Recently, the Navy Information Warfare Development Center (NIWDC)
completed its inaugural Prospective Information Warfare Commander’s (P-IWC) Course. This three-week course was developed as part of the U.S. Fleet Forces and Pacific Fleet tactical training continuum, which in part outlines training requirements for the P-IWCs. NIWDC’s Fleet Training Department was responsible for developing the training course, which resulted in this three-week customized curriculum that ensures incumbents are thoroughly prepared for current and future operating environments.
The new training pipeline for IWCs has significantly changed from past IWC training. The amount of time needed to fulfill prescribed training requirements exceeded more than 100 days. NIWDC's training course pares that time down to less than 100 hours, a drastic reduction that allowed for higher completion rates of the training, and the incorporation of course content specifically tailored to IWCs. The goal was to create a syllabus that goes beyond filling knowledge gaps learned at community milestone schools, and moves toward targeted training, intermediate stops, and in-depth discussions to achieve the end state of an operationally and tactically honed IWC at sea.
The first two weeks of the course largely focuses on tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), doctrine for an IWC, and war gaming, taught by IW Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTIs) and other NIWDC staff. The final week includes intermediate stops to NIWDC’s Type Commander, Navy Information Warfare Forces (NAVIFOR), as well as other local IW commands such as Fleet Weather Center Norfolk, Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command (NCDOC), Navy Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Atlantic (NCTAMSLANT), and the Information Warfare Training Group (IWTG). Video teleconferences with operational units and numbered Fleet IW leaders
are conducted as well.
During their turn over period and before the change of command ceremony, Vice Adm. Brian Brown, commander, NAVIFOR, and then-Rear Adm. Kelly Aeschbach, prospective commander, NAVIFOR, along with Rear Adm. Mike Vernazza, commander, NIWDC, served as guest speakers for this first iteration of the P-IWC course.
Ten P-IWCs were in attendance for the initial P-IWC course: Capt. Anthony Butera, assigned to Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1; Capt. Thomas “TJ” Gilmore, assigned to Commander, Second Fleet; Capt. Joshua Himes, assigned to CSG 12; Capt. Kurt Mole, assigned to CSG 5; Capt. Peter Shepard, assigned to CSG 8; Capt. Craig Whittinghill, assigned to CSG 3; Capt. (select) Lisa Brennen, assigned to Commander, Fifth Fleet; Capt. (select) Matthew Celgeske, assigned to CSG 11; Cmdr. Obie Idris Shabazz, assigned to Expeditionary Strike Group 2; and Cmdr. Joshua VerGow, assigned to Commander, Amphibious Squadron 6.
These officers were a blend of information warfare designators - 1810, 1820, and 1830.
Another goal of the program is to expand the audience to include senior Numbered Fleet Intelligence (N2) and Communications (N6) who might serve as IW Integrators, Maritime Operations Center (MOC) Directors, or Deputy MOC Directors. The course is required for all IW designators upon board selection for the position of IWC.
The P-IWC course is planned for bi-annual iterations (spring and fall), and is intended to readily flex to incorporate emerging TTPs and other pertinent or new information in order to maintain a sharp, ready IWC cadre.
“I am extremely proud of our fleet training team. They streamlined the curriculum to an executable timeline focused on the warfighting environment," Vernazza said. "Our IWCs will bring increased knowledge, depth and breadth, providing greater warfighting capability and increased lethality to the Carrier and Expeditionary Strike Groups.”
NIWDC is the U.S. Navy’s IW tactical center of excellence, which enhances fleet high-end warfighting capabilities and readiness across the operational and tactical levels of war. For more information regarding the IWC course, please contact NIWDC PAO at NIWDC_PAO@navy.mil.