According to a senior officer from the defense forces, the US Navy is having trouble training enough personnel in warfare tactics each year to meet the requirements, which include the future needs of an “expanded future demand.”

Since its establishment in 2015, the Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) had trained hundreds of sailors to work as warfare training instructors (WTIs).

After completing a training program, individuals enter a “production tour.” They will serve at SMWDC and other related command lines during a tour for two years. However, during this time, they are solely focused on hosting “high-end training” for vessels or “experimenting” with new robust strategies. After completing this production tour, the mariners will have acquired significant experience in surface warfare and will be eligible to utilize this information in their subsequent deployments at sea.

As per assertions made by SMWDC Commanding Officer Rear Adm. Christopher Alexander to news agencies, the demand for these practitioners has increased as their services have become more widely recognized throughout the fleet. The agency is mulling through the mechanisms that need to be taken to ensure that every warship has a WTI on board. The Navy is starting a new initiative to match these individuals with requirements and acquisition offices this fall.

Still, despite all of the privileges of becoming a WTI, Alexander reported that it is difficult for him to convince enough seamen to go through the program.

“Without WTIs, I can’t produce more WTIs. Without the WTIs, I can’t do advanced training. I can’t do [tactics, techniques, and procedures] development. I can’t do experimentation. I can’t influence the requirements process,” he said.


SAN DIEGO (Feb. 26, 2010) Crewman qualification training brings a boat to shore during Monster Mash training. Crewman qualification training is a 14-week advanced course teaching primary weapons, seamanship, first aid, and small unit tactics to Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman candidates. (Source: US Navy photo, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Earlier this year, during an interview with the Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC), Alexander mentioned that SMWDC’s most crucial resource, the WTI, will benefit from higher efficiencies as a side effect of the agency’s “restructuring” from a mission-area oriented organization to an organization established along functional lines. 

Because of the restructuring, the education WTIs receive will be improved, as will their capability to instruct the fleet and their engagement in the design of potential competencies, which provide the maximum strategic advantage to their fleet.