to develop a standard for warfighting tactical excellence.
Akin to a "Top Gun" for surface warfare officers, SMWDC will train junior officers in advanced tactics to become warfare tactics instructors (WTI) in amphibious warfare, anti-submarine warfare/surface warfare, integrated air and missile defense, and mine warfare.
These WTIs will be the tactical subject matter experts for ships and staffs and help their commands by teaching, writing, validating, and revising warfare doctrine.
"It's a different construct for the surface community that is based largely on the naval aviation training and doctrine communities," said Kilby. "NSAWC, which is now the Naval Air Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC) has been very successful for decades. The surface community is the Navy's oldest community yet we need to learn from the aviators' proven model."
"The best place to invest is in our people," said Capt. Frank Olmo, deputy commander of SMWDC. "We're in the initial phase of this new command. Our goal is to produce 110 WTIs per year with an emphasis on quality over quantity" he said. "These WTIs will act as force-multipliers on every ship and tactical training commands [Afloat Training Groups or Tactical Training Groups] to implement the best practices in each warfare area to achieve a single warfighting standard."
Kilby said the select cadre of WTIs will be post second-tour division officers who will go to ships as department heads to supplement senior warfighters with the latest in-depth tactical knowledge.
SMWDC will also reemphasize mission readiness by leading the Surface Warfare Combat Training Continuum (SWCTC) in coordination with the Optimized Fleet Response Plan.
"The SWCTC will encompass individual training, unit-level training and integrated training in the advanced levels of a ship's life-cycle," said Kilby. "We will look at closing gaps and make sure we're growing tactically proficient surface warfare officers."
Kilby elaborated further on SWCTC as an incremental approach to tactical proficiency by linking a ship's underway basic phase to the soon-to-be added Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT). The SWATT insertion is aimed to prepare ships and commanders for advanced tactical readiness prior to their final integrated certification before deployment.
A surface warfare officer for 29 years, Kilby said he was energized by this new opportunity to help unify a future surface force that is ready for the threat - today and tomorrow, where it matters, when it matters.
"I'm excited to be leading this command," said Kilby. "I think it is an awesome opportunity for our community to connect in a way we haven't before; I believe this effort will ensure that we keep our focus on keep warfighting first."