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Naval Oceanography Takes Part in U.S. Pacific Fleet Junior Officer Undersea Symposium and Training Event

22 November 2022

From Mass Communications Chief Patrick Gordon, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command Public Affairs

More than 50 junior officers gathered at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for the inaugural Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet Junior Officer Undersea Symposium and Training (JOUST) event, Nov. 14-18, 2022.“This symposium was an all-community event, planned and executed by our best and brightest junior officers, which will help the U.S.

More than 50 junior officers gathered at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for the inaugural Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet Junior Officer Undersea Symposium and Training (JOUST) event, Nov. 14-18, 2022.

“This symposium was an all-community event, planned and executed by our best and brightest junior officers, which will help the U.S. Navy maintain its advantage in the undersea domain,” said Rear Adm. Jeff Jablon, Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC). “We know that our competitors seek to challenge our undersea superiority, but events like JOUST are bringing together our warfighters in a way that will build unbreakable relationships which will become the foundation for our continued success in the next generation.”

Pacific JOUST, which focused on developing the U.S. Navy’s future undersea warfare (USW) leaders, followed an earlier event which occurred on the East Coast in April and was led by U.S. 2nd Fleet and Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic. Junior officers from the aviation, surface warfare, submarine, naval special warfare, naval oceanography, explosive ordnance disposal, and information warfare communities participated in the event.

“As the gap between US forces and our near pear competitors narrows, understanding the physical environment in which we operate is even more critical," said Captain Kate Hermsdorfer, Commanding Officer of Fleet Weather Center - San Diego. "Naval Oceanography's participation in this event is incredibly valuable in order to tie battlespace awareness to tactical and operational advantages.”

During the five-day event, junior officers learned about adversary capabilities and threats, platform-specific USW capabilities and tactics, integrated USW operations with recent examples and lessons learned, theater contingency plans, and future force capabilities. They also toured USW platforms, including a P-8A Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft, MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), and Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Illinois (SSN 786); received insight from Flag Officer leadership; and participated in a tabletop wargame exercise that provided the opportunity to apply concepts learned during the week.

"As the inaugural event in the Pacific of its kind, JOUST was engaging from the first brief to the last war game." said LT Sarah Beemiller, METOC Officer from Fleet Weather Center - San Diego. "Every facet and community involved in USW was represented at the Action Officer level. It was exciting to repeatedly hear the importance of understanding tactical oceanography while also surprising to learn of the obstacles operators face when trying to obtain any of the abundant oceanographic information our community readily provides.”

Throughout each session, participants interacted with their peers from other communities in a way that allowed them to build the vital relationships which will benefit them as they progress through the ranks.

“Working through a real world war game scenario was beneficial on so many levels," said LT Gabriel Lackey, METOC Officer with Fleet Survey Team. "Representatives from each designator were able to see how others address the same problem set, then mesh efforts in order to streamline effectiveness and capitalize on what was learned earlier in the week. Specifically, we METOC officers were able to hone our skills by briefing impacts to operations both on red and blue force efforts.”

Lackey also noticed that, “the strategic level planners were taking notes of what methods tactical, action officer level methods were being employed as to review them and potentially refine strategic level plans.”

“We had the opportunity to hear from each community involved in undersea warfare including submarines, P-8s and MH-60Rs, surface ships, intelligence, and SEALs,” said LT Erin Flynn, METOC Officer at SGOT-SD. “We got a better understanding of how they operate and what they bring to the table. We also got the chance to tour several facilities including the Virginia-class submarine USS ILLINOIS, the DDG USS DANIEL INOUYE, a P-8 and an MH-60R, and the SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1 facility.”

Pacific JOUST was built around a culminating event: a table top exercise informed by real world events and scenarios. Participants were organized into cohorts, each representing a task group or task force which conducted planning and course of action analysis and development. The symposium culminated with a tabletop wargame exercise on the final day, with participants working together to apply concepts they had learned.

“It’s cool to see other communities’ roles in undersea warfare,” said Lt. j.g. T.J. Sulu, from Strike Group Oceanography Team San Diego (SGOT-SD). “You can get caught up in your own community, so being able to see other junior officers’ perspectives helps you to see and understand the bigger picture.”

Given this year’s overwhelming success of both the Pacific and Atlantic iterations of JOUST, efforts are now progressing to make these events occur on an annual basis.

“JOUST was the first event I have attended that allowed cross community flow of information and platform capabilities at the JO level." said LTJG Pete Boets, NOAD WI OIC. "Being able to absorb that information, apply METOC impacts, and inform the group of METOC operational enhancement drove the flow of ideas and free thinking to solve complex strategic and theater level problems at the tactical level. It really opened the aperture on how difficult our problem sets are and how coming together at events like this can drive innovative solutions.”

“As you move forward, I encourage you to continue actively learning, leading, collaborating, innovating, and overcoming barriers – because these are the efforts that will collectively strengthen our team and maintain our overmatch in the undersea domain,” said Jablon during his closing remarks to the group.

NOTE: Republished to Naval Oceanography website to highlight NOAD WI, FST, FWC-SD, SGOT-SD participation!

SGOT-SD’s mission is to generate and deploy multi-spectrum METOC teams to Navy, Joint and Coalition Forces operating in the 3rd, 5th, and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility. SGOT-SD delivers crucial METOC capabilities to forces at sea, based on capability generation ashore, to integrate within Information Warfare forces, in order to achieve our Nation’s military objectives.

U.S. Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command directs and oversees more than 2,500 globally-distributed military and civilian personnel who collect, process, and exploit environmental information to assist Fleet and Joint Commanders in all warfare areas to make better decisions, based on assured environmental information, faster than the adversary.

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