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Commander, Naval Information Forces

METOC Maneuvers in the IW Arena: NAVIFOR / NIWDC Hosts JMSDF OAC

by CTR2 Paige Connelly, NIWDC Public Affairs Office
18 March 2024 On Feb. 26, Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR) Deputy Commander, Ms. Liz Nashold, and Naval Information Warfighting Development Center (NIWDC) Commander, Capt. Bryan Braswell, co-hosted Rear Adm. Izuru Ikeuchi, Commander, Oceanography Anti-submarine Warfare Support Command (OAC) for the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) at the NIWDC Headquarters in Norfolk, Va.  During his visit, Ikeuchi discussed the current and future efforts of the JMSDF to create an Information Warfare (IW) community and was interested in how the U.S. Navy has integrated Meteorology and Oceanography (METOC) into the IW community.

In the IW enterprise, where every element contributes to the overall success of the mission, the role of METOC emerges as a critical force shaping the battlespace at a tactical level.  During the visit, the discussion unveiled not only the leadership dynamics of IW, but also highlighted how the inclusion of METOC into the IW framework is foundational to fleet maneuver and Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO).  The U.S. Naval Oceanography community receives, assimilates, processes, and disseminates vast quantities of data on a daily basis to analyze and predict the intricacies of weather patterns and oceanographic conditions.  This requires significant skill and experience in big-data management and cybersecurity, as well as being able to move the right information, at the right time, to forward deployed units - a common theme that directly aligns METOC with IW’S Battlespace Awareness pillar and highlights integration and dependency between METOC and Assured Command and Control or C2 and Integrated Fires.

Capt. Christi Montgomery, Information Warfare Commander (IWC), Carrier Strike Group TWELVE (CSG-12) and METOC Officer, lent her expertise in both roles.

“At the tactical and operational levels, the Strike Group Oceanography Teams (SGOTs) provide invaluable forecasts that influence real-time decision-making for the entire Strike Group.  Having this capability afloat is crucial to the safety of operations and mission success,” said Montgomery.

The capabilities to predict weather conditions, understand the nuances of ocean currents, and analyze environmental factors become a force multiplier. IWCs, as leaders in their respective Strike Groups (SGs), are tasked with navigating the physical challenges posed by the natural environment.  The strategic advantage of knowing how environmental conditions might affect communication systems or impact surveillance capabilities influences the success of any operation. In essence, the integration of METOC into IW is like adding a maneuver advantage in all warfare domains.

Leading a significant portion of the presentation was Capt. Kenneth Myrick, NAVIFOR Deputy Director of IW Readiness, who broke down the leadership structure and functions of the IWC concept.  For the function of the IWC, their responsibilities demand an even more nuanced approached to leadership and require the ability to synthesize information from their community Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), and more importantly, their Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTIs) to incorporate into the overall strategy.

NIWDC, located in Norfolk, Va., hosts a twice-yearly WTI course for advanced IW training.  Over the course of ten weeks, WTI students are educated on the METOC, Intelligence, Electronic Warfare (EW), and Command and Control (C2) / Cyber Operations (CO) tracks, becoming SMEs in their own right.  In the Fleet, the IWCs alongside the Commanding Officers look to these specialists for their deep tactical knowledge and innovative thinking.

Capt. Ben Snell, Chief of Staff, NIWDC, and former IWC for CSG-12, emphasized that this holistic informational approach is key to understanding the battlespace at the tactical level, particularly in terms of warfighting.  “Adm. Ikeuchi, the ability to fuse information from all warfare domains in order to provide one’s leadership with the decision space to make the most fully informed decision must span from the cognitive to space, and from the EW spectrum to cyber... and it likely begins with the physical domain... understanding the atmospherics is critical,” said Snell.

Ikeuchi expressed interest in how JMSDF could incorporate the U.S. Navy’s Information Warfare model into JMSDF’s training pipeline, noting that the coadunation of METOC into Information Warfare presents a new paradigm - one where our allies from enlisted to officer must possess a holistic understanding of the battlespace.

This visit is part of ongoing collaboration between NIWDC, NAVIFOR, and JMSDF, showcasing the sustained commitment to mutual cooperation.  The discussions held during this exchange underscore the continued partnership between the U.S. Navy and JMSDF, exemplifying the dedication to fostering synergy and effectiveness in joint operations and streamlining IW execution to enhance capabilities as we move into the future.

NIWDC is codifying advanced information warfare (IW) training requirements through the NAVIFOR Training Campaign Plan. NIWDC is in the process of developing additional live, virtual, constructive training nodes, leading to increased maritime tri-service integration. We collaborate with carrier strike group, amphibious ready group, and Marine expeditionary unit commanders to solve our greatest IW problem sets.

For more information on NIWDC, visit the command Facebook page at or the public web page at
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