The goal of JLASS is to promote the joint professional military education of all participants by addressing key issues at the strategic and operational levels of war. JLASS enhances and expands participants’ awareness of combined/joint staff and unified command issues by employing joint forces to execute national and theater level strategies. It prepares joint war fighters by providing the opportunity to develop, apply, and adjust theater strategies.

Naval War College senior students who participate in the JLASS elective take the Joint Military Operations Phase II core course during the fall trimester and the Theater Strategic Planning—the Pacific elective (FE-535A). The electives WE-535B and SE-535C reinforce the theater-strategic planning Phase II Joint Professional Military Education requirements covered in the JMO core curriculum. These three elective courses collectively build upon the concepts introduced in the core Joint Military Operations course.

JLASS involves distributed planning with the other Senior Level Colleges (SLCs) and culminates in a futuristic, two-sided, computer-supported wargame played at the Air Force Wargaming Institute (AFWI), at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. The six SLCs play appropriate U.S. and combined Blue forces. Students are thrust into the roles of theater supported and supporting commanders in a multiple contingency scenario in Asia Pacific. Students analyze, plan and issue orders according to the Joint Operations Planning and Execution System (JOPES) in the context of Joint Crisis Action Planning. The exercise phase consists of a five-day war game in which the students execute their campaign plan developed during the distributed planning phase and employ joint forces at the strategic and operational level to support national and theater level strategies.

JLASS is a Naval War College theater campaign planning elective course, which is linked to the following six SLCs:

  • The US Army War College (USAWC) in Carlisle, Pennsylvania
  • The Naval War College (College of Naval Warfare) (CNW) in Newport, Rhode Island
  • The Air War College (AWC) in Montgomery, Alabama
  • The Marine Corps War College (MCWAR) in Quantico, Virginia
  • The Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF) in Washington, DC
  • The National War College (NWC) in Washington, DC


The Army and Air Force sponsored a series of computer-assisted simulations called CARMAX (for Carlisle and Maxwell) from 1983–1985. CARMAX played the Air-Land Battle in the Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT) area of responsibility. The U.S. Army War College (USAWC) and the Air War College (AWC) conducted the exercise simultaneously using a microcomputer interface for communication. The CARMAX project improved mutual understanding between the Army and Air Force war colleges regarding joint service procedures, doctrine, and operations. Portions of the CARMAX simulation were incorporated into exercises within the core curricula of both colleges. By 1985, CARMAX had achieved its objectives, and a new series of exercises evolved to include sea and space along with air and land dimensions.

The new series was called Joint Land Aerospace Sea Simulation (JLASS) and was sponsored by the SLCs from 1986–1988. Exercises in this series included April 1986 (Central Europe) in a partially distributed exercise; April 1987 (Korean Peninsula) at the Naval War College; and May 1988 (Korean Peninsula) at the Air Force Wargaming Institute (AFWI). A second series of JLASS games was agreed upon for the next five years, 1989–1993, and a third series for the years 1994–1998. All exercises in these series were conducted at AFWI within a Pacific theater of war scenario. Enhancements made during this series included: expanded Special Operations forces play (assisted by the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School), expanded logistics play (supported by the Industrial College of the Armed Forces), the addition of the Marine Corps War College as an exercise participant, and distributed war gaming via video teleconferencing.

The current exercise series continues JLASS at the AFWI. The game is constantly refined and adapted to the changing strategic environment to offer the best possible joint operational level/educational level gaming experience.


The overall goal of the JLASS war game is to enhance joint professional military education through an exercise that examines potential U.S. military responses to regional crises. This exercise focuses on joint and multinational warfare, primarily at the operational and strategic levels. The following objectives support this goal:

  • Promote joint education through an active learning process addressing issues at the strategic and operational levels of war
  • Translate national security and military strategy/objectives into theater campaign plans
  • Enhance and expand awareness of Joint Staff and unified command issues through the application of joint forces in support of national and theater level strategies involving multinational and interagency partners
  • Exercise operational art during joint campaign planning and execution of a theater strategy
  • Develop insights into information age operations
  • Integrate all elements of national power
  • Design and exercise theater command and control processes and relationships.
  • Apply an understanding of U.S. military force structure, its capabilities and limitations
  • Comprehend the challenges facing a joint and multinational force employing future military and commercial systems in the 21st century.


The principle methodology of the course is seminar discussion emphasizing an active learning environment. The course builds upon concepts from history, strategy, naval and military operations, decision-making, and gaming theory, as well as the professional experience of students and moderators. A tough-minded, questioning attitude and student willingness to enter into a rigorous discussion are central to the success of the course.

The course will focus on preparing seminar members to function effectively as members of the U.S. Pacific Command staff. The course offers a combination of structured instructional sessions and planning time devoted to preparing JLASS war game plans and emphasizes active learning through the preparation of plans and orders that will be subsequently executed in the JLASS war game. A novel feature of the course is the opportunity to interact with students from the other SLCs through video teleconferencing and student conferences, as well as the week-long interactive phase during exercise play at Maxwell AFB.



College of Naval Warfare students who take the Theater Strategic Planning - the Pacific elective, also participate in the Joint Land, Aerospace, and Sea Simulation (JLASS) electives in the winter and spring. This fall elective is designed to give the JLASS students a better understanding of the strategic issues impacting security in the Pacific and should facilitate regional planning that will be conducted during the next semester elective where the JLASS students produce a theater estimate and security cooperation plan for PACOM (based on a future World Summary written ten years out).

-- Fall trimester: 10 sessions over ten weeks.


This elective focuses on the development of Theater Security Cooperation (TSCP). It examines the TSCP planning process and assists in the comprehension of the linkages of national security strategy, national military strategy, and theater strategy. This elective also enables students to examine a Combatant Commander’s Theater Security Cooperation Plan (TSCP) and how it is developed from national level guidance. Students use the annual JLASS World Summary to develop PACOM Theater Strategic Cooperation Plan that will be briefed to a JLASS Senior Mentor during the first two weeks of January each year.

-- Winter trimester: 10 sessions over ten weeks.


The students, acting as members of U.S. Pacific Command, develop a campaign plan for joint and multinational operations in the Pacific Theater. Students brief the Campaign Plan to the Provost of the Naval War College or the JLASS senior mentor in April each year. Teams from CNW and the other SLCs will exercise the plan in a one-week, two-sided, computer-assisted war game to be played at Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, Alabama, in mid-April.

-- Spring trimester: 7 sessions and one-week war game over eleven weeks.

The overall goal of the three JLASS elective series is to build on the core curriculum of the College of Naval Warfare and thus develop theater strategic planners.

Contact Information

The College of Naval Warfare (CNW) JLASS Seminar is looking for August arrival (June graduate) students with expertise in any of the following areas:

  • Operations
  • Planning
  • Intelligence
  • Strategic Communications
  • Information Operations
  • Security, Stability, Transition, and Reconstruction (SSTR) Operations
  • Naval Ops (Air, Subsurface, and Surface)
  • Land Operations
  • Air Operations
  • Special Operations
  • Interagency/Civil-Military Operations
  • Logistics

If you have any of these skills, ability to work with a team, and individual motivation please sign up for FE/WE/SE 535—Joint Land Aerospace and Sea Simulation (JLASS). The JLASS Course Director may be contacted at 401-841-7361 and the JLASS Lead Moderator may be contacted at 401-841-7297.

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