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Commander, Naval Information Forces

Trailblazing Triumph: Reservist Achieves Milestone as First to Earn NIWAWS WTI Course Patch

by Lt. Jennifer Marks, CTR2 Paige Connelly, NIWDC Public Affairs Office
08 May 2024 On May 2, Naval Information Warfighting Development Center (NIWDC) held a graduation ceremony designating twenty-four new Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTI) in its eleventh iteration of the training program.  Among the graduates was the first Navy reservist, Cmdr. Stephen Griffing, N2/N6 Department Head, Navy Reserve (NR) NIWDC, marking another step forward toward reservist integration with active Information Warfare (IW) forces.  
A key focus of NIWDC is the incorporation of reservists, synergizing the lines of effort for both active and reservist components. Capt. Bryan E. Braswell, commander, NIWDC, and Capt. John Nicholson, commander, NR NIWDC, have spearheaded this effort in lockstep, ensuring these essential training opportunities are available for both the active and reservist components wherever possible.
“Active and reserve component integration is essential to the success of our force in competition, crisis, and conflict,” said Braswell.  “Our NIWDC reserve command is a phenomenal team, so we naturally work to include them in the full breadth of opportunities available to our active duty component.”
Griffing graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2006 and served ten years in the Active Component (AC) as an Information Professional before joining the Selected Reserves in 2016.  His resume consists of a variety of commands ranging from Patrol Squadron 46, Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific, Special Operations Command Korea, Naval Forces Central Command’s Task Force 59, Navy Information Operations Command Georgia, and several others.  
“The last ten weeks have been some of the most humbling and enlightening of my entire Navy career, and I learned from the best, both the cadre and my fellow WTI candidates.  I took this course in order to open the door for Reservists to join the Information Warfare WTI Cadre, blazing a trail for those who follow,” said Griffing.  “I have focused my career to enable me to push others beyond where I can go.  This mindset is integral to my vocation, both in uniform and as a civilian.” 
In his professional civilian capacity, he operates as a Cyber-Physical Systems Security Engineer.
The integration of reservists into AC training not only enriches the collective knowledge base but also fosters a culture of versatility and adaptability within the naval ranks.  Reservists bring a diverse array of talents and proficiencies gained through civilian occupations, complementing the specialized training of active-duty personnel.  Griffing hopes to open the way for Selected Reserves (SELRES) Sailors to become WTIs and the support the AC cadre with surge depth and subject matter expertise from their civilian careers.
“Due to the fierce competition in our free market, keeping abreast with the latest technologies and innovations is inherent to the private sector, especially in the information domain.  AC Sailors do not have the time to keep ahead of them while standing the watch and making the most with the capabilities on hand, and the WTIs in essential fleet billets cannot be surged to meet emergent requirements,” Griffing continues.  “The fight before us requires the strategic depth, technical expertise, and flexibility that the Reserve force brings, and these traits are especially in demand for our WTIs. Building and maintaining a cadre of SELRES WTIs, who are seasoned innovative technical experts as well as battle-minded tacticians, is key to providing the fleet with on demand, flexible, and relevant training in environments that civilians cannot go.”
Collaboration between reservists and active-duty personnel provides a synergy to not only enhance operational effectiveness but also presents a forceful backup to ensure our forces remain prepared to confront any challenges that may arise.  By harnessing the reservoir of talent and technical expertise from both the active duty and reservist personnel through the WTI program, the Navy bolsters its capacity to confront the dynamic challenges of IW with a multi-faceted lethality.
“Capt. Braswell and team opened the door for reservists in multiple ways this past year, as we partnered with WTI cadre supporting Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT), fleet exercises and delivering training in the [Indo-Pacific Command] Area of Responsibility (AOR),” said Nicholson.  “Adding the reservist IW WTI qualification is an innovative step to build integration... requires trust and trust is built on performance.  The IW WTI qualification enables reservists to demonstrate that performance, side-by-side with the active component which strengthens integration for the force.”
WTIs have proven to be key force multipliers in the Fleet with dedicated opportunities to learn engineering level detail on key IW weapons systems for developing effective tactics against the most capable of adversaries.  In the IW community, many of the strongest relationships lie with acquisition development agencies, program offices, functional combatant commands, as well as the deeply rooted forces in the Intelligence and Information Communities.  Reservists have the ability to bring the expertise provided in those roles at the aforementioned organizations with the strongly built relationships from their day-to-day work and aid the Fleet in employing their IW tactics with maximum lethality based on their experiences as WTIs and working with NIWDC.
NIWDC is codifying advanced IW training requirements through the Naval Information Forces Training Campaign Plan.  NIWDC is developing additional Live, Virtual, Constructive or LVC training nodes, leading to increased maritime tri-service integration by collaborating with carrier strike groups, 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

Trailblazing Triumph: Reservist Achieves Milestone as First to Earn NIWAWS WTI Course Patch
SLIDESHOW | images | 240502-N-N0798-3004 Cmdr. Stephen Griffing, N2/N6 Department Head, Navy Reserve Naval Information Warfighting Development Center (NIWDC), is flanked by Capt. John Nicholson, commander, NR NIWDC (left) and Capt. Bryan E. Braswell, commander, NIWDC (right), after the Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTI) patching ceremony. Griffing is the first Navy Reservist to complete WTI training. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Leslie E. Ward / Released)
Trailblazing Triumph: Reservist Achieves Milestone as First to Earn NIWAWS WTI Course Patch
SLIDESHOW | images | 240502-N-N0798-3003 Capt. Bryan E. Braswell, commander, Naval Information Warfighting Development Center (NIWDC), presents Cmdr. Stephen Griffing, N2/N6 Department Head, Navy Reserve NIWDC, his letter of completion having graduated from the Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTI) training course, the first Navy Reservist to do so. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Leslie E. Ward / Released)  |  Navy.MIL  |  |  Navy FOIA  |  DoD Accessibility/Section 508  |  No Fear Act  |  Open Government  |  Plain Writing Act  | 
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