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MANAMA, Bahrain (March 26, 2010) Cmdr. Jim Marion and Cmdr. Eric Dukat from the Naval War College's College of Operational and Strategic Leadership Assist and Assess Team (AAT) facilitate a practical Navy Planning Process exercise for 22 students from over ten different nations during a two-week Commanders Operational Planners Course (COPC) for NAVCENT. (Photo provided by NWC-AAT)MANAMA, Bahrain – Four U.S. Naval War College (NWC) faculty members from the College of Operational and Strategic Leadership joined forces with the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, Maritime Center of Excellence (MCOE), to host a Commander's Operational Planning Course (COPC). 

More than 20 officers from 10 nations in the region are participating in the course, focusing on maritime security, operational planning and long-term relationship building and networking, from March 21 - April 1, at the Headquarters of U.S. Fifth Fleet, in Manama, Bahrain .

The MCOE, as part of Commander, Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), is hosting the conference for students in the pay grades of commander and lieutenant commander, with a large part of the curriculum being provided by the NWC faculty.

Professor Robert McCabe from the Maritime Staff Operators Course (MSOC), and Capt. William Lawler, Cmdr. Eric Dukat and Cmdr. James Marion of the Assist and Assess Team (AAT) are presenting the ten-day course to mid-grade naval and coast guard officers.
MANAMA, Bahrain (March 21, 2010) Commander, Combined Maritime Forces, Vice Adm. Bill Gortney welcomes Yemini Coast Guard Maj. Majed Mastoor and other international naval officers from the region on the first day of the Commander’s Operational Planning Course. More than 20 commanders and lieutenant commanders from 10 countries are participating in the conference at the Maritime Center of Excellence, as part of Combined Maritime Forces, and facilitated by the U.S. Naval War College. (Photo by MC1 Eric Brown)“You were handpicked by your leadership to be here,” said Commander, Combined Maritime Forces, Vice Adm. Bill Gortney during his opening remarks at the conference. “We want to be able to instill in all of you a framework for operational level planning, and improve the effectiveness of future senior leaders in the region.”

Participating nations include Bahrain, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, Yemen, Oman and Egypt.

“We are all here for one thing - maritime stability and security in this region,” Gortney said.

This is the first time the COPC has been held, and it is intended to become an annual event, said Cmdr. Kevin McGowan, deputy director of the MCOE. This course follows from the success of the Combined Force Maritime Component Commander Flag Course, for regional naval captains and admirals, hosted by the MCOE in November.

“The vision of the COPC is planning at the operational level of war, but rather than being in a classroom taught with books, but without any real context, the course is taught in the regionally relevant context of maritime security, with an emphasis on counter-piracy,” McGowan explained. “The commander’s vision for this course is multilateral, with officers from different countries bringing their own perspectives, so it is as much about networking and relationship-building as maritime security and operational planning. These students are participating while they are lieutenant commanders and commanders, instead of waiting until they are flag officers.”

The 24 nations comprising CMF patrol more than 2.5 million square miles of international waters to conduct both integrated and coordinated operations with a common purpose: to increase the security and prosperity of the regionby working together for a better future. CMF is working to defeat terrorism, prevent piracy, reduce illegal trafficking of people and drugs, and promote the maritime environment as a safe place for mariners with legitimate business. CMF counters violent extremism and terrorist networks in maritime areas of responsibility; works with regional and other partners to improve overall security and stability; helps strengthen regional nations’ maritime capabilities and, when requested, responds to environmental and humanitarian crises.

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class(SW) Eric Brown and edited by Naval War College Public Affairs