Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – The U.S. Naval War College (NWC) hosted its second Strategy, Policy and Operational Art Seminar at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, September 11-15. The week-long event was coordinated in partnership with Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (NSGB) and attended by service members from the Marines Security Force Company (MCSF-GTMO) and Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay (JTF-GTMO).
Originally conceived in 2021 by NWC Senior Marine Representative Col. Craig R. Wonson in coordination with Maj. Michael Monaghan, commanding officer of MCSF-GTMO and NWC alum, the event sought to examine Marine-focused PME opportunities for approximately 30 USMC personnel.
“In my discussions with the detachment commander, we saw an opportunity to not only help address the professional development needs of our Marines but also directly support the broader Naval War College mission along multiple lines of effort,” said Wonson.
Since then, the seminar has grown from a two-day to a five-day event after receiving substantially increased interest from around NSGB. The seminar expanded this year to include over 100 personnel across multiple services.
“We tailored our briefs to showcase the kind of material and education NWC students receive and how they think about current global affairs and issues,” continued Wonson. “We looked to incorporate U.S. Southern Command-related material into this second visit primarily to show them how a War College student might approach and examine issues within their region.”
Wonson and fellow Marine Corps NWC faculty Lt. Col. Ken Sandler worked closely with NSGB Commanding Officer Capt. Samuel S. White, Monaghan, and NSGB Installation Program Integrator Denise Havens to organize the event.
“This opportunity was the initial exposure for many on the base to what the Naval War College does and offers. I have received exceptionally positive feedback about the course from attendees, and I’m glad we were able to offer this training opportunity to the service members stationed at NSGB,” said White. “It is an investment in our people. It is also a demonstration of the outreach capability of the Naval War College.”
The seminar included lectures from NWC Professor Mary Thompson-Jones, Col. Steve Shinkel, and Sandler from the National Security Affairs Department, Professor David Stone from the Strategy and Policy Department, and Professor Darren McClurg from the Joint Military Operations College of Distance Education. The schedule of classes ranged from lectures on Strategy and Operational Art to case studies on the security threats posed by China and Russia.
“One thing that stood out from the feedback we received after our first GTMO visit was the number of attendees that said, ‘I had no idea students learned all this great stuff at the War College,’” said Wonson. “I'm confident that if we expand this program to various other commands, both in the U.S. and abroad, we can help people across the force better understand how exactly the Naval War College helps future leaders think critically and help Fleet commanders solve complex problems at the theater level.”