From Naval War College Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- Naval War College (NWC) staff, faculty, students and guests gathered at Evans Hall on April 30, to cut the ribbon for one of the college's newest assets, two Maritime Operations Center (MOC) battle labs for the Maritime Staff Operators Course (MSOC).

The addition of the two MOC battle labs is the most recent NWC initiative to develop the Navy's expertise in operational level command and control. The battle labs provide the Navy the capacity to educate, train and exercise command and control functions associated with operational level command responsibilities.

Active and reserve students attending the five-week Maritime Staff Operators Course use the newly built battle labs as a culminating practical application that simulates the Joint Forces Maritime Component Commander's organization, processes and procedures in a MOC.

"That course of study includes a significant focus on practical application of staff functions and the planning process in the design to better enable naval officers and senior enlisted personnel who are en route to fleet headquarters to execute the myriad of responsibilities they will have at Navy operational staffs," said professor Jeff Fullerton, an MSOC faculty member.

MSOC builds on fundamentals, including operational and naval theory, concepts, doctrine, organizations, capabilities, responsibilities, functions, planning and execution processes, techniques and practices. The course concludes with a practical planning and execution application using a complex, fictitious maritime-based case study, including the four-day battle lab experience.

"I think for a lot of the junior officers and mid-level officers who go through this course, we have a lot of experience making the tactical part of the Navy work and even working with the tactical parts of other forces," said Cmdr. Doug Dalena, a current MSOC student. "To apply all that knowledge and make it work in an operational level and a fleet level and then bring in all the service partners and know how to work with them and how to speak their language and speak their joint language, I think that's what this course is giving us."

Rear Adm. Phil Wisecup, President of the Naval War College, presided over the ribbon cutting event, which showcased the continued use and development of Evans Hall, dedicated in honor of World War II Medal of Honor hero, Cmdr. Ernest E. Evans.

The building project was completed on budget and a year ahead of projected plans in a rapid 28 months from concept to reality. In the past, the building was used by Surface Warfare Officers School Command and now houses NWC's MSOC program, both the Joint and Combined Force Maritime Component Commander courses, and the Assist and Assess Team, all providing direct support to the fleet.

"The Maritime Staff Operators Course has also provided the added unexpected positive consequence of networking our MOCs through the relationships students build while going through this course," said Wisecup.

In an earlier address to a graduating MSOC class, Wisecup said as the chief of naval operations drives the Navy's thinking into the operational level of war, Newport and the Naval War College is the logical place to do it.

"We think about war. We think about operations, and we can game it," said Wisecup. "You have wargaming faculty and staff, teaching faculty and staff, and now we have battle labs, and it's all knitted up together, and connected with the operational fleet staffs."

MSOC enables graduates to assume the duties as part of a MOC staff to support the commander's decision cycle, in both planning and execution of joint, coalition, or multinational operations.

"With the intense pace of the Forward Deployed Naval Force (FDNF), there is no time to learn the basics," said Vice Adm. John Bird, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, who has provided feedback to NWC on the value of MSOC. "I need staff officers to walk across the brow already understanding the complexities of maritime staff operations and how to best employ the functions and capabilities of the Maritime Operations Center. The FDNF demands sharp officers at the helm, and MSOC provides the whetstone."

"MSOC has over 380 graduates around the globe today which has done more than develop some new skills and acquire an understanding of operations above the
tactical level," said professor Tom Bayley, dean for NWC's College of Operational and Strategic Leadership.

"It has helped to connect these MOCs together by the close personal relationships developed going through this intensive course which carries beyond the classroom. I believe this course has done more to connect the MOCs than black boxes will do across the FYDP with the relationships it builds among graduates and faculty."

MSOC is just one course provided by NWC's College of Operational and Strategic Leadership, offering professional military education (PME), focusing on leadership development and integrating leadership, ethics, and character development into the Navy's PME Continuum for Navy officer and enlisted personnel.

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