Aegis Training and Readiness Center (ATRC) was formally established as a training command in November 1984. The facility opened for training in October 1985 with the first class of 14 students graduating Dec. 18, 1985, from the

Aegis Computer Fundamentals course. Headquartered at the Rear Admiral Wayne E. Meyer Aegis Education Center, Dahlgren, Va., ATRC's core mission is training military personnel in the operation, maintenance, and employment of the Aegis Combat Weapons System and the operation and employment of the Ship's Self Defense System.

The Aegis Weapons System has evolved into a fast reaction, high performance, computerized system using the latest radar technology to detect contacts and engage threats. The Aegis Combat System is a functional grouping of the Aegis Weapons Systems with Anti-Air, Ballistic Missile Defense, Anti-Submarine, Anti-Surface and Strike Warfare, and associated weapons and communications equipment. Each element of these overall systems is taught at ATRC. As the weapons systems evolve, courses are tailored to support differences between equipment found on the various Aegis ships. After completing intensive training, each student becomes a vital part of their assigned ship's combat systems team and assists in highly detailed procedures designed to ensure total combat readiness of the individual ship and the Strike Group.

ATRC offers technical training courses specifically designed to prepare individuals for serving in a combat system role. Specifically, some fire controlmen and officers learn the Aegis Combat/Weapons System equipped on all U.S. Navy destroyers and cruisers. Likewise, officers destined for certain aircraft carriers and large deck amphibious ships receive training on the Ship's Self Defense System (SSDS).

The Ship's Self Defense System Course of Instruction was added to ATRC's training curriculum in October 2007. The seven-week course provides officers en route to SSDS ships with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to effectively manage and operate the SSDS. Students learn equipment configuration familiarization, Combat Direction Center (CDC)/command and control principles, and tactical decision making. Instruction is comprised of lectures, group discussions, interactive courseware, scenarios, and labs.

Completion of either the Aegis Combat/Weapons System or SSDS is

documented in the student's official training record and students receive a course completion certificate. ATRC courses do not lead to a diploma or degree; however, eligible ATRC courses are evaluated for college credit by the American Council on Education (ACE).

ATRC's traditional school house instruction is delivered 24 hours a day, five days a week. Nearly 1,200 enlisted fire controlmen and 550 officers graduate annually.

ATRC has 153 full-time instructors; approximately two-thirds are military members and one-third are contracted. ATRC employs approximately 200 non-instructional, full-time staff members. Military instructors are typically fleet returnees who bring relevant, recent experience to the classroom. Contracted instructors are typically prior Aegis Sailors who provide continuity to our instructional staff.

Electronic classrooms, electronic

technical manuals, and long-range connectivity allow for continued expansion of the quantity and quality of training to meet growing training requirements. ATRC's ongoing efforts include examining new technologies and training methods for innovative, less costly ways to train to meet new challenges and needs of the United States Navy.