The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


NSA-PC Brings SWARMEX to Successful Close

Navy Newsstand

Story Number: NNS040323-18

Release Date: 3/24/2004 10:40:00 AM

By Jacqui Handwork, Naval Support Activity Panama City Public Affairs

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (NNS) -- The second interagency Swarming Exercise (SWARMEX) wrapped up March 12 and its players, Naval Support Activity, Panama City (NSA-PC), Fla., members of the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 67) Carrier Strike Group and U.S. Customs, all said the training was "very valuable."

The SWARMEX was designed to test a ship or strike group's vulnerability and defense tactics, by using small boats acting as an opposing force to swarm larger U.S. Navy vessels. The swarming vessels, which in this SWARMEX were provided by U.S. Customs and Kings Bay Submarine Base, Kings Bay, Ga., moved at different rates of speed in different approaches and other asymmetric tactics to stress the ship's security forces.

"It proved to be realistic scenarios that benefited the combat readiness of fleet units against swarm attacks," said NSA-PC Installation Commander Cmdr. Bob Findley. "We'll definitely do more."

"NSA-PC was involved with this because of the wealth of knowledge and expertise we bring to this type of training - and we did," said NSA-PC Operations Director George Betz. "We held the first east coast SWARMEX with an ESG [Expeditionary Strike Group] - the USS Wasp (LHD 1) ESG - back in December, and this was our first time working with a carrier strike group."

Working as a NSA-PC team, Port Operations Officer Lt. Kevin Downing and Fleet Liaison Senior Chief Electrician's Mate (SW) Eric Haberle bring their fleet experience to keep the exercises as realistic as possible.

"The exercises are designed by a SWO (Surface Warfare Officer) - for a SWO - to maximize the training benefit," Downing said.

"Senior Chief Haberle coordinated the planning and scheduling with CARGRU4 [Carrier Group 4] personnel, and Lt. Kevin Downing was on-craft SWARMEX operations director on all missions," Betz said.

"U.S. Customs support was imperative to the success of the SWARMEX. They're knowledge of ship handling and small boat maneuvers proved to be the key to the high level of training conducted," Haberle said.

Carrier Group 4's Chief of Staff Capt. Rick Rikard said the SWARMEX training provided new perspectives on ways to increase a ship's defenses. Rikard rode in a Customs fast boat during swarms on USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) and USS Taylor (FFG 50).

"Small boat engagement training provides an excellent opportunity for ships to practice anti-terrorist small boat procedures against a realistic and formidable simulated threat. The simulated threat allows the force to exercise their detection to engagement process to engage sequence, which includes detection and identification of the threat, determination of intent, the issuance of appropriate warnings, proper weapons selection, and if necessary, engagement," Rikard said. "During this exercise, the Carrier Strike Group had the opportunity to exercise the complex command and control, as well as the integration of fixed and rotary wing aircraft to neutralize the threat to the force."

The training also incorporated simulated stinger missile attacks using props to represent rocket propelled grenade-hits on strike group assets.

Join the mailing list