OAHU, Hawaii –
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.
Among them were five junior officers from the Naval Oceanography enterprise.
“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.”
Naval Oceanography officers who attended JOUST included: LT Sarah Beemiller, Fleet Weather Center San Diego (FWC-SD); LT Gabriel Lackey, Fleet Survey Team (FST); LTJG Petrus Boets, Naval Oceanographic Anti-Submarine Warfare Detachment (NOAD) - Whidbey Island, LTJG Timothy Salu, Strike Group Oceanography Team San Diego (SGOT-SD); and LT Erin Flynn, SGOT-SD
“As the gap between U.S. forces and our near-pear competitors continues to narrow, understanding the physical environment in which we operate is even more critical,” said CAPT Kate Hermsdorfer, Commanding Officer, FWC-SD. “[Naval Oceanography] participation in this event is incredibly valuable in order to tie battlespace awareness to tactical and operational advantages.”
Pacific JOUST focused on developing the U.S. Navy’s future undersea warfare (USW) leaders. Junior officers from the aviation, surface warfare, submarine, naval special warfare, naval oceanography, explosive ordnance disposal, and information warfare communities participated in the event.
“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 Flynn. “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.”
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, as well as toured the platforms these fields work aboard.
“JOUST was engaging from the first brief to the last war game …” said LT Sarah Beemiller, Meteorology and Oceanography (METOC) Officer, FWC-SD. “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.”
Especially impactful for METOC officers was the ability to share their expertise with colleagues in the fleet for greater mission impact.
“Throughout the week, we got an understanding of the challenges involved in undersea warfare, the new technologies being developed to improve our capabilities, and the ever-growing capabilities of adversaries,” said Flynn. “As METOCs, we got to speak to the products we can provide that aid in ASW, such as details about currents, sound profiles, and bathymetry to use in deciding buoy placement for P-8s. We came away with ideas on how we could better inform the ASW missions.”
The capstone of the week was a war game simulation of an amphibious attack by red forces and most of the 50 junior officers in attendance were acting as the blue forces trying to thwart and repel the attack.
“This [JOUST] was the first event I attended with cross-community flow of information and platform capabilities at the junior officer level,” said LTJG Petrus Boets, METOC Officer NOAD. “The ability 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 problems at the tactical level….it really exposed how difficult our problem sets are and how coming together at events like this can drive innovative solutions.”
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 faster than the adversary.