Maritime Security & Governance Staff Course

The Maritime Security and Governance Staff Course is an unclassified five-month course designed to provide officers from small navies and coast guards the knowledge and skills necessary to more effectively promote and achieve maritime security and good maritime governance in their national and regional waters.
Sailors assigned to the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Detroit (LCS 7) and Coast Guardsmen assigned to Tactical Law Enforcement Team South perform non-compliant vessel pursuit training.

General Information


This course is designed for mid-grade international officers but is open to all uniformed military officers, O3-O5 or NATO OF2-OF4. Students must obtain a minimum score of 80 on the English Comprehension Level test.

Location & Duration

The twenty-two-week curriculum for students is divided into ten modules and is taught at U.S. Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, Rhode Island.

Learning Format

The course is conducted in a seminar format with substantive presentations by leading international experts, augmented by team planning exercises, tabletop discussions, case studies, and on-site visits.


Students will gain an in-depth, operational-level understanding of the topic of maritime security and its associated missions. They will also examine and understand the overriding importance of compliance with international and domestic legal and policy requirements, as well as the criticality of effective regional, bilateral, and intra-government collaboration to achieve their maritime security and governance goals.

Program Structure

General Program Overview

Orientation for New Students

New students are welcomed to the college, including a tour of the campus, the Newport Naval Station, and city of Newport.

Course Introduction

Lectures and discussion on the operational level of war, U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard organization, and a structured approach to conceptualizing maritime security missions and their interrelationships.

Examination of Cross-Cutting Substantive Topics

Lectures and discussion regarding concepts of overriding importance to maritime security missions, including maritime law, interagency and international cooperation, and maritime situational awareness.

Examination of Maritime Security Missions (Core Curriculum)

Operational-level expert presentations and moderated discussions regarding the most common maritime security missions conducted by small navies and coast guards, ranging across the full spectrum of maritime security threats and challenges.

Field Studies Programs & Curriculum Field Trips

The course will offer a mix of Field Studies Program (FSP) trips, which are designed to ensure students gain an understanding of the responsibilities of governments, militaries and citizens to protect, preserve, and respect the rights of every individual, and Curriculum Field Trips, which are designed to reinforce topics covered in a course of instruction through experiential learning in the field.

Core Curriculum Focus Areas

Module I – Internal/port focus

Required | Core Course
Missions include maritime safety, maritime security, and marine environmental protection.

Module II – Offshore coast guard focus

Required | Core Course
Missions include combatting IUU fishing, drug interdiction, maritime migrant interdiction, and anti-piracy operations.

Module III – Lower threshold military mission focus

Required | Core Course
Missions include counter-terrorism, maritime interdiction operations, and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief missions.

Incoming Students

Contact Information

Maritime Security & Governance Staff Course

More Information

Field Studies Program Trips
The course will offer a mix of trips. Field Studies Program trips are designed to show how governments, militaries, and citizens have the responsibility to protect, preserve, and respect the rights of every individual. Curriculum field trips are designed to reinforce course topics through experiential learning in the field.

Upcoming Events

July 30, 2024
All Events
Pringle Hall at the U.S. Naval War College