Course Descriptions


The Naval War College offers the following courses:

Course Descriptions NW-3230 Strategy & War (4–2)

The S&W course is designed to prepare the military officer for the mid-level to advanced stages of a professional career in which he or she may be intimately involved in the interplay between military power and the political process – that is, between strategy, policy, and major operations. The course uses historical examples to demonstrate the military officer's urgent need for a joint and combined warfare perspective on the military profession. That perspective significantly enhances the ability of strategic thinkers and war-fighters to wield the military instrument in support of national goals. In the early stages of an officer's career he or she is trained in tactics. The S&W curriculum, in contrast, is designed to teach officers to think strategically. The course illustrates the relationship between a nation's political interests and goals and the ways military force may be used to achieve them. It focuses on a series of studies that begins with interests, continues through conflict and ends with the final post-war settlement. Academic disciplines of history, political science, military studies, and international relations are woven into a coherent analysis of how wars begin, how they are fought and how they end. The Strategy & War course hones the officer's ability to analyze past operations and apply historical lessons to future joint and combined operations. Three facets of the course develop strategic thought. First and foremost, the course focuses extensively on the strategic analyses that are the cornerstone of strategic thought, particularly the works of Clausewitz and Sun Tzu. Second, the masters' work is used to analyze strategic decisions made during several historical conflicts. Collectively these case studies sharpen the student's understanding of the essence of strategy. Clear, objective and imaginative thinking is the framework for the final part of the course where students consider recent wars as well as conflicts that may occur in the future.

Course Descriptions NW-3285 Theater Security Decision Making (4–0)

The Theater Security Decision Making curriculum educates military officers in the effective selection and leadership of armed forces within national resource constraints, providing instruction in: the strategic planning and selection of future military forces: systematic approaches to programmatic resource choices under conditions of high uncertainty; and the nature of economic, political, organizational and behavioral factors affecting selection and command of military forces. The TSDM curriculum is an executive development course wherein major emphasis is placed on the preparation of officers for intermediate-level command and staff assignments. Selection of concepts and materials is predicated on the belief that an effective career executive does not apply discrete disciplines, but rather is required to synthesize many disciplines relevant to different situations. Moreover, the appropriate point of view is an integrative one that seeks a balanced use of reasoning based on both an academic and professional foundation. For this reason, the TSDM curriculum employs a multidisciplinary approach, synthesizing selective concepts from economics, political science, strategy, operations research, leadership, psychology, management control, and other related fields. All instruction seeks to use the broad experience of the student body and focuses on making and implementing critical decision within the national security environment.

Course Descriptions NW-3275 Joint Maritime Operations (Part 1) (4–0)

The Joint Maritime Operations curriculum develops the ability to translate contemporary national and regional military objectives into naval, joint and multinational operations, with particular emphasis on the operational art and employment of the Sea Services. Thus, it enables officers to make sound operational decisions in both command and staff positions. JMO is an executive development course that emphasizes planning and decision-making factors at the joint task force level for operations in the maritime environment. Planning and executing military/maritime operations requires military officers to make increasing use of many disciplines. This differs from the past where application of a single discrete discipline was more often the norm. Officers must have a firm grasp of military strategy, an understanding of joint and combined operations, and a thorough background in the essential elements of the military planning and decision making process to deploy, employ and sustain U.S. military forces efficiently and successfully, Consequently, the JMO course employs a multi-disciplinary approach, providing the student the opportunity to synthesize various ideas that include maritime strategy, joint and service doctrine, military decision-making, operational planning, naval warfare, military warfare, threat assessment, and war gaming techniques. JMO applies these ideas to military problems requiring decisions in dynamic situations. The integrating themes of the courses are joint maritime operations, the operational level of war, and military-decision making. Emphasis is placed on the ability to identify the military conditions required to achieve strategic goals, the required sequence of actions, resources and associated costs or risks in that process. NW-3275 is the first of a sequence of two classes required to complete the JMO curriculum; it must be followed by NW-3276 to earn credit for the course.

Course Descriptions NW-3276 Joint Maritime Operations (Part 2) (4–0)

This class is the second in a sequence of two classes required to complete the JMO curriculum. PREREQUISITE: NW-3275. (See NW-3275 for info.)