By Lt. Jason Bilbro, USN
NEWPORT, R.I. (Sept. 22, 2014) — Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) hosted the commander of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy Sept. 18.
Adm. Wu Shengli was accompanied by seven officers from the PLA Navy staff and given a tour of schoolhouse trainers by Capt. Dave Welch, SWOS commanding officer. They also participated in a roundtable discussion with 12 prospective commanding officers in class at SWOS.
The tour included stops at a Full Mission Bridge (FMB) simulator which provides students a 360-degree virtual environment that can simulate every Navy homeport and other ports regularly visited around the world. Also on the tour were the guided missile destroyer (DDG) full-size engineering trainer, the two littoral combat ship (LCS) Full Mission Bridge Trainers, and the Multi-Mission Tactical Trainer facilities that provide students with hands-on training of ship engineering systems.
Throughout the tour Welch briefed Wu on the continuum of SWO training and discussed the science of learning strategy employed by SWOS.
“It was fascinating to sit next to Admiral Wu as he engaged with our prospective commanding officers,” Welch said. “He was candid, provided thoughtful and detailed responses, and took much more time than was originally planned. He clearly enjoyed the opportunity for this dialogue.”
Welch also noted that the roundtable discussion provided a unique opportunity for direct interaction between future American commanding officers and China’s CNO-equivalent. The admiral provided a summary of his background and experience, then fielded a wide variety of questions over the course of an hour and a half.
Wu’s PLA Navy career spans 50 years. He joined the PLA Navy in 1964 and within 10 years was serving as deputy captain and subsequently as captain of a PLA Navy frigate. Following his frigate tour he served as captain of a PLA Navy destroyer for eight years. He began an assignment as deputy chief of the PLA general staff in 2004, prior to assuming his current position as commander of the PLA Navy. He has held the rank of admiral since 2007.
SWOS uses a mix of blended-learning techniques comprised of instructor-led classes, hands-on labs, high fidelity, physics-based simulation and computer-based training. Courses include specialized training supporting all enlisted engineering ratings, and surface warfare officers at every level. Building maritime partnerships, the command also provides training to international students. SWOS oversees nine learning sites, providing more than 1,000 courses a year to 67,000+ Sailors.
Lt. Jason Bilbro is a Public Affairs officer at the Surface Warfare Officers School Command.