International Maritime Staff Operators Course

The International Maritime Staff Operator Course (IMSOC) was jointly designed by the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) International Programs department and the College of Maritime Operational Warfare to prepare mid-grade international maritime officers, and personnel from other uniformed services and government agencies, to support the planning and execution of complex maritime operations in a coalition environment.
Philippine navy Lt. Arther Jefferson Layug, a U.S. Naval War College International Maritime Staff Operators Course (IMSOC) student, participates in a “Rehearsal of Concept” drill which refines the operational level plan the IMSOC students have developed in response to a fictitious scenario.

General Information


This course is designed for mid-grade international officers but is open to all uniformed military officers, O3-O5 or NATO OF2-OF4. Personnel from other uniformed services and government agencies are also eligible to attend the course. Students must obtain a minimum score of 80 on the English Comprehension Level test.

Location & Duration

The twelve-week curriculum for students is divided into three core components and is taught at NWC in Newport, Rhode Island.

Learning Format

The course is conducted in a seminar format augmented by team planning exercises, tabletop discussions, case studies, and on-site visits.


Students will gain the understanding of art, science, and impact of the maritime domain on multinational operations. They will also learn to apply the Navy Planning Process (NPP) for solving complex maritime problems.

Program Structure

Welcoming New Students


Orientation welcomes new students to the college and includes a tour of the campus, the Newport Naval Station, and city of Newport. It also includes lectures on the history of the college, U.S. government, American society, and U.S. Military culture.

Regional Maritime Capabilities & Challenges

Students from each country will brief the unique capabilities of their nation’s maritime forces, multinational relationships that influence operations in their region, and cultural considerations.

Core Curriculum


Students will study topics ranging from an introduction to Combined Maritime Operations to Operational Law and many of these studied topics will include a practical exercise. Additionally, retired U.S. and international admirals engage with the students during discussions on regional challenges, leadership and optimizing coalition operations.

Navy Planning Process

Students work through the steps of the Navy Planning Process, developing an Operations Order based on a fictitious scenario, the students then transition this order to execution.

Execution Phase

Students rotate between typical Maritime Operations Center (MOC) cells; this rotation helps reinforce the knowledge gained in the foundational and NPP portions of the course.

FSP & Workshops

The Field Studies Program

The Field Studies Program is designed to ensure students gain an understanding of the responsibilities of governments, militaries, and citizens to protect, preserve, and respect the rights of every individual.

Operational Capabilities Workshops

The Operational Capabilities Workshops consists of a visit to Norfolk, Virginia, Naval Station/Joint Expeditionary Base, where students will tour a major naval ship and receive briefs on operational planning. This trip includes a visit to the NATO Allied Command Transformation, Combined Joint Operations from the Sea Centre of Excellence, and U.S. Fleet Forces Command MOC.

Other Venues

Students will visit other venues, on an opportunity basis, that support the curriculum.

Student Information

Contact Information

Program Manager

More Information

Next Steps
To apply for the International Maritime Staff Operators Course, please see the U.S. Representative at the Security Cooperation Office at the U.S. Embassy in your country.

F/A-18 Hornets assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 out of Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., conduct a flyover in Newport, Rhode Island.
F/A-18 Hornets assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 out of Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., conduct a flyover in Newport, Rhode Island. During their visit to Newport, VFA-106 took part in an air show at the Quonset Point Air National Guard Station. As the east coast fleet replacement squadron, VFA-106’s mission is to train FA-18 replacement aircrew to support fleet commitments. (U.S. Navy photo by Edwin “Bo” Wriston/released)