By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Pat Migliaccio, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
Sept. 24, 2013

NEWPORT, R.I. -- Thirteen active duty naval officers completed the Navy's first Maritime Operational Planners Course (MOPC) at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC), Sept. 20.
The mission of MOPC is to provide officers with an education in all facets of the Navy planning process and prepare them to immediately and effectively serve on maritime component staffs as skilled core members of planning teams in a high-tempo, fluid operational environment. 
MOPC is a practitioner's course that examines both the art and science associated with military activities across the range of military operations.
NWC developed and delivered this class at the request of fleet commanders who consistently expressed the need for a program to fill a planner capability gap between NWC's basic level Maritime Staff Operators Course and the high-end Maritime Advanced Warfighting School on the Navy's Professional Military Education continuum.
"This course is a tailored Navy solution to a specific Navy problem," said Dr. Joseph Rutledge, director of MOPC and associate professor in the College of Operational and Strategic Leadership (COSL) at NWC. "When fully operational, this class will be producing upwards of 78 or more planners a year and answer the Navy's request for more capability and capacity at the intermediate planning level."
The 11-week course of instruction is taught by the faculty of Operational Level Programs within COSL and designed for lieutenants through commanders en route to fleet headquarters to serve as planners.
"In this course the students practice or iterate the planning process nine times so that upon completion, graduates of the class are able to excel on operational planning teams and give the Navy an immediate return on their investment," said Rutledge.
The students participated in seminars and practical exercises using realistic case studies relevant to current global maritime challenges. These challenges will require crisis action and deliberate planning in the maritime domain to include force-on-force, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, and counter-piracy complex problems. 
"MOPC is a great gap filler for the need out in the fleet for practical planning at the operational level," said student class leader Cmdr. Max DuPont. "The class shows the process of actually planning operations at the fleet level and prepares you to immediately work inside the maritime operation center concept."
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