Norfolk, Va. – Rear Adm. Mike Vernazza, Commander, Naval Information Warfighting Development Center (NIWDC), presided over his first Warfare Tactics Instructor (WTI) patching ceremony September 25, 2020 since he took command in July. This is the fifth class of WTIs since the program’s initial course in 2018, but its first WTI class to graduate with a Marine Corps officer in the ranks.
The 18 new Information Warfare (IW) warriors - 10 commissioned officers, five senior enlisted, and three government civilians - completed the challenging 10-week course that culminated in a ceremony in which they received their WTI patches and designation letters. These 18 graduates bring the total of IW WTIs in the fleet today to 72, adding significantly to the growing warfighter footprint.
In his opening remarks, Vernazza stated, “You are the next breed of warriors, laying the foundation of a new warfighting culture that will accelerate naval lethality and tactical proficiency across all warfighting domains.”
This was the second WTI class to complete the new, tailor-built IW WTI course designed to develop each element of the WTI — “Warrior, Thinker, Instructor” — with an emphasis on tactical knowledge and application, immersion in doctrinal tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), and the development of instructor skills through final project presentations.
The candidates completed an initial three-week baseline where they received instruction applicable to solving a series of practical vignettes and battle problems focused on the pillars of IW: Battlespace Awareness, Assured Command and Control, and Integrated Fires.
Following the baseline instruction, candidates entered in to the seven-week core training phase specifically designed for their specialties, which culminated in the development and presentation of a final project. In these final projects, candidates were assigned a real-world tactical study aligned to a fleet capability gap or operational deficiency. The students were challenged to conduct a thorough analysis and propose potential solutions to some of the most difficult challenges facing the IW community.
Vernazza challenged the graduating class, “ … with this designation you have demonstrated the tactical excellence and skills necessary to inform, evaluate and assess integrated Information Warfare doctrine, planning, tactics, and operations.”
The newest IW Level 4 WTIs are Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Davis, Lt. Cmdr. Karrie Lang, and Lt. Cmdr. Sander Mathews; Lt. Travis Lewis, Lt. Tara Mark, Lt. Calvin McCullough, Lt. Richard Schroyer, and Lt. Alexander Huang; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Roxanne Charley; Cryptologic Technician - Networks Senior Chief Ruben Montano, Cryptologic Technician- Technical Senior Chief James Holzmann, Cryptologic Technician - Networks Chief Jestin Lowery, Cryptologic Technician - Technical Chief Jamal Settles, and Aerographer’s Mate Chief Shane McAleer; and government civilians Mr. Matthew Euler, Mr. Daniel Kenda, and Mr. Michael Jensen. The WTI cycle added a newcomer to the program as NIWDC piloted the first Marine Corps candidate, Cpt. Alainia Moomau, who also received her patch and designation letter during the ceremony.
In addition to the WTI patch and designation letter, the graduates received the associated IW WTI Additional Qualification Designator (AQD): GW1 for Electronic Warfare; GW2 for Intelligence Operations; GW3 for Meteorology and Oceanography; or GW6 for Command and Control/Cyberspace Operations. An equivalent Navy Enlisted Classification, or NEC, is in development for enlisted graduates.
The Information Warfare WTI program, or IWWP, is open to: commissioned officers O2 (with the IW Officer designator and promotion to O3 before completion of Level 4 WTI training) through O4; Chief Warrant Officers 2 through 4 who have already earned an IW Officer designation pin; senior enlisted paygrades E7 though E9 who have earned an Enlisted IW Specialist designator pin; and GS/GG 11 through 14 civilians assigned to IW commands. The IWWP is seeking top performers in the IW community who regularly demonstrate tactical excellence and embody a warrior’s ethos. People who want to become a WTI should be a composite of talent, approachability, and humility who seeks opportunities to mentor and develop warfighters in the IW community.
NIWDC is the 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 on the IWWP, visit
https://intelshare.intelink.gov/sites/NIWDC-Doctrine-CIE/IW_WTI or IW_WTI@navy.mil.
For more information about NAVIFOR, visit the command's website at http://www.public.navy.mil/fltfor/navifor/Pages/Default2.aspx, Navy News webpage at http://www.navy.mil/local/navifor or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NavalInformationForces.