Maritime Operational Planners Course

The Maritime Operational Planners Course (MOPC) develops planners capable of performing in dynamic, complex, and high-tempo maritime operational environments. The curriculum is based on Navy, naval, and joint doctrine as well as emerging concepts at Fleet Maritime Operations Centers (MOC) and observations from the Naval War College's (NWC) Assist and Assess Team fleet visits.
U.S. Naval War College building

General Information


The course is available to a select group of officers, O-3 to O-5 en-route or already assigned to a maritime headquarters.

Location & Duration

MOPC is an eleven-week course offered twice yearly (Spring and Fall) at the Naval War College in Newport, RI.

Learning Format

The course incorporates seminars and practical exercises using realistic case studies relevant to current global maritime challenges.


Graduates of the MOPC are designated Maritime Operational Planners, acquiring the Additional Qualification Designation (AQD) of JPM. In addition, MOPC graduates receive credit for Blocks 4 and 5 of CDE's Web-enabled or CD-ROM based JMO course; once graduates have successfully completed CDE JMO Blocks 1, 2, and 3, they have completed CDE JMO.

Program Structure

Element 1


The MOPC is a practitioner’s course that examines both the art and science associated with military activities across the range of military operations. Introductory sessions anchor the MOPC with a review of key operational art and theoretical concepts that form the foundations of planning.

Element 2

Process Centric

This course is organized in modules that center on the steps of the Navy Planning Process: Mission Analysis, Course of Action (COA) Development, COA Analysis, COA Comparison and Decision, Plan and Order Development, and Transition. Equally important is the incorporation of several staff functions and activities within the NPP that are also emphasized: command and control, intelligence to include Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment, sustainment, fires (targeting), and protection, assessment, and information operations.

Element 3


The course incorporates seminars and practical exercises using realistic case studies relevant to current global maritime challenges. The MOPC includes multiple in-depth iterations of the Navy Planning Process exposing the students to multiple maritime problems. During each of the nine planning iterations the students are required to execute each step and substep of the NPP and produce associated products; information and decision briefs, written directives (plans, orders, FRAGORDS, etc.), and select staff estimate products.

Element 4

Teach, Model, Replicate

The MOPC uses three main scenarios (fictional case studies) as vehicles to: first, teach the students the NPP and the techniques and procedures for each of the planning sub-steps; second, allow the students to exercise the NPP in a controlled environment under moderator guidance and feedback; and third, ensure each student demonstrates facility with the NPP and is able to instruct the planning team in the planning process.

Element 5

OPT Leadership

During each of the planning iterations throughout the course students are formed into planning teams and perform planning and staff processes in support of the mission and planning requirements. Student positions within the planning team are rotated to allow ample opportunity for all students to lead and direct the process, develop directives, and conduct briefings.

Element 6

Crisis Action Planning (CAP)

Additionally several crisis action planning evolutions are woven through the course to expose the students to utilization of the NPP in a time compressed environment.

Incoming Students

Contact Information

MOPC General Admin

More Information

Future Course Offerings
18-2: 16 Aug - 8 Nov
19-1: 26 Feb - 17 May
19-2: 26 Aug - 22 Nov
20-1: 25 Feb - 15 May
20-2: 25 Aug - 20 Nov
21-1: 23 Feb - 14 May
21-2: 23 Aug - 19 Nov

U.S. Naval War College main building
Education Outcomes

Overarching course objectives

Analyze, understand, and apply the Naval Planning Process to create plans, orders, and staff estimates, at the operational level of war throughout the range of military operations. Review the strategic context, fundamentals of naval and joint operations, operational art, operational design, and the relationship of operational art to strategy and tactics. Comprehend the organization and functions of a maritime component staff. Build cohesive and well trained planning teams, fostering effective collaborative relationships and trust among diverse organizations and individuals.

Books on a shelf at the Learning Commons
Education expectation

Expectations of the graduate

Able to excel as a planning team member and lead planning teams addressing routine planning problems. Able to conduct Crisis Action Planning or Deliberate Planning across the range of military operations. Able to write Navy component supporting plans and orders with select annexes. Able to interact across all echelons of a joint force and effectively represent maritime perspective as a liaison to higher, adjacent, and subordinate headquarters, and participating interagency and multinational forces.