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SMWDC Undergoes Major Reorganization

by Petty Officer 2nd Class Devin Lowe
25 April 2022 SAN DIEGO – Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) is undergoing a reorganization to establish a more efficient and functional organization focused on meeting the complex needs of the dynamic environment of the future by delivering on SMWDC’s major lines of operations: warfare tactic instruction (WTI) production; advanced tactical training; doctrine and tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) development; operational support to naval component commanders and numbered fleet commanders; and capability assessments, experimentation and requirements support.

SMWDC’s reorganization includes restructuring its Sea Combat, Mine Warfare (MIW), Amphibious Warfare (AMW) and Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Divisions into Surface Warfare Technical Division (SWTD), Mine Countermeasure Technical Division (MCMTD), Surface Advanced Warfighting School (SAWS), Fleet Training Pacific (FTP), and Fleet Training Atlantic (FTL).

“We are restructuring SMWDC headquarters and divisions into a purposefully designed organization focused on better supporting our five lines of operations,” said Rear Adm. Christopher Alexander, SMWDC commander. “This is in part recognition of the need for the surface force to maintain our warfighting advantage and ensures SMWDC can support demands of both the current and future fleet.”

Surface Advanced Warfighting School (SAWS)

SAWS, formerly SMWDC’s Sea Combat Division, is designed to teach all WTI courses of instruction (COIs) and will qualify surface warfare officers (SWOs), limited duty officers, and chief warrant officers selected to become WTIs. SAWS is located in San Diego and was officially established Jan. 21, 2022.

“Like the Naval Academy or a civilian research institution, SAWS is more than ‘just a schoolhouse’,” said SAWS Director, Capt. Steven McDowell. “There will be billeted teaching assignments, and SAWS instructors will be organized into functional cells for TTP development. At SAWS, WTIs will serve in their intended ‘Warrior-Thinker-Teacher’ role in support of full range of SMWDC priorities.”

SAWS reached initial operating capability in January and expects to reach full operating capability in fiscal year 2025, when the IAMD WTI COI transitions from Dahlgren, Va. to San Diego.

Fleet Training Pacific (FTP) and Fleet Training Atlantic (FTL)

FTL, formerly AMW Division and located in Little Creek, Va., and FTP, formerly SMWDC headquarters’ N3/7 and remaining co-located within SMWDC headquarters, develop and deliver surface warfare advanced tactical training (SWATT) and live fire with a purpose (LFWAP) exercises to the fleet.

“All courses directly linked to SWATT such as warfare commander courses and SWATT in port academics will transition to the fleet training teams,” said Capt. James Kenny, director of FTL. “Standing up FTL and FTP improves every SWATT and in turn makes our SWOs and ships better prepared for the high-end fight.”

The administrative processes to support the official reorganization is anticipated to be complete in 2028, though the ability to plan and execute east coast SWATTs by FTL and west coast SWATTs by FTP exists today. The phasing of billet shifts inside the organization to evenly assign the talent within SMWDC is already progressing at both FTP and FTL.

Technical Divisions

Surface Warfare Technical Division, formerly IAMD division and located in Dahlgren, Va., and Mine Countermeasure Technical Division, formerly MIW division and located in Point Loma, Calif., will collaborate with program offices, system commands, and research laboratories to develop technical solutions to tactical problems, draft future warfighting concepts, and to develop capability introduction roadmaps to support fleet introduction. Mine Warfare Technical Division is also responsible for providing manpower to train each numbered fleet’s mine counter measures task force.

This multi-year reorganization postures SMWDC to better deliver on the demands of the high-end fight and Competitive Edge initiative of Commander, Naval Surface Forces. “SMWDC is the surface force’s center of warfighting excellence,” said Alexander. “Our modernization and reorganization is posturing the fleet for success in decades to come – we are leading the way to ensure the United States Navy is prepared to preserve the freedom of the seas, deter aggression, and win in conflict.”

Top-talented SWOs interested in joining the SMWDC team and becoming WTIs can send an email to for more information. For more information about SMWDC visit or

Commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, 2841 Rendova Rd. San Diego, CA 92155-5490
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Commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, 2841 Rendova Rd. San Diego, CA 92155-5490

This is an official
U.S. Navy website

U.S. Pacific Fleet
2841 Rendova Rd
San Diego, CA

Public Affairs Officer

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