Navy Capt. Tim James, commander of Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) and Naval Support Activity Orlando, provided an update on NAWCTSD events to attendees of the Training and Simulation Industry Symposium (TSIS) in Orlando, Florida, on June 21, 2023.


James began with a quick brief of NAWCTSD’s portfolio, which included aspects of naval warfare beyond aviation that represented more than 400 active deliverables at any given time, and roughly another 200 under development. James said that anything training-oriented in the Navy – beyond naval aviation – often has NAWCTSD involvement, to include surface warfare, undersea operations and international programs, among other areas.


“Speed remains our number one priority,” James said. “There is a lot going on in the world, and we need to get these [training] systems out today…we need to find a way to get those products in [warfighers’] hands now, and do the best we can with the products that are out there. How we iterate with the platforms that are already fielded is going to be the key to success going forward.”


James emphasized that whether a situation involves deterring aggression or winning a fight, the resolution of any event would come down to training. More specifically, how the military synthesizes lessons learned in real time, revises training on the fly, and continues a mission – bearing funding considerations in mind.


“The Department of Defense would love to have trillions and trillions of dollars, but that’s not how the budget is going to play out,” James said. “We have to do the best we can with what we’ve got. Part of that is our work with industry, and there is very little that Navy training commands do without industry.”


James estimated that about 95% of what Navy training commands do, involves working with industry, reinforcing the importance of having a “tight relationship.” He then described the opportunities for outreach and collaboration. Events like TSIS, procurement administrative lead time (PALT) sessions, and the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC), in addition to other events throughout the year, help maintain that relationship and ensure transparency.


“I want to hear how we can make working with NAWCTSD better,” James said.


The final topic James discussed involved what he called “acquisition truths” that he learned from his experience working at Special Operations Command, and he still holds true:


  1. Fast does not mean undisciplined.
  2. More bureaucracy does not ensure a better product.
  3. Risk must be managed, not avoided.
  4. Faster does not have to increase cost/risk.
  5. Competition can be done quickly.
  6. Unconventional thinking is an enabler.
  7. Credibility and transparency enable freedom of action.


“Especially when we’re taking risks, we’re going to be open and up front about it,” James said regarding the final point. “We’re going to build that trust with our leadership and the warfighter that we’re making trade-offs and we’re going to stand behind them. We’re going to learn and move forward to determine what is a better way to take a risk next time.”


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