Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center gets new Commander

Jason Austell interviewed Rear Admiral Dave Welch about his new command of the Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center.

Dave Welch is a native of Peoria, Illinois. He is a 1987 graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he received a Bachelor of Science in English. He earned a Master of Arts in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California in 1994, and 2014 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar 21 fellowship.

Welch has commanded the guided missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), Destroyer Squadron 31, and the Surface Warfare Officers School Command in Newport, Rhode Island. His other sea duty assignments included main propulsion and deck division officer on USS Nassau (LHA 4); navigator on USS Ticonderoga (CG 47); flag lieutenant to Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group Eight; engineer officer on USS Anzio (CG 68); and executive officer on USS Lake Erie (CG 70).

Ashore, Welch’s assignments have included three tours in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations; placement and assignment officer in Millington, Tennessee, U.S. Pacific Command as deputy director, Resources and Requirements; and as special assistant in the Office of Legislative Affairs for the Secretary of Defense. Most recently Welch served as director, International Engagements (OPNAV N52).

Welch is the third commander of the Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC). His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal and various other personal, unit and service awards.

SMWDC (pronounced Smid-ick) was established 9 June 2015 to increase the lethality and tactical proficiency of the Surface Force across all domains. SMWDC is headquartered in San Diego and has four divisions located in Virginia and California focused on Amphibious Warfare (AMW), Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD), Ant-Submarine/Surface Warfare (ASW/SUW), and Mine Warfare (MIW). IAMD Division is located in Dahlgren, VA; AMW is located at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base, VA; ASW/SUW is located at Sea Combat Division in San Diego and MIW is located at Point Loma. SMWDC trains and qualifies Warfare Tactics Instructors (WTIs) in IAMD, AMW, and ASW/SUW. Qualified WTIs wear an insignia patch on their uniform which identifies them as experts in their respective surface warfare area.

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