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July 3, 2013 / iDriveWarships

Improving Tactical Training in the Surface Community

A Standard Missile-3 Block 1B interceptor missile is launched from the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) during a Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy test in the mid-Pacific.

By Vice Adm. Thomas Copeman, Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet

Professional opportunities for Surface Warfare Officers (SWOs) are growing and expanding in areas that are challenging, interesting and—most importantly—critical to the continuing development of our community.

Two tracks are underway now that offer the Surface Warfare community the ability to focus on improving tactical proficiency. Over the years we have lost critical skills in anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Now, through the Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command (NMAWC), a Weapons Tactics Instructor (WTI) course has been established to reenergize ASW tactics, instruct our Lieutenants and Lieutenant Commanders on refined tactics then send them back to the fleet to teach what they’ve learned.

A second WTI track is standing up at the Navy Air and Missile Defense Command (NAMD) which will include SWOs in much the same manner as the NMAWC courses. Operators will be trained in Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) to defeat current and future air and missile threats. Again, the intent is to return a cadre of newly proficient SWOs to the fleet to brief others in their acquired IAMD expertise.

The concept of intensive focus on refined tactics and follow-on briefing techniques has proven effective since the Vietnam War, where the methods were conceived and implemented by Naval Air Forces with great effect. Engagement losses decreased dramatically and engagement wins improved, which saved lives and changed our strategies. Every service branch now employs a similar schoolhouse approach, and has improved their operations over time.

Naval Surface Forces is intent on sending the best trained Sailors to well-armed ships with tactically proficient leadership. With the NMAWC and NAMD Weapons Tactics Instructor courses we are serious about building on fundamentals of warfighting in the maritime environment. I am personally encouraged by these developments and fully support the effort.

We are a professional community with global presence and a constant demand signal. We need to be ready and capable when our nation calls.

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