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NEWPORT, R.I. - The Naval War College (NWC) completed its thirteenth advanced warfighting school class with the graduation of 27 students on September 8.
 
The Maritime Advanced Warfighting School (MAWS) is thirteen months long and provides officers in the ranks of lieutenant commander and major with planning knowledge and extensive skills in leadership and advanced war-fighting for follow-on assignments to operational planner billets.
 
NEWPORT, R.I. (September 8, 2010) Rear Adm. Phil Wisecup stands with the Maritime Advanced Warfighting School graduation class of 2010. (Photo by MCC (AW/NAC) Robert Inverso)The Navy offers this intensely specialized education so that officers can immediately step into critical operational planner billets, according to Capt. Pat Molenda, the MAWS Director.
 
“There are approximately 150 such specially-designated billets on operational staffs,” Molenda said. “In a 21st century of complicated threat and opportunity, joint, Navy component, and numbered fleet commanders increasingly require officers who are warfare proven, skilled in operational planning, and know how to apply maritime power effectively. Such skills are essential in an environment of exceptional speed and complexity—officers must develop them through practical experience built upon a solid educational foundation. MAWS is that foundation.”
 
This year's graduates were selected in spring 2009 and commenced studies in August 2009. The class included three Army Soldiers, 16 Navy officers, three Marines, one Coast Guardsman, and four Air Force Airmen.
 
“This has been a great year to meet people from each branch of the military and learn how the other Services function,” Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Mark Walsh said. “I’ve built relationships here which will last a lifetime and I’ve developed skills that will serve me well at my new command in Colorado Springs, Colorado.”
 
Other graduates applauded the high caliber of instruction and professionalism that they found at NWC.
 
“The MAWS experience has allowed me to make the transition from a tactical-level thinker to an operational-level thinker,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Anderson, whose next assignment will be in a combatant commander logistics position with STRATCOM J4. “The well-rounded instruction in logistics that I’ve received at the War College has prepared me thoroughly for new responsibilities.”
 
Maj. Mike Manning, who serves in the Rhode Island National Guard and is the first Army National Guard officer to complete the MAWS, found the experience to be uniquely motivating and satisfying.
 
“The Naval War College and MAWS has been a fantastic experience for me and my family. I’ve also had the opportunity to work alongside the best people I’ve ever met,” Manning said. “After graduation I’ll be back at the National Guard and serve as their legislative liaison and strategic planner.”
 
From August 2009 to June 2010, the students attended the Naval Command and Staff resident intermediate curriculum of National Security Decision Making, Strategy and Warfare, and a tailored 17-week trimester of Joint Maritime Operations. The students also completed three directed electives addressing Operational Art and Doctrine, Navy Planning Process in the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander (JFMCC) Environment, and Joint Force Commander Planning Considerations.
 
During the final three months of the program, the students developed and authored formal concept plans in direct support of two forward-deployed naval operational commanders.
 
MAWS graduates receive the Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies, the Naval War College diploma, Joint Professional Military Education Phase I certification, and Qualification Designation as operational planners.
 
The Navy graduates represent the Naval Aviation, Information Operations, Intelligence, Submarine, Supply Corps, and Surface Warfare communities. Ten Navy graduates will proceed directly to operational planner billets; the other six will accomplish warfare community progression tours followed by operational planner assignments. The eleven non-Navy graduates will proceed to planner and warfare community tours as directed by their Chiefs of Service.
 
The twenty-seven graduates joined 195 officers (139 Navy and 56 from other Services) who graduated in the first twelve advanced warfighting school classes from 1999 through 2009. This growing cadre of leaders represents a new, multi-Service expertise in planning and execution of joint operations with naval emphasis.
 
MAWS class 2011, comprising twenty Navy and twelve other-Service officers, commenced studies in August 2010 and will graduate in September 2011.
 
From Maritime Advanced Warfighting School and Naval War College Public Affairs