JPME Phase I & Master’s Degree

The Master of Arts in Defense and Strategic Studies is a 10-month curriculum for resident students divided into trimesters with core teachings and electives. Core courses are primarily taught in seminar format but include capstone exercises, wargame participation, and writing assignments.
Martin Cook (left), U.S. Naval War College’s (NWC) James Bond Stockdale Chair of Professional Military Ethics talks with Karl Marlantes (right), a Marine Corps veteran about Marlantes’ experiences and observations about the Vietnam War to NWC students, staff and faculty.

General Information

Eligibility

Students are selected to attend the College of Naval Command and Staff (CNCS) by each service based on professional performance. Candidates are intermediate officers (O3-O4) that are Majors or Lieutenant Commanders. In addition, selected departments and agencies are invited to nominate civilian applicants (GS13, or equivalent) for admission. A limited number of Lieutenants can attend CNCS, rank waiver is approved by the Navy Personnel Command.

Location & Duration

The 10-month curriculum for resident students is divided into trimesters and is taught at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, Rhode Island.

Learning Format

Core Courses are primarily seminar format but include capstone exercises, wargame participation, and comprehensive writing assignments.

Outcome

U.S resident students in CNCS are awarded a Master of Arts in Defense and Strategic Studies degree, graduates are also eligible for JPME Phase I certification.

Program Structure

Once Per Academic Year

Leadership in the Profession of Arms

Required | Core Course
This course allows students to recognize their impact on those they lead and enhance their thinking and ethical decision-making for their future leadership roles. It is taken in lieu of a single trimester elective course once per academic year and is assigned depending on a student's schedule.

Fall Trimester

Theater Security Decision Making

Required | Core Course
The Theater Security Decision Making course educates students on effective decision-making and leadership, focusing primarily at the theater strategic level.

Student Selected Elective

Required | Elective
The elective program offers graduate level courses that expand on subjects not in the core curriculum, enhance your regional expertise, or examine core subjects in greater detail. If a student is in the Leadership in the Profession of Arms course, they will not be required to take an elective that trimester.

Winter Trimester

Strategy and Warfare

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

Student Selected Elective

Required | Elective
The elective program offers graduate level courses that expand on subjects not in the core curriculum, enhance your regional expertise, or examine core subjects in greater detail. If a student is in the Leadership in the Profession of Arms course, they will not be required to take an elective that trimester.

Spring Trimester

Joint Maritime Operations

Required | Core Course
The Joint Maritime Operations course prepares students on critical and creative problem-solving skills that pertain to decision-making and leadership in the maritime domain.

Student Selected Elective

Required | Elective
The elective program offers graduate level courses that expand on subjects not in the core curriculum, enhance your regional expertise, or examine core subjects in greater detail. If a student is in the Leadership in the Profession of Arms course, they will not be required to take an elective that trimester.

Incoming Students

Contact Information

Dean of Students Office

More Information

Prepare for your arrival at College of Naval Command and Staff—and see what others have done after completing our program.

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Attend the Naval Staff College International Program

Fostering friendship and breaking barriers

Each year, representatives from more than 40 countries are nominated to attend our 11-month residential program, which is designed to build trust, confidence, and cooperation between American and international officers.

Discover International Program
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Nominated Civilian Applicants for CNCS

Selected Civilian Application

Every academic year, selected departments and agencies are invited to nominate civilian applicants (GS13, or equivalent) for admission to CNCS. Civilian students nominated to the resident program requires a formal application to NWC along with additional information. Please see our Registrar page for more information.

More on Attending as a Civilian