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NEWPORT, R.I. - Twenty-four senior naval officers completed the U.S. Naval War College’s (NWC) second Executive Level Operational Level of War Course (ELOC) on Sept. 23.

The five-day course is designed to prepare captains and senior commanders for assignments as principal assistants and advisors, responsible for such areas as operations, logistics, communications, public affairs, legal, medical, and more at fleet headquarters around the globe. The course focused on their role in coordinating staff activities to support the fleet commanders in operating the fleet to address the complex security challenges they face.

“What’s different about this class over our year-long course of instruction is this course focuses on the leaders within the staffs and their roles in synchronizing and aligning the processes to produce proactive and informed decision making by their commanders,” said Operational Level Programs Co-director, Professor Tom Bayley.

According to Bayley, ELOC is a new course offered at the Naval War College which was first held in March of this year. Two other courses target naval officers destined for fleet staff assignments, at different times in their career. A Maritime Staff Officers Course (MSOC) prepares mid-grade officers while the Joint Force Maritime Component Command Course (JFMCC) is designed for admirals.

NEWPORT, R.I. (Sept. 22, 2011) Senior naval officers in the Executive Level Operational Level of War Course (ELOC) listen to Rear Adm. Thomas A. Cropper, commander, Strike Force Training Pacific and Naval War College graduate, as he discusses the commander’s perspective on staff interactions on Sept. 22.  Twenty-four captains and senior commanders participated in the five-day course at the U.S. Naval War College.  (Photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Robert Inverso)“This whole effort is a shift in focus by the Navy as the emphasis moves from gray hulls to gray matter as we push to improve the preparation of our people for the increasing trajectory of complexity,” said Bayley. “They’ve proved themselves in command at the deck-plate level, and now they’re shifting gears to think at a higher level beyond-the-horizon.”

During the course, students are able to glean lessons learned from fleet commanders via video-teleconferencing and other subject matter experts.  Students consider practices and procedures of operational-level staffs, roles and relationships, evolution on command and control at the maritime headquarters, the challenge and dynamics of managing resources, and how to translate strategic vision and guidance into implementation.

“I wish I had this course months earlier,” said Capt. Greg Hicks who is assigned as the public affairs officer for Commander, Third Fleet. “I know we’re only the second group of officers to go through class, but from what I’ve seen in my assignment, ELOC is extremely valuable for any senior officer assigned as a principal advisor to an admiral.”

ELOC is offered by NWC’s College of Operational and Strategic Leadership (COSL), which aims to improve the capability of Navy commanders to lead maritime, joint, and multinational forces as well as improve the capability of Navy staff members to plan, execute, and assess and to function cohesively as a maritime operations center.

For more information on ELOC and other COSL courses, go to http://www.usnwc.edu/COSL.aspx or email COSL@usnwc.edu.

By James Brooks, NWC Public Affairs