PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Effective communication, enabled through skill in foreign languages and understanding of foreign cultures and regional dynamics, is paramount for the U.S. Navy’s readiness to fight and win during Great Power Competition.
As a critical force multiplier, the Navy’s Language, Regional Expertise, and Culture team, as a part of the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT), delivers training on foreign cultures and languages to prepare Navy personnel for global engagements to strengthen ties with enduring allies and cultivate relationships with emerging partners.
Recently, the LREC team’s effect on fleet readiness was apparent during the Mine Warfare Exercise (MIWEX) 2JA 2020 in Mutsu Bay, Japan, where mine warfare forces from the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) worked together to strengthen interoperability and increase proficiencies in mine countermeasure operations.
“LREC had a direct hand in the success of this exercise,” shared Lt. Andrew Fox with Mine Countermeasures Squadron 7 in Sasebo, Japan. “As the lead planner for 2JA, I spent many hours sending texts, in telephone conversations, and in meetings using the Japanese language to communicate and coordinate the exercise. Without the training that LREC provided me, the communications between Countermeasures Squadron 7 and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, the Mine Warfare Force would have been severely degraded and the exercise tactical training value would have been reduced. In addition, because of the COVID impacts, we were unable to hold any of the planning conferences in person making it even more vital that I was able to plan the exercise in the Japanese language over phone calls, emails, and texts.”
U.S. Navy and JMSDF forces trained by deploying inert training mines to designated areas and then individual units were tasked by their staff to sweep the inert mines with mechanical gear or hunt the inert mines with under-water detection and neutralization systems.
The LREC team’s work also directly supports and aligns with the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday’s top priorities of Warfighting, Warfighter and Future Navy as outlined in his in Fragmentary Order 01/2019: A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority 2.0.
“Build Alliances and Partnerships…Operating and exercising together with allies and partners, our fleet commanders will focus on full interoperability at the high end of naval warfare. We will build on existing maritime intelligence and logistics partnerships with allied nations, and expand relationships with partner nations to broaden and strengthen global maritime awareness and access,” wrote Gilday.
Gilday even expounded on the impact of strong bonds and recent exercise in a Tweet.
“Today, we kicked off Mine Warfare Exercise 2JA 2020 with our allies. Exercises like these strengthen the bond between our two navies while making us more proficient in mine countermeasures operations.”
The Navy's LREC program is part of the DoD-wide program, and managed to maximize LREC capabilities through recruitment and accession policies, skill development, maintenance, enhancement, employment, and incentivizing of skills aligned to mission needs.
“Our goal is to have those using our training materials and participating in our instruction acquire the knowledge and skills to feel comfortable in the foreign environment, to help them have positive experiences and interactions, and to be great ambassadors for our Navy and nation,” said Christopher Wise, LREC’s program manager. “We have designed our cultural and language training to support Navy mission, and Sailors who understand others’ cultural perspectives better understand their environment and are better able to shape their own attitudes and behaviors.”
LREC courses, presentations, and working aids present general information about the nature of culture and specific information about particular cultures, including history, geography, ethnic groups, religious institutions, societal norms, culturally-driven individual behaviors and etiquette, and culturally-appropriate and taboo behaviors of many nations. All resources support the Ready Relevant Learning (RRL) initiative of Sailor 2025 by providing the right training, at the right time, in the most effective manner for our Sailors.
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With four schoolhouse commands, a detachment, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan, CIWT trains over 22,000 students every year, delivering trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. CIWT also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and officers in the information warfare community.
For news from the Center for Information Warfare Training domain, visit www.netc.navy.mil/centers/ciwt/, www.facebook.com/NavyCIWT, or www.twitter.com/NavyCIWT.