In response to the Ship Self Defense System (SSDS) Wholeness Review, Center for Surface Combat Systems Unit (CSCSU) Dam Neck continues to improve SSDS training throughout the Navy.
In the fall of 2019, CSCS headquarters finished relocating SSDS training to CSCSU Dam Neck from the AEGIS Training and Readiness Center (ATRC), located in Dahlgren. In January 2020, all SSDS ships’ tactical action officers as well as prospective executive and commanding officers commenced SSDS training as part of their permanent change of station orders in major fleet concentration areas.
Recent efforts include revising the SSDS Combat Systems Maintenance Manager (CSMM) course of instruction.
“Our main objective for this course was to make it resemble its AEGIS CSMM counterpart,” explained Capt. John Vliet, CSCSU Dam Neck’s commanding officer. “Efforts began by meeting with CSCS’ AEGIS Training Readiness Center, the schoolhouse that overhauled the AEGIS CSMM curriculum, and Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center to strategize and prioritize the areas that needed the most improvement.”
Other key contributors to the effort included Naval Information Forces, Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Mobile Training Team Fleet Liaison, Naval Information Warfighting Development Center, and industry partners.
Fleet feedback was gathered from SSDS CSMMs, who were currently on sea duty, and past course critiques, ensuring that the foundation for the new material enabled success and supported Ready, Relevant Learning (RRL), one pillar of the U.S. Navy's Sailor 2025 initiative.
“It was important that the revision of this course was based upon direct input from the fleet, ensuring we would provide each Sailor with training that is most relevant to what they’ll be doing aboard their ship and in turn, be ready for the fleet,” said Lt. Rachel Jardina, CSCSU Dam Neck’s SSDS division officer.
A job duty task analysis (JDTA) was also conducted, involving current instructors, local CSMMs, waterfront trainers, and warfare tactics instructors (WTIs). The JDTA identified all duties and tasks of the SSDS CSMM and was a critical step in the curriculum development process.
After gathering and calculating data and analyzing fleet feedback, the enhanced intensive, three-week course of instruction is designed to provide classroom and hands-on training to prospective SSDS CSMMs. It includes updated lessons on SSDS MK 2 Open Architecture (OA), SSDS Mark 2 Technical Refresh (TR), console design and graphic operation, embedded training systems, sensor consideration and planning, doctrine planning, and CSMM duties and responsibilities.
“Additionally, hands-on field trips have been established for students to visit labs for SSDS Mark 2 OA, SSDS Mark 2 TR, Battle Force Tactical Trainer, Rolling Air Frame Missile, NATO Sea Sparrow Missile System, Close-In Weapon System, AN/SPS-48, AN/SPS-67, AN/SPS-73, Mark 38 Machine Gun System, Mark 46 Gun Weapon System, and Advanced Technical Information Support Manual Management Program,” Jardina said.
Capt. Dave Stoner, CSCS’ commanding officer, explains how this course serves as another example of how CSCS is helping the fleet build a more capable and lethal force.
“Through team work, adaptability, and innovative solutions, we modified vital, training curriculum that improves combat readiness by providing better-trained, better-qualified Sailors to the fight,” he said. “To be ready to fight tonight, our Sailors must know how to extract every bit of warfighting capability resident in our ships.”
Senior Chief Fire Controlman Michael Chandler, CSCSU Dam Neck’s SSDS course supervisor, recently piloted the new course.
“The critical and positive feedback we received from the students who went through the pilot are helping us drive future updates to the course,” he said. “Developing new curriculum is difficult and time consuming, but when it helps shape the future of our Navy, the challenges, ups and downs, and long hours are worth it!”
CSCS is a global organization of professional military and civilian educators and support personnel focused on training the Surface Navy to fight and win. CSCS trains over 36,000 U.S. and Allied Sailors a year to operate, maintain and employ weapons, sensors, communications, combat systems and deck equipment of surface warships to build Combat Ready Ships with Battle Minded Crews.
For information on the Center for Surface Combat Systems, visit: https://www.public.navy.mil/netc/centers/cscs/.
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