Cruiser-destroyer (CRUDES) warships and their associated helicopter detachments from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Carrier Strike Group (CSG) departed Naval Base San Diego for a Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) exercise on April 16, 2018.
SWATT events focus on advanced tactical training at sea to improve warfighting proficiency, lethality, and ship interoperability before integrated phase training with other elements of the CSG. The exercise is the third SWATT led by Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SWMDC), and the second of the CRUDES variety.
“SWATT’s provide shipboard teams and warfare commanders the reps-and-sets they need to be prepared to integrate with the strike group, and ultimately head downrange to execute their missions with other naval assets, joint forces, and coalition partners around the globe,” said Rear Adm. John Wade, commander of SMWDC.
Units participating in the John C. Stennis CRUDES SWATT are Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21, USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), USS Stockdale (DDG 106) and USS Spruance (DDG 111). The exercise is supported by Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO187), the Grey Knights and Golden Swordsmen of Patrol Squadrons (VP) 46 and 47, and the Easyriders and Raptors of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadrons (HSM) 37 and 71.
SMWDC, who is leading the exercise, is supported by a whole host of organizations to include Naval Information Warfighting Development Center (NIWDC), the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA), CSG 15, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Corona Division, Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), Keyport Division, Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) 11, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing (CPRW) 10, Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility (FACSFAC), Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD), Military Sealift Command Pacific (MSCPAC), Afloat Training Group (ATG), and Commander, Anti-Submarine Warfare Force Third Fleet (CTF 34).
CRUDES SWATT events provide dedicated in port and at sea training for surface ships that focus on watch team, unit, Air Defense Commander, and Sea Combat Commander training prior to the integrated phase of training with the CSG. The exercise provides focused training in a number of specific warfare areas including surface warfare (SUW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), integrated air and missile defense (IAMD), and information warfare (IW).
“Our goal is for surface ships and associated air assets to go through a SWATT during each deployment training cycle,” said Wade. “This is our third SWATT exercise, and we’re planning three more this year. The demand signal from the Fleet is there, and SWATTs are critically important to give our Sailors the competence and confidence to be more competitive in the maritime environment.”
What makes SMWDC’s training unique isn’t simply a focus on learning – it is also the methods by which the command drives at them. First, senior mentors including post-major command captains, post-commander command commanders, Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTI), and technical community experts plan the training events, brief teams, and embark the ships for the entirety of the exercises to walk through a defined Plan, Brief, Execute, and Debrief (PBED) process. Second, the training team’s efforts are aided replay tools that provide ground truth performance data to shipboard teams in order to facilitate rapid learning.
“I was an athlete in college and learned the value of leveraging film to improve future performance,” said Lt. Cmdr. Dave Hollon, an anti-submarine/surface warfare (ASW/SUW) warfare tactics instructor (WTI) and lead planner for the John C. Stennis CRUDES SWATT. “When you look at what professional athletes and elite organizations like the National Football League have done to enhance team performance using playback tools like the All-22 camera system, there’s no doubt in my mind that tools like the ones we’re using at SMWDC will pay dividends. It’s a great experience to be able to see watch teams learn and grow applying the PBED methodology.”
Ultimately, SWATT events provide high-fidelity system, tactics, and human performance data that enable the Surface Warfare enterprise to improve warfighting readiness and increase lethality. After SWATT, data recorded in training events is extracted through a partnership between SMWDC and NSWC Corona and NUWC Keyport. After the data is compiled, it is reviewed at a Data Analysis Working Group (DAWG) which analyzes system, operator, and performance analysis – a process that takes approximately 4-6 weeks after SWATT event completion. Further, the analyzed data is parsed out to appropriate entities within SMWDC and the Surface Warfare community to refine doctrine and tactical guidance, provide capabilities assessments, define future requirements, and to inform future training events.
Commander, Destroyer Squadron TWENTY ONE, Capt. Henry Adams was enthusiastic about the opportunity for DESRON 21 the ships to get underway for the SWATT.
“CRUDES SWATT is a great opportunity for our team to train together and learn to use our weapons, sensors, doctrine, and tactics to prepare us for the integrated phase of training, and to make us combat ready and battle minded. We have to shoot, move, and communicate better and more nimbly than our adversaries to carry out our mission, and SWATT helps us do that.”
DESRON 21 is a part of CSG 3, and U.S. 3rd Fleet. Third Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.
SMWDC is a subordinate command of Commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet and exists to increase the lethality and tactical proficiency of the Surface Force across all domains.
Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center