Commencing 2018, the International Maritime Staff Operator Course (I-MSOC) is a twelve week course jointly designed by the United States Naval War College (USNWC) International Programs and the College of Operational and Strategic Leadership, to provide international naval officers the skills needed to support the planning and execution of maritime operations and integrate with existing operational planning teams. Designed to meet the learning needs of O3-O5 (NATO OF-2 to OF-4) maritime officers with an English Comprehension Level (ECL) of 80, the course uses the US Navy Maritime Operations Center (MOC) as an organizing concept, and is informed by NATO, UN joint and US Naval doctrine, with a special emphasis on the US Navy Planning Process as described in Naval Warfare Publication 5-01.
Throughout history, the uses of alliances and coalitions have enabled nations to maximize regional capabilities without reducing overall capacity. US Naval leadership continues to reiterate the importance of building alliances:
The National Security Strategy (February 2015)
A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower (CS-21R (March 2015)) - The reality of today is that we have to think about the global network of navies
CNO’s “A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority (January 2016)
Expand & strengthen our Network of Partners
Deepen operational relationships with allies and partners who operate with the Navy to support our shared interests
Information sharing, interoperability initiatives and combined operations
The USNWC continues to support this guidance through its Mission and strategic objectives in Supporting Combat Readiness, and Strengthening Global Maritime Partnerships. The I-MSOC has been established in response to the above and requests from maritime partners to provide education and training available in the highly successful and enduring U.S. Maritime Staff Operators Course (MSOC).
The mission of the International Maritime Staff Operators’ Course is to teach international students the fundamental concepts and processes necessary to support a multinational maritime component commander at the operational level of war.
The overarching student course objectives are to:
- UNDERSTAND the art and science associated with planning and conducting coalition maritime operations across the range of military operations
- UNDERSTAND the influences in the maritime domain that impact multinational maritime operations
- UNDERSTAND the detailed steps of the U.S. Navy Planning Process (NPP)
- UNDERSTAND the organization and functions of a U.S. Maritime Operations Center (MOC)
- APPLY the Navy Planning Process (NPP) in a fictitious scenario;
- UNDERSTAND interrelationships between the US NPP and other planning processes (NATO, UN, Civilian/Military etc.)
EXPECTATIONS OF THE GRADUATE:
Throughout the course students engage in practical exercises, including table top discussions, presentations and written briefs. Their capabilities are further challenged by two separate week long Command Post Exercises, during which students execute the actual tasks associated with service in the MOC, including those associated with current operations, future plans, future operations, and assessment, thus providing them with the hands on experience necessary to confidently add value to a multinational maritime headquarters on their first day.
Thus on completion of the course the student will be able to:
- Perform as a staff officer on national or combined maritime staff.
- Apply the fundamental concepts of operational art in developing plans or conducting operations in a multinational maritime environment;
- Contribute to the conduct of the U.S. Navy Planning Process as a member of an Operational Planning Team (OPT).
Orientation/Introduction (3 days)
Orientation is designed to “on board” the students to the NWC and will include facility orientation, base and computer access, security awareness, housing, transportation; safety and support in order to ensure the students are appropriately settled and focused on the course. Students will also be given a brief introduction to U.S. history, government and culture
Introduction is to provide an overview of the course, the various modules, introduce the faculty and course assessment and review process. A series of presentations on the significance of combined maritime operations, and its associated terminology will set the scene for the remainder of the course.
Regional Maritime Capabilities/Challenges. In order to enhance the student’s overall understanding of global maritime issues, students from each country will be responsible for briefing interagency, national and multinational maritime influences in their region.
US NPP and MOC Process (50 days)
Foundation. The I-MSOC is an introductory course that examines both the art and science associated with military activities across the range of maritime military operations. Initial sessions anchor this section with a review of key operational art and fundamental concepts that form the foundations of the operational level of war. Subsequent sessions teach and apply the U.S. Navy Planning Process in a building block approach using a scenario focused on maritime conflict and maritime stability operations with a non-state actor. Finally, the students will apply and refine their knowledge in formulating plans and orders for specific maritime missions.
Process Centric. This course is organized in modules that center on Foundations (Operational Art and Maritime Command and Control), Planning and Preparation (NPP), and Execution (capstone exercises).
Operational Planning Team (OPT) Contribution. Throughout the course students are formed into teams and perform staff processes in support of the mission and planning requirements. Student positions within the team are rotated to allow ample opportunity for all students to lead and direct the process and conduct briefings. The course moderators initially provide significant oversight and modeling of student processes, gradually decreasing involvement as skills are developed.
Field Studies Program/Operational Capability Workshops (6 ½ days)
The Field Studies Program (FSP) The FSP includes trips to visit local maritime security, governmental and academic organizations in order to provide students an opportunity to acquire a balanced understanding of U.S. society and its goals
Operational Capabilities Workshop (OCP) The OCP consists of a visit to Norfolk Naval Station where students will tour a major naval ship, and engage in operational capability discussions with subject matter experts on integration of multinational capabilities. This trip provides the students with the opportunity to engage in practical application of the operational level competencies they are developing through the course.
Combined Maritime Operations (4 ½ days)
The CMO module introduces the students to the multinational maritime operation’s concepts and principles; existing alliances, coalitions, multinational forces and their associated advantages and disadvantages; and operational regional maritime influences. In addition students will review a number of combined maritime case studies and engage in focused table top analysis and discussion of complex operational level scenarios. Students will also be introduced to the interrelationships between the US NPP and other planning processes (UN, NATO, and Interagency).
Curriculum Manager: Michael Hallett
IMSO: Randy Wietman
IMSOC Quality and Assessment
This is YOUR course, and your input is essential. To assist International Programs/COSL in designing and executing a course that meets international student learning needs, students are required to complete an ongoing assessment of learning objectives to ensure that individual comprehension of the lesson is achieved before progressing. In addition to providing daily feedback as the course progresses, a final course assessment will be conducted through an online anonymous survey and a personal interview. The questionnaire is designed to allow students to comment on and critique session topics, readings, moderator guidance and support, lectures, and so forth with the objective of improving successive course offerings. Instructions for access will be provided during the initial orientation