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Watch Officer Course Trains Allies at Surface Warfare Officer School

28 February 2020

From Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Derien Luce

The International Combat Information Center (CIC) Watch Officer course is one of four international courses offered by the Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) at Naval Station Newport, with the latest group of students that graduated Feb. 28.

The International Combat Information Center (CIC) Watch Officer course is one of four international courses offered by the Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) at Naval Station Newport, with the latest group of students that graduated Feb. 28.

The three-week course prepares international junior officers with limited or no at-sea experience for basic CIC operations during routine peacetime steaming, and is also an opportunity for partnering navies to work together.

According to Lt. Roland Hansen, a CIC Watch Officer course instructor, the course prepares students for the many responsibilities they have in the fleet.

“The CIC watch officer is one of the primary watch officer jobs in the combat information center, which is essentially the brains of the ship,” said Hansen. “They can assist with navigating and piloting the ship in terms of backing up our bridge watch standers. Their job is a support role. This course is very navigation-heavy, that way they can be aware of what’s going on and assist where required.”

By combining partner navies in one classroom, students learn about more than just being a CIC watch officer.

“It’s interesting to meet new people and see different cultures and find out what we have in common and how we’re different,” said Ensign Julio Gorbea of the Mexican navy and CIC Watch Officer course student.

Hansen agreed, saying his favorite part about teaching the course is learning about the differences between navies.

“Getting to learn and understand our students’ cultures better, I think, helps when we are partners in the future,” said Hansen.

Hansen also added that students who attend the CIC Watch Officer course, as well as other courses offered at SWOS, often go on to have bright careers.

“The CIC Watch Officer course is aimed at newer officers, somebody in their first three-to-five years in the Navy, and all of our students are outstanding,” said Hansen. “A lot of these students leave SWOS and go on to command their navies.”

“You never know what could happen,” said Gorbea. “I might move up the ranks in my navy, and the guy next to me might move up in his and then someday we might share in joint operations.”

Hansen believes the partnerships that are created in this course, and all the courses offered at SWOS, are vital to the future of the U.S. Navy and its partner navies.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to build partnerships between, for example, Mexico and Israel who live on opposite sides of the world,” said Hansen. “Now they have a reason to meet and interact, in this classroom, and it’s in the United States, so we’re building partnerships as well.”

International training and education is managed by the Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity, serving as a focal point for all security assistance training program issues, coordination and advice within the U.S. Navy. The CIC Watch officer Course is included as part of the International Surface Warfare Officer course for the division officer stage of a naval officer’s career.

SWOS headquarters is located in Newport and oversees nine learning sites worldwide. Its mission is to ready seabound Sailors to serve on surface combatants as officers, enlisted engineers, and enlisted navigation professionals to fulfill the Navy’s mission to maintain global maritime superiority.


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