The Strategic and Operational Research Department (SORD) produces innovative strategic research and analysis for the U.S. Navy, the Department of Defense, and the broader national security community. SORD activities fall under the wider mission of Center for Naval Warfare Studies
which is to produce focused, forward-thinking and timely research, analysis, and gaming that anticipates future operational and strategic challenges; develops and assesses strategic and operational concepts to overcome those challenges; assesses the risk associated with these concepts; and provides analytical products that inform the Navy’s leadership and help shape key decisions.
SORD is a center for regional and functional security expertise and analysis at the Naval War College. Regional areas of focus include: Eurasia, the Indo-Asia-Pacific, and the Greater Middle East. SORD faculty members possess in-country experience, historical knowledge, and facility in critical languages including Russian, German, French, Chinese, and Japanese. Consistent with the U.S. Navy’s Language Skills, Regional Expertise and Cultural Awareness (LREC) Strategy, SORD faculty conduct research and teach regionally-oriented electives and research issues of importance to the numbered Fleets, combatant commanders, and other government agencies. SORD faculty members conduct research and analysis in key functional areas of direct relevance to naval strategy, policy, and operations. These include naval strategy and doctrine, naval warfare, maritime security operations, nonproliferation, counter-proliferation, counter-piracy, nuclear strategy and planning, ballistic missile defense, civil-military relations, military transformation, and cyber security. SORD supports the full range of Navy leadership and organizations as well as other elements of the joint force and the U.S. interagency including the Joint Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the intelligence community, the National Security Council staff, the Department of State, and the U.S. Congress.
The department houses a number of specialized institutes, groups, and centers that foster deeper levels of research, analysis, and teaching on subjects of critical interest for the Navy. The Center for Cyber Conflict Studies (C3S) serves as a resource for advancing research, education, and analysis on the strategic and operational challenges of cyberspace for the Navy and the defense of the Nation. The China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) utilizes primary source, Chinese language material and scholarly literature to produce research and analysis focused on Chinese maritime and strategic developments. CMSI publishes on these issues areas, it educates Navy, joint, and civilian national security leaders, and it engages PLA/N and Chinese academics to provide the CNO with another avenue of contact and understanding and to test and advance ideas. In addition, the Russia Maritime Studies Institute (RMSI) conducts similar research to inform U.S. Navy, Fleet, Joint Force, and NATO decision-making with respect to Russian maritime issues.
The department houses four faculty-led student advanced research groups. The Gravely Group uses a variety of research and gaming techniques and focuses on naval capabilities and concepts. Examples of areas where this faculty-led student research group has focused on include integrated air and missile defense, distributed lethality, and unmanned systems with a focus on undersea vehicle concepts. The two Halsey Groups, Alfa and Bravo, focus on researching operational-level scenarios in regions of focus including the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Fleet areas of responsibility. These groups include students directly in research, analysis, and gaming. War Plan Red is a broader group building deeper capability utilizing permanent faculty and contractor support, based on Halsey Group methodologies of detailed continuous war gaming. The Mahan Scholars Research Group focuses on issues of deterrence and nuclear weapons and strategy of interest to the Navy and the broader national security community. In addition to these group advanced research projects, SORD faculty teach a variety of electives, provide lectures of opportunity, support curriculum development as well as supervising individual Advanced and Directed Research Projects.
Recent articles and commentaries published by SORD faculty and researchers include:
Strategic & Operational Research Department
U.S. Naval War College
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Newport, Rhode Island 02841