Eligibility & Overview

The Online Program curriculum encourages critical thinking in multiple security environments and levels of war. Students study the relationship between security policy and military strategy, as well plan and conduct military operations. Students also examine the roles of political and military leaders in policy formulation, military planning, and the conduct of war. This program can be accessed remotely from any location that has reliable internet access.

Student using a computer at the U.S. Naval War College
Please Note: Students interested in the master’s degree through the Graduate Degree Program must complete all coursework through the Fleet Seminar Program, credit from the online program cannot be transferred.


All applicants applying for this program must:

  • Possess a Baccalaureate Degree (i.e., B.S./B.A.), preferably from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Be currently serving as an active duty officer, reserve officer, or defense-related federal employee. Contracted personnel are not eligible to apply.

Please Note: O2 officers, international officers, congressional staffers, retired service members, or defense contractors are not eligible to apply for this program.

Active and Reserve Officers

Active and reserve officers in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard must be in the grade of O3 and above to be eligible. Active and reserve officers in other military services must be in the grade of O4 and above.

Civilian Applicants

Defense-related federal civilians in the grade GS11 and above, are eligible to apply for the Online Program.

Course Format

Classes consist of 20 students and proceed through the material in accordance with the schedule. Students will interface with the professor and each other using online discussion boards, group projects, individual essays, and other assignments.

The Naval Command and Staff (NC&S) online program is organized into five educational blocks. Students must be committed to completing all blocks during one session.

  • Block 1:  Operating within the National- and Theater-level Security Arenas
  • Block 2: Fundamentals of Strategy
  • Block 3: Operational Art
  • Block 4: Joint Capabilities
  • Block 5:  Joint Planning Process

Please Note: This is not a self-paced program; students will progress through the material in accordance with the schedule.

Program Schedule

The Online Program is offered four times per year, February, May, August, and November. Please see the link below for an upcoming program schedule.


A five-week Foundational Knowledge Course (FKC) will help students become familiar with Blackboard, the Learning Management System, and give them the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to succeed in NC&S.

This pre-requisite is waived if the student has completed a core JPME-I course (Joint Maritime Operations, Strategy & War, or Theater Security Decision Making) through a previous online version, CD-ROM, Fleet Seminar Program, or NWC-at-Naval Postgraduate School course.

Graduate Credit for Courses

U.S. Naval War College awards graduate credits for the successful completion of courses based on the completion year.

February 2020 and Later

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October 1997 to May 2020

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Students can submit work before the due date each week and are not required to log in at a specific time. The average workload is 8-10 hours per week for 41 weeks. Please see the link below for credit on prior coursework.

Computer Requirements

For minimum and recommended computer requirements on taking courses via the online program please see link below.

Mobile Requirements

College of Distance Education Blackboard is currently using the ‘Learn 2012 Theme’, please see the link below for supported mobile browsers once we switch to the ‘Learn 2016 Theme’.


Some books are mailed to the students but most material is available online; students should refrain from marking books that are provided.

Returning Materials

Books must be returned using the postage pre-paid label provided by the College.

Please Note: Students must return their books to receive credit for the program.

Discover More on the Online Program

If you are eligible to apply for the Online Program, please visit the Enrollment page for more information on the application process. Graduate Degree Program students interested in online electives, please visit the Electives & Area of Study page under Graduate Degree Program.