SMWDC celebrates 5th anniversary, rapidly increasing surface force lethality

10 June 2020

From Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center

The Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center increases the lethality and tactical proficiency of the surface force across all domains.

SAN DIEGO - Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) paused to celebrate the command’s fifth birthday, June 9, and reflected on the many milestones and achievements completed since standing up the command in 2015.

SMWDC was established with a small staff that came from Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, into its current form, with a headquarters and four divisions, located in California and Virginia, focused on anti-submarine warfare/surface warfare (ASW/SUW), mine warfare (MIW), integrated air and missile defense (IAMD), and amphibious warfare (AMW).

“SMWDC has produced nearly 400 WTIs to date and we are continuing to recruit exceptionally talented junior officers into one of four existing warfare programs,” said Rear Adm. Scott Robertson, commander of SMWDC. “The continued increase in our surface force lethality is directly tied to consistent recruitment and subsequent mentoring of sharp officers into the WTI program. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize the support of mission enablers – operators, logisticians, administrative staff, active duty, reserve, civilians and contractors – doing the heavy lifting day in and day out here at SMWDC to constantly increase not only surface force lethality, but to also build a cohesive and innovative team.”

SMWDC accomplishes its four lines of effort – advanced tactical training; doctrine and tactical guidance development; operational support; and capability assessments, experimentation, and future requirements – by leveraging Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTIs) and support staff to increase the lethality and tactical proficiency of the surface force across all domains.

Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) is the surface forces’ premiere warfighting exercise. In the lead up to SWATT, warships complete SMWDC-led advanced tactical training such as Advanced Mine Countermeasure (MCM) Evaluator Course, Air Missile Defender Course, Force Air Defense Commander Course, and Sea Combat Commander Course in preparation for certification and deployment.

“Through hard work, innovation, and thoughtful approach, SMWDC has grown and continues to mature into the organization that will continue to drive Fleet lethality, readiness and confidence,” said Robertson. “Back in the command’s earliest days, our executive director was the deputy commander – then Capt. Frank Olmo - working alongside Rear Adm. James Kilby, and they crafted policies, developed strategic plans, and set our vision into motion. That original vision has paved the way for where we are today and where we continue to go in the future.”

SMWDC is one of five Navy warfighting development centers (WDCs) – Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC), Naval Undersea Warfighting Development Center, Naval Expeditionary Warfare Development Center, and Naval Information Warfighting Development Center - stood up when the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Johnathan Greenert, approved the transition of Warfare Centers of Excellence to WDCs in 2014 to enhance Fleet warfighting capabilities and readiness across the theater, operational and tactical levels. Each of the WDCs are modeled after NAWDC’s ‘Top Gun,’ taking the top talented warfighters and developing them into experts – warriors, thinkers, teachers.

SWOs interested in professional growth and development with opportunities to increase the Fleet’s readiness and lethality can email the WTI program managers at SWO_WTI@navy.mil.

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