Maritime Advanced Warfighting School

The Maritime Advanced Warfighting School (MAWS) is an integral component of the NWC educational mission to develop strategic and operational leaders with the skills required to plan, execute, and assess combined, joint, and naval operations. MAWS imparts significant maritime and joint planning knowledge and skills to select all-service officers for subsequent assignment to the numbered fleets, Navy components, U.S. combatant commands, and analogous operational war fighting staffs.
Vice Adm. Michael T. Franken, deputy to the commander for military operations, U.S. Africa Command, addresses students, staff and faculty from U.S. Naval War College’s Maritime Advanced Warfighting School in Newport, Rhode Island.

General Information


U.S. military officers ordered to the August convening of the College of Naval Command and Staff are eligible for the 13-month Maritime Advanced Warfighting School. U.S. Navy officers are selected from the slate of unrestricted line warfare, Information Operations, Intelligence, and Supply Corps officers ordered to the CNC&S. Coast Guard, Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force officers are selected via consultation with their respective senior service advisors at the Naval War College.

Location & Duration

MAWS is a 13-month in-residence program offered at the Naval War College in Newport, RI.

Learning Format

MAWS students participate in the CNC&S core courses and expanded electives, delivered in seminar format. This is augmented by a three-month planning exercise, as well as joint and interagency interface opportunities consisting of modules taught by visiting experts, and travel to other sites, including Navy operational commands, for exercises, wargames, and even temporary assignments to Operational Planning Teams (OPTs).


MAWS graduates receive the NWC diploma, M.A. in Defense and Strategic Studies, and certification of JPME Phase I completion. The Naval War College awards joint operational planner designation to MAWS non-Navy graduates for translation into the appropriate service-specific codes. Graduates receive Additional Qualification Designation (AQD) “JP-1.” This AQD is also awarded to Navy graduates of the other advanced warfighting schools (SAMS, SAW, SAASS, and JAWS). Navy officers who attend MAWS or another advanced warfighting school, and then complete operational planner assignments, receive AQD upgrade from “JP-1” to “JP-3.

Program Structure

Fall Trimester

Theater Security Decision Making (TSDM) - 11 weeks

Required | Core Course
The Theater Security Decision Making (TSDM) course educates intermediate military officers and U.S. government civilians in the College of Naval Command and Staff and Naval Staff College on effective decision making and leadership on security issues, focusing primarily at the theater strategic level.

Fundamentals: Operational Art and Doctrine - 10 weeks

Required | Elective
Introduction to MAWS and the Navy planning process; classical thinkers; naval tactics; naval operations; design of major naval operations; operational factors; operational functions; elements of operational warfare; center of gravity development and deconstruction. Review of Joint and Navy Planning documents including and Joint Operation Planning & Execution System (JOPES).

Winter Trimester

Strategy and War (S&W) - 11 weeks

Required | Core Course
The Strategy and War Course examines how the overall strategic environment shapes operational choices and outcomes. In turn, the course also examines the strategic effects of operations, exploring how battlefield outcomes can change the strategic environment.

The Navy Planning Process and the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander (JFMCC) Environment - 10 weeks

Required | Elective
Brief introduction to JFMCC concept, command and control, and force employment considerations for planners; addresses the Navy Planning Process with practical exercise (Joint Intelligence Preparation of the Environment [JIPOE] through course of action [COA] decision).

Spring Trimester

Joint Maritime Operations (JMO) - 17 weeks

Required | Core Course
The Joint Maritime Operations Intermediate Level is designed to prepare mid-career U.S. and international military officers and civilians to expand critical and creative thinking and develop problem solving skills as they pertain to decision making and leadership in the maritime domain. Once grounded in operational art, students learn to balance the ways, means, ends, and risks to achieve theater-strategic, and operational objectives.

Operational Planning Considerations for the Joint Force Commander - 10 weeks

Required | Elective
Introduction to the Joint Task Force construct, and JFC planning processes and organization; JFLCC, JFACC, JFSOCC, and JFMCC employment considerations; JTF boards, centers and cells; joint deployment process and exposure to force flow planning tools. Mini-courses by guest experts on information operations (IO) and effects-based approach to operations (EBaO) are conducted and students participate in a one-week theater campaign wargame (TCWG) with the other advanced warfighting schools at Maxwell AFB.

Summer Capstone

Capstone Planning Project - 12 weeks

Required | Capstone
MAWS students are assigned as adjunct planning teams to a numbered fleet N5 (plans) or a standing Joint Force J5 planning staff, to develop JSCP and combatant commander-directed plans. These plans are typically (although not necessarily) maritime-focused, and each MAWS team conducts the appropriate planning process to meet the commander’s guidance in development of the specific plan. The process includes regular briefings (in-person and VTC) to the Commanders and their staffs.

Incoming Students

Contact Information


Deputy Director

More Information

MAWS students participate in the CNC&S core courses and expanded electives, delivered in seminar format. To learn more about the core curriculum please visit the links below.

Faculty and Students discussing recent topics in class
Other Academic Opportunities

Research & Study Groups

The Naval War College offers several special programs that provide opportunities for you to conduct advanced research at the college. The Special Research Programs fall into two general categories: Advanced Research Program Groups and Individual Research Projects.

Visit Research & Study Groups