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Enhancing Surface Navy Lethality On The Waterfront
by U.S. Navy Lt. Erik Nordgaard, SCSTC
January 5, 2022

In this era of strategic competition, the U.S. Navy is shaping a more capable and lethal force through Ready, Relevant Learning (RRL). RRL addresses the questions of when, where and how Sailors train for combat readiness.

On November 1 2021, the Center for Surface Combat Systems was officially renamed Surface Combat Systems Training Command (SCSTC, pronounced "Sea-Stick") as part of large internal realignment effort, which included setting the foundation for RRL tenets. By providing modernized training to the point of need - the individual ships - SCSTC is pivoting training to the waterfront.

December 9, 2021 - RDML Christopher J. Sweeny, commander of Commander, Carrier Strike Group Eleven (CCSG 11), right, and Capt. Shea S. Thompson, commanding officer of USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), speak with watchstanders during a visit to Combined IAMD and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Trainer (CIAT) at Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC). SMWDC is one of the Navy's five Warfighting Development Centers and its mission is to increase the lethality and tactical proficiency of the Surface Force across all domains. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devin Alexondra Lowe)
December 9, 2021 - RDML Christopher J. Sweeny, commander of Commander, Carrier Strike Group Eleven (CCSG 11), right, and Capt. Shea S. Thompson, commanding officer of USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), speak with watchstanders during a visit to Combined IAMD and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Trainer (CIAT) at Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC). SMWDC is one of the Navy's five Warfighting Development Centers and its mission is to increase the lethality and tactical proficiency of the Surface Force across all domains. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devin Alexondra Lowe)

The SCSTC domain consists of more than 6,500 staff and students in 12 global locations. Waterfront detachments are centered around fleet concentration areas with Det Southwest in San Diego; Det Middle Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia; Det Middle Pacific in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Det Western Pacific in Yokosuka, Japan; Det Pacific Northwest in Everett, Washington; and Det Southeast in Jacksonville, Florida. SCSTC waterfront detachments execute training with the detachments roles outlined in the Optimize Fleet Response Plan in three phases. The three phases meet the intent of RRL through classroom and shipboard training tailored to each platform, baseline and combat suite configuration.

Phase I is maintenance focused through Self-Assessment and Groom Training (SAGT) training events. The SAGTs are the building blocks of operating weapons and combat systems. Instructors provide students the skills to assess, troubleshoot and operate within specifications. They focus on preventive maintenance, alignment of combat systems in accordance with Combat System Operational Sequencing System (CSOSS), technical publication guidance, and Sound Shipboard Operating Principles and Procedures. SAGT topics are Navigation; Command Control Communications Computers & Intelligence (C4I); Electronic Cooling Water Systems; 400 hertz; Aegis Computer Network Technician I/II, SPY, Vertical Launching System, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Surface Vessel Torpedo Tube, and Embedded Training Systems (ETS).

“SAGT is especially vital because it evaluates the health of the ETS for further training events, while providing instruction on using CSOSS to integrate training systems,” said Lt. Cmdr. James Worley, officer in charge, SCSTC Det Southwest. “Each SAGT event typically runs for a week, with a day of classroom training at the local SCSTC detachment with the remainder of the week spent conducting hands-on training aboard the respective ship.”

The next major portions of training are Phase II and Phase III events, known as Advanced Warfare Trainings (AWTs). AWTs encompass classroom learning, Individual Operator Training (IOT), and then planning and executing scenarios using ETS. Classroom lessons and training scenarios are specifically tailored to a ship’s baseline in order to support RRL. The AWTs are focused on single ship operations. There are three major categories of AWT: ASW, Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD), and Ship Self Defense System (SSDS).

The objective of ASW AWT is to train two Condition II ASW teams with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform unit level ASW mission planning, search planning, sensor employment, detection, classification, localization, attack, Battle Damage Assessment, and re-attack and torpedo evasion during all phases of ASW against all submarine threats in any theater.

“The ASW AWT Phase II is two weeks in length,” explained Senior Chief Sonar Technician (Surface) Sarah Clowry Hughes, weapons department leading chief petty officer, Det Southwest. “The first two days are classroom training at the waterfront detachment where lectures are provided to establish a baseline of knowledge across all ASW team members. IOT takes place on the third day. Sailors are given introductory training on console use and capabilities. Days four through 10 are increasingly complex ASW scenarios. The 10th and final day of training is used by Afloat Training Group [ATG] to assess watchstander proficiency to hone further training and is regarded as the ASW AWT Phase III.”

The end state of IAMD and SSDS Phases II and III is to provide ships the necessary tactics instruction and console operator training to develop watchteam cohesion and maximize combat lethality. IAMD and SSDS AWT Phase II commences with three days of classroom training, focusing on Battle Orders and doctrine review. The final two days consist of Detect-to-Engage (DTE) aboard ship. SCSTC instructors deliver training focused on the basics of tactical watchstanding, such as Pre-Planned Responses, Battle Orders, Firing Point Procedures, and DTE sequences.

IAMD and SSDS AWT Phase III consist of one day of classroom training and four days of scenarios aboard ship. The scenarios focus on tactical watchstanding using fleet specific rules of engagement against a full range of sub-sonic, supersonic and hybrid threats. The IAMD AWT curriculum includes specialized training for Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) capable ships.

“Our end state is to provide ships with the necessary technical knowledge, combat system grooms, tactics instruction, and console operator training to develop watchteam cohesion and maximize combat lethality,” said Worley.

SCSTC offers an array of courses and training opportunities in addition to Basic Phase training. SCSTC Det Southwest and SCSTC Det Mid-Atlantic are capable of delivering ad hoc training to ships using the Combined IAMD and ASW Trainer (CIAT). The CIAT provides Navy watchstanders a state-of-the art-training environment to detect and engage adverse areas and the entire spectrum of maritime warfare from deep in the sea to space. With an emphasis on realism, it is engineered in every detail to replicate a naval warship’s actual combat suite.

The trainer was funded by Director, Surface Warfare’s (OPNAV N96) program of record, Surface Training Advanced Virtual Environment-Combat Systems (STAVE-CS), which was introduced in 2015 as a means to provide better quality training resulting in more rapid qualifications of our Sailors. The CIAT is capable of simulating AEGIS baselines DDG 9.C1 with or without BMD, and CG 9.A0. It also has an SQQ-89 A(V)-15 ACB 13 SONAR suite which fully integrates with AEGIS. Ships can request to reserve the CIAT for half-day training events with the option to have SCSTC staff present to enhance training.

SCSTC waterfront detachments also host regularly scheduled courses about combat systems management, such as AEGIS Combat Systems Maintenance Team, SPY Radar System Controller Enhanced, and AEGIS Combat Systems Maintenance Manager.

"SCSTC provides the warfighter with technical and tactical training from the maintenance to the sustainment phase,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Michael Hensley, director of training, SCSTC Det Southwest. “This mission is accomplished by a staff of dedicated military members, including warfare tactics instructors [WTIs], and civilian subject matter experts, who have years of sea going experience. SCSTC sets the standard as the premiere, waterfront training command by providing comprehensive combat systems training to ships at the waterfront ensuring our warfighters are ready to operate their equipment at the extreme technical end of its capability to win the high-end fight!”

Surface Combat Systems Training Command

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