NAVSCIATTS: Bringing the World Together
16 July 2019
In the current period of renewed global power competition, the Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School’s (NAVSCIATTS) methods of training create a network of international partner nations that operate as a collective, in order to reach across oceans and continents, addressing shared security threats.
Located on the Stennis Space Center along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, NAVSCIATTS provides crucial skills solely to foreign allied countries whose graduates return to their regions with world-class knowledge and technical expertise, which can then be leveraged as force-multipliers in those regions.
“NAVSCIATTS provides world-class training. We have coastal, riverine, ground-based and air-based environments all at our disposal, and within a five-minute drive we can be on land or flying UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles].” explained NAVSCIATTS’ Training Officer Chief Warrant Officer Four Greg Griffin.
The ability to teach a full spectrum of skills that can be adapted to each student’s home environment is the reason Griffin believes that partner nations continue to seek the partnership and expertise provided by NAVSCIATTS.
“Our primary mission is to provide the most realistic and premier training to our partners around the world. We do that in two ways: via in-resident courses where students from their countries come to our command, and through mobile training team engagements and subject-matter expertise down-range in their countries.”
Although NAVSCIATTS has an important relationship with the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) area of operations that dates back to its origins in Panama, Griffin stressed that this Security Cooperation command is a global training facility.
“We still have that heritage with SOUTHCOM, but we are a global command that is focused on geographic combatant commands and theater special operations commands,” said Griffin. “Their countries are looking to increase their capabilities, but also the Navy gets the ability to create a force-multiplier. Because we have created those partnerships when we go down-range, we don’t have to send 100 U.S. troops. Now we only have to send 20, because we know that we have trained those [students] to a certain level and we know what we’re getting.”
Students learn from a variety of instructors, including active-duty Navy Sailors and special warfare combatant-craft crewmen, as well as top-level civilian contractors who teach operational, strategic and tactical courses that include: diesel systems overhaul and maintenance, outboard motor maintenance and overhaul, strategic leadership, patrol craft, and combat lifesaver training.
Although the students are exposed to a number of real-time, high-risk evolutions throughout the tactical courses, the top priority in each phase of training is safety of personnel and equipment.
Abdullah Al-Shatti, an officer in charge of Mark V boats for the Kuwait Naval Force explained during the final exercise of the Patrol Craft Officer – Riverine (PCO-R) course that “safety comes first. Before we start you get safety precautions, safety procedures, safety gear and then you hit the river.”
In the eight-week course, students learn handling and maneuvering techniques for boats, speed variations for coastal and riverine operations, operating boats within tactical formations, as well as weapons handling.
“In high school, you study mathematics, chemistry or biology; and in real life you maybe use five percent of it. But here at NAVSCIATTS, what we got from the instructors, everything that we learned in class or in the boat we did [in] every single step during our final exercise.” said Al-Shatti.
Al Shatti emphasized that performing formation maneuvers with other boats within a riverine environment was a valuable learning experience.
“Being in a group formation with boats in a narrow river, doing all kinds of maneuvers, that is something that came in handy that I can use back home,” he explained.
“Tristan” [real name withheld], a lieutenant in the German Naval Force Protection Battalion, also participated in the PCO-R course and gained new experiences that will enhance his capabilities.
“I am a coastal guy, and what I have learned here is a totally different environment. The riverine environment, the facility and training area here from my point of view is totally unique. It is the best training environment I have ever seen and the training capabilities shown to us are awesome.” Tristan expressed. “It is a great opportunity to be here and to take part in this training.”
The NAVSCIATTS schoolhouse operates under U.S. Special Operations Command and has trained more than 12,000 international students from 121 partner nations since its inception as a U.S. Coast Guard training team in Rodman, Panama. It currently offers 20 courses including small craft strategy, operations, maintenance, communications, weapons and instructor development through in-resident courses and mobile training events.
To learn more about NAVSCIATTS and training opportunities click here.