"I wish to have no Connnection with any Ship that does not Sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way."-Captain John Paul Jones, 16 November 1778
The Navy is piloting a new level of Anti-Terrorism Warfare (ATW) training for commanding officers (CO) in an effort to further integrate ATW into the day to day command management. The course, conducted at Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Atlantic (EWTGLANT) facilities, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va., focuses on providing COs the necessary tools to better manage their command's anti-terrorism program.
"Anti-Terrorism Warfare must be a primary consideration of all members of the Navy, especially in light of the recent events in Yemen and then in New York and Washington," said Cmdr. Matthew Bobola, Task Force EXCEL Anti-Terrorism Warfare Project Lead. "This course is designed to assist commanding officers in developing and managing a program that involves every Sailor in their command by providing them with a bigger picture. Additionally, it is the first step in developing the hard outer shell necessary for improved force protection."
Students of the three-day course sampled state-of-the-art scenario trainers such as GAMA Corporation's DVD-based Fleet Protection Range, and Advanced Interactive System's Professional Range Instruction Simulator. Both systems reflect the Navy's desire to integrate advanced technologies and alternative educational delivery systems in an effort to revolutionize Navy training and education.
"This is what the Revolution in Training is all about," said Rear Adm. Harry Ulrich, Task Force EXCEL Director. "Industry leaders like the New York City Police Department and the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation], are already using this kind of technology to increase their agents' proficiencies. We are looking for solutions that already exist, to improve the Navy's training system. Particularly in the area of ATW it is crucial that we find solutions quickly, to avoid scenes like we had in Yemen. These simulations fill a much needed void in training our Sailors in critical decision-making processes."
While the Fleet Protection Range program targets duty section level decision making, the Professional Range Instruction Simulator focuses on individual sentry level judgment training. Both systems incorporate branching technology, the ability to create scenarios with multiple outcomes, based on the student's decisions, and are capable of scoring the trainee.
There are four levels of Navy training. Level one is required for all Sailors on watch on piers and ships; level two is for a command's anti-terrorism officer (ATO), who is responsible for creating the anti-terrorism program and developing a sound security plan; and, level three is for commanding officers, who are responsible for ensuring higher authority requirements are met by the ATO in the creation of the program. Finally, level four training is for fleet and force commanders, who are responsible for the bigger mission area analysis.
"Obviously, for the system to work we must have seamless integration between all levels of authority, from the petty officer of the watch to the commanding officer to the fleet and force commanders," said Bobola. "The higher you go in the chain of command, the greater the scope of visibility required, but that really doesn't relieve anyone from having at least an understanding of how they fit into the big picture."
Training programs incorporating the best industry has to offer – utilizing advanced educational methodologies, such as the commanding officer's course are the focus of the Revolution in Training, a Fleet-wide initiative to revamp training and education to provide Sailors greater opportunities to learn, grow and lead.
JO2 Jd Walter is the Assistant Public Affairs Officer for the Task Force EXCEL Implementation Cell, Washington Navy Yard.