Importance of Navy Training
Realistic training is the single greatest asset the military has in preparing and protecting Navy personnel. “Train As We Fight” is not just a phrase. It is a statement of the absolute necessity to realistically train the men and women in uniform for the conditions in which they may find themselves while protecting the nation.
Realistic training requires access to areas and environments that closely match the locations where our military may face combat or complex situations. International events, changes in naval strategy, force structure, base closures, and population growth are increasing the challenges the Navy faces in training its personnel to be prepared to defend the nation. To respond to these challenges and increase the sustainability of Navy ranges, the Navy has launched a number of efforts to preserve training ranges while also minimizing environmental effects of training activities. One such effort is the transition to managing training at a range complex-wide level to optimize the use of Navy ranges and provide for the efficient use of resources. The individual planning units are the range complexes.
Comprehensive training is required to be prepared for real life combat situations and to provide maximum protection to service men and women who go in harm’s way. A variety of training exercises are conducted in the safe and controlled environments of the Navy’s range complexes, including:
|Gunnery & Bombing||Missile firing|
|Torpedo firing||Vessel Movements|
|Aircraft Operations||Mine hunting and detonation|
What are Ranges?
|“Ranges” are locations where the Navy personnel train to accomplish their mission of national defense. Ranges are grouped into complexes. A “range complex” is a designated area used by the Navy to conduct necessary operations and training exercises. Having a designated range complex allows our military to train and perform required exercises against a simulated enemy in an environment that is safe and controlled for our sailors and for other users of the area. Ensuring sustained use of Navy ranges, operational areas and airspace is a growing challenge as encroachment from various sources limits and sometimes restricts their use. Yet Navy personnel require access to continued, consistent, and realistic training opportunities using ever-advancing technologies to defend our country.|
Preserving Navy Training Ranges
The Navy has developed a comprehensive approach to “sustain” or preserve ranges for continued training access. The Tactical Training Theater Assessment and Planning (or “TAP”) program is a multi-faceted approach focusing on:
Mission readiness and strategic vision;
Operational and training requirements, and enhanced range complex capabilities;
Environmental and encroachment issues;
Stakeholder and public involvement; and
The objectives of the TAP program are to ensure the readiness of Navy personnel and promote sustainability of Navy ranges. Preserving ranges means actively managing resources to promote sustainability, including protecting natural and cultural resources and minimizing effects on the environment.
Train As We Fight
Training to prepare for national defense also is required by Title 10 of the U.S. Code which states: “The Navy shall be organized, trained, and equipped primarily for prompt and sustained combat incident to operations at sea.”
Navy training includes:
Classroom and simulated training.
Basic level training involves individual Navy units and typically lasts for less than one day.
Intermediate level training – involves coordinated exercises and integrated training involving a carrier strike group, which is composed of aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates, cruisers, submarines and support ships. After completion of this training, units are considered “surge ready,” meaning they
Advanced level training – occurs during large-scale Joint Task Force Exercises, which last about 10 days and result in certification for deployment. Basic level training and components of intermediate and advanced level training occur in the SOCAL Range Complex.
Training can include jet aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles, and can involve deployment of guns, missiles or sonobuoys used to detect underwater sounds. Training can be against a mock enemy ship, submarine or other aircraft. Unmanned aerial vehicle events are predominantly used for training in surveillance and intelligence gathering.
The Navy uses vessels ranging in size from rubber hull inflatable boats to aircraft carriers. Training can include activities geared toward improving navigation skills, object recognition through sonar use, underwater mine avoidance, and anti-terrorism measures. It can also involve gun or missile firings. Amphibious vessels are used for the movement of military forces from sea to shore or vice versa. Smaller ships generally train in shallow water areas to practice skills such as drug interception and the defense of larger ships.
Submarine training involves tracking ships or other submarines, and can include simulated attacks on surface ships or submarines. These activities may also involve the use of passive sonar (listening) for tracking purposes. Active sonar, which allows the Navy to “see” underwater by emitting pulses of sound, may also be used at a more limited level. Submarines also practice training activities for mobility in complex environments and situations, underwater mine avoidance and the deployment of special operations forces.
Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E)
RDT&E includes the development of new weapons systems or weapons delivery platforms. These efforts allow the Navy to increase their understanding of the actual battlefield environment, improve weapon design and system performance, and maintain the technological edge necessary to meet future military requirements.