Teaching Today’s and Tomorrow’s Surface Navy to Fight and Win

Kimberly M. Lansdale
Center for Surface Combat Systems Public Affairs

The Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) headquarters’ staff oversees 14 learning sites and detachments located throughout the continental United States, Hawaii, Spain, and Japan. CSCS trains over 38,000 U.S. Navy and international Sailors each year. As a global organization, technology plays a key role in how we train surface warriors to fight and to win.

In an ever-advancing technological society, CSCS implements a variety of training enablers to achieve the ultimate goal of Sailor 2025’s Ready, Relevant Learning (RRL) pillar — provide Sailors the right training at the right time in the most effective manner throughout their careers. The Navy introduced Surface Training Advanced Virtual Environment (STAVE) in 2015 to provide better quality training resulting in more rapid qualifications of Navy officers and Sailors. Instructional systems and simulated physical environments provide watchstanders and maintainers the ability to gain proficiency through repeatable exercises, drills, and evolutions ashore.

STAVE-CS (Combat Systems) Solutions 

Combined Integrated Air & Missile Defense (IAMD) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Trainer (CIAT)

The purpose of CIAT is to provide a warfighting training laboratory that is realistic and relevant in training our Sailors and officers to employ the full range of the combat system capability against advanced threats in complex operating environments. CSCS has two CIATs, one in San Diego, which opened in December 2018, and one in Norfolk, which opened in July 2019.  In addition, there are two Reconfigurable Combat Information Center Trainers, a CIAT minus the ASW capability, at the AEGIS Training and Readiness Center.

CIAT provides our watchstanders a state-of-the-art training lab to detect, control and engage simulated modern threats in challenging environments. With an emphasis on realism, it replicates a warship’s actual combat suite. We can reduce visibility, increase wave heights, degrade weapons systems, overwhelm the radars with clutter returns, and in the end, force every single watchstander in combat to adapt to challenging threats. We have to ensure our Sailors have trained and succeeded in a “worst case” scenario.

What makes CIAT unique is its ability to replay all decisions from a scenario in a full debrief. We synchronize all console and headset communications against the scenario ground truth to show each team the cause and effect of every decision. CIAT’s approach to immersive training has had an immediate impact on watch team cohesion and effectiveness and is unlike anything we have seen before.

Chief Operations Specialist Anna Penrod, left, assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115), and Lt. Aaron Van Driessche, CSCS Det San Diego’s course supervisor for AWT, participate in an air defense scenario at the Combined Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Trainer (CIAT). CIAT is the Navy’s newest combat systems trainer. Rafael Peralta became the first warship to pilot the advance warfare-training curriculum at CIAT. 


Aegis Ashore Team Trainer (AATT)

Managed by CSCS Unit Dam Neck, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, AATT serves as the single site for training and certifying rotational Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) crews to serve at the Aegis Ashore site in Romania and a future site in Poland. It houses a mock-up of the shore-based Aegis Combat Information Center and Communication Center and hosts a complete replica of the tactical warfighting, communication and information technology systems resident at Romania.

The AATT course includes an eight-week training and certification pipeline, a five-week basic phase conducted by CSCSU Dam Neck, a one-week qualification phase conducted by Afloat Training Group (ATG) Norfolk, and a two-week certification phase conducted by Tactical Training Group Atlantic (TACTRAGRULANT). During weeks one and two, CSCS instructs students on basic system capabilities and limitations, theater operational procedures, console operator familiarization, and BMD mission planning. During weeks three through five, the watch team executes a series of increasingly complex tactical team scenarios, flexing the extensive capabilities of the high fidelity trainer while turning the students into a cohesive tactical team. After the five-week basic phase, the crew completes their BMD Qualification (BMDQ) administered by ATG Norfolk. Following a successful BMDQ, TACTRAGRULANT supervises the execution of a BMD Exercise (BMDEX), in coordination with theater ballistic missile defense assets, as a capstone to the AATT course of instruction.

AATT allows us to train, qualify, and certify our Sailors so when they arrive in Romania they are immediately prepared to contribute. This represents the next evolution in combat systems training and sets a clear standard for what we will strive to achieve in future training endeavors.

During a team training exercise at the Aegis Ashore Team Trainer (AATT), AATT students work at the consoles to gain experience working with the system and to certify for operations prior to deployment.


High Fidelity Shore-Based Trainers

The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Training Facility (LTF) is the first surface warfare training facility to provide integrated bridge and combat systems tactical scenario training for Sailors serving with an LCS. The LCS drives a new approach to individual, team, and unit-level training to accommodate the minimum manning and rotational crewing concepts. Operational demands do not allow sufficient time for under instruction watchstanding or proficiency training during operational periods, and crews do not have organic training teams or embedded training systems. This new approach drives the need for the shore-centric Train-to-Qualify and Train-to-Certify concepts, which rely heavily on high-fidelity shore-based trainers.

Currently, an LTF in San Diego provides training for both LCS variants. Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center (FLEASWTRACEN) operates it. CSCS has a second LTF, located at Naval Station Mayport, which CSCS Detachment Mayport operates. It provides training for the LCS 1 variant.

LCS’s small crew size and lack of embedded systems mandate the use of high-fidelity training systems ashore to achieve crew training and readiness objectives.

Lt. j.g. Journae Webb, assigned to the Freedom-class littoral combat ship USS Little Rock (LCS 9), serves as Officer of the Deck during live-action, interactive virtual-reality training at the Littoral Training Facility, Naval Station Mayport, June 26, 2019. All Sailors and officers assigned to an LCS train in watch stations using virtual-reality technology, and are required to demonstrate proficiency in their respective watch stations, before manning live, shipboard watches. 


Looking Ahead

These are just a few of our STAVE-CS initiatives. STAVE-CS is already improving combat readiness by providing better-trained, better-qualified Sailors to the fight. CSCS will continue to implement new technologies that shape the Sailor of today and tomorrow. An example of this is Distributed STAVE-CS, which encompasses instructional systems and simulated physical environments that can be taught from one location and delivered simultaneously through high-bandwidth communications flow to multiple other sites. It will provide tactical watchstanders and maintainers the ability to gain proficiency through repeatable exercises, drills and evolutions ashore.

Surface Training Advanced Virtual Environment – Combat Systems (STAVE-CS) 

The video below highlights how STAVE-CS provides significant advantages by training in a virtual environment using courseware and simulators owned and implemented by the Navy.

Combined Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Trainer (CIAT)

CIAT was delivered in 2018 as the most capable combat systems trainer developed for the Navy surface force. This video highlights how CIAT trains operators of current AEGIS Baselines in IAMD and the latest AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 ASW deliveries using virtualized tactical code in San Diego and Norfolk. CIAT includes an in-depth, integrated debrief capability for individual and team analysis by recording simulation of scenario ground truth, instructor and watchstander console displays and audio for after-action reporting in support of student and instructor analysis.

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