International Maritime Staff Operators Course

The International Maritime Staff Operator Course (I-MSOC) was jointly designed by the United States Naval War College International Programs and the College of Maritime Operational Warfare, to to teach international students the fundamental concepts and processes necessary to support a multinational maritime component commander at the operational level of war. The course uses the US Navy Maritime Operations Center (MOC) as an organizing concept, and is informed by NATO, UN joint and US Naval doctrine, with a special emphasis on the US Navy Planning Process as described in Naval Warfare Publication 5-01.
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


O3-O5 (NATO OF-2 to OF-4) maritime officers with an English Comprehension Level (ECL) of 80.

Location & Duration

I-MSOC is a 12-week course taught at the Naval War College in Newport, RI.

Learning Format

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


The overarching student course objectives are to:understand the art and science associated with planning and conducting coalition maritime operations across the range of military operations, understand the influences in the maritime domain that impact multinational maritime operations, understand the detailed steps of the U.S. Navy Planning Process (NPP), understand the organization and functions of a U.S. Maritime Operations Center (MOC), apply the Navy Planning Process (NPP) in a fictitious scenario, and understand interrelationships between the US NPP and other planning processes (NATO, UN, Civilian/Military etc.)

Program Structure

Element 1

Orientation/Introduction (3 days)

Orientation is designed to “on board” the students to the NWC and will include facility orientation, base and computer access, security awareness, housing, transportation; safety and support to ensure the students are appropriately settled and focused on the course. Students will also be given a brief introduction to U.S. history, government and culture. Introduction is to provide an overview of the course, the various modules, introduce the faculty and course assessment and review process. A series of presentations on the significance of combined maritime operations, and its associated terminology will set the scene for the remainder of the course.

Element 2

US Naval Planning Process and Maritime Operations Center Process (50 days)

The I-MSOC is an introductory course that examines both the art and science associated with military activities across the range of maritime military operations. Initial sessions anchor this section with a review of key operational art and fundamental concepts that form the foundations of the operational level of war. Subsequent sessions teach and apply the U.S. Navy Planning Process in a building block approach using a scenario focused on maritime conflict and maritime stability operations with a non-state actor.

Element 3

Field Studies Program/Operational Capability Workshops (6 ½ days)

The Field Studies Program (FSP) includes trips to visit local maritime security, governmental and academic organizations in order to provide students an opportunity to acquire a balanced understanding of U.S. society and its goals while the Operational Capabilities Workshop (OCP) consists of a visit to Norfolk Naval Station where students will tour a major naval ship, and engage in operational capability discussions with subject matter experts on integration of multinational capabilities.

Element 4

Combined Maritime Operations (4 ½ days)

This module introduces the students to the multinational maritime operations concepts and principles; existing alliances, coalitions, multinational forces and their associated advantages and disadvantages; and operational regional maritime influences. Students will review a number of combined maritime case studies and engage in tabletop analysis of operational level scenarios. Students will be introduced to the interrelationships between the US NPP and other planning processes (UN, NATO, and Interagency).

Incoming Students

Contact Information

Program Manager

More Information

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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)
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