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Foundation
The next MOPC course is scheduled for March 17 to June 4, 2015.
 
OVERVIEW

The Maritime Operational Planners Course (MOPC) is an eleven week long course that develops planners capable of performing in dynamic, complex, and high-tempo maritime operational environments. The course is available to a select group of officers, O-3 to O-5 en-route or already assigned to a maritime headquarters. MOPC produces officers capable of forming, organizing, and leading operational planning teams and are proficient in the detailed application of the Navy Planning Process. The curriculum is based on Navy, naval, and joint doctrine as well as emerging concepts at Fleet Maritime Operations Centers (MOC) and observations from the Naval War College‘s Assist and Assess Team fleet visits. Graduates of the MOPC are designated Maritime Operational Planners, acquiring the Additional Qualification Designation (AQD) of JPM.
 
BACKGROUND

National defense strategies trending toward Air-Sea Battle and the prominence of the maritime domain increasingly depend on Navy Component Commander’s (NCC) and Numbered Fleet Commander’s (NFC) ability to successfully respond to national requirements. The demands on staff officers at Fleet MOCs have significantly increased as the Navy’s operational level of war capabilities have evolved.  Evolving strategies and future crises require NCCs and NFCs to have an increased planning capability and capacity to meet both routine and crisis planning requirements while simultaneously supporting ongoing operational plan(s) development. In response to these demands, the Naval War College created an intermediate-level planners course that provides more rigor than the five week Maritime Staff Operator Course but not the same breadth and depth of the thirteen month Maritime Advanced Warfighting School. Graduates of the MOPC provide Navy operational level staffs with requisite maritime planning capability and capacity.
 
MISSION

The mission of the Maritime Operational Planners Course is to provide individuals to Fleet staffs who are educated in all facets of the Navy Planning Process and are prepared to immediately and effectively serve on maritime component staffs as skilled planning team leaders and key members.
 
EDUCATION OUTCOMES:
 
The overarching course objectives are to:
Analyze, understand, and apply the Naval Planning Process to create plans, orders, and staff estimates, at the operational level of war throughout the range of military operations.
Review the strategic context, fundamentals of naval and joint operations, operational art, operational design, and the relationship of operational art to strategy and tactics.
Comprehend the organization and functions of a maritime component staff.
Build cohesive and well trained planning teams, fostering effective collaborative relationships and trust among diverse organizations and individuals.
 
EXPECTATIONS OF THE GRADUATE:
 
Able to excel as a planning team member and lead planning teams addressing routine planning problems.
Able to conduct Crisis Action Planning or Deliberate Planning across the range of military operations.
Able to write Navy component supporting plans and orders with select annexes.
Able to interact across all echelons of a joint force and effectively represent maritime perspective as a liaison to higher, adjacent, and subordinate headquarters, and participating interagency and multinational forces.
 
APPROACH

Foundation. The MOPC is a practitioner’s course that examines both the art and science associated with military activities across the range of military operations.  Introductory sessions anchor the MOPC with a review of key operational art and theoretical concepts that form the foundations of planning.
 
Process centric. This course is organized in modules that center on the steps of the Navy Planning Process: Mission Analysis, Course of Action (COA) Development, COA Analysis, COA Comparison and Decision, Plan and Order Development, and Transition. Equally important is the incorporation of several staff functions and activities within the NPP that are also emphasized: command and control, intelligence to include Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment, sustainment, fires (targeting), and protection, assessment, and information operations.
 
Repetition.  The course incorporates seminars and practical exercises using realistic case studies relevant to current global maritime challenges. The MOPC includes multiple in-depth iterations of the Navy Planning Process exposing the students to multiple maritime problems. During each of the nine planning iterations the students are required to execute each step and sub step of the NPP and produce associated products;  information and decision briefs, written directives (plans, orders, FRAGORDS, etc.), and select staff estimate products.
  
Teach, Model, Replicate. The MOPC uses three main scenarios (fictional case studies) as vehicles to: first, teach the students the NPP and the techniques and procedures for each of the planning sub-steps; second, allow the students to exercise the NPP in a controlled environment under moderator guidance and feedback; and third, ensure each student demonstrates facility with the NPP and is able to instruct the planning team in the planning process.
 
OPT Leadership. During each of the planning iterations throughout the course students are formed into planning teams and perform planning and staff processes in support of the mission and planning requirements. Student positions within the planning team are rotated to allow ample opportunity for all students to lead and direct the process, develop directives, and conduct briefings.
 
CAP. Additionally several crisis action planning evolutions are woven through the course to expose the students to utilization of the NPP in a time compressed environment.
 
CONTACTS

Director: Professor Joe Rutledge,  joseph.rutledge@usnwc.edu  401-841-1539

Training Specialist: Mr. Dave Ainslie,  david.ainslie@usnwc.edu  401-841-1968

General admin:  MOPCAdmin@usnwc.edu      401-841-3685