John C. Stennis carrier strike group warships hone skills during SWATT

US Navy cruisers and destroyers from the John C. Stennis carrier strike group are currently underway honing their surface, anti-submarine, anti-air and information warfare skills before starting the integrated phase of training with the CSG.

Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21 cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), and destroyers USS Stockdale (DDG 106) and USS Spruance (DDG 111) are taking part in SWATT events which focus on advanced tactical training at sea to improve warfighting proficiency, lethality, and ship interoperability.

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.

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.

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 & missile defense (IAMD), and information warfare (IW).

SWMDC 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.

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