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By Daniel S. Marciniak, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
Sept. 5, 2013

NEWPORT, R.I. – Thirty-two officers from four branches of service graduated from the U.S. Naval War College’s (NWC) Maritime Advanced Warfighting School (MAWS), Sept. 5, in a graduation ceremony held in McCarty Little Hall.

Established in 1998 as a Chief of Naval Operations-directed curriculum, MAWS is a 13-month advanced warfighting program that imparts naval and joint planning skills to selected active-duty officers for follow-on assignment to fleet, service component and joint operational staffs.

“You all constitute the 16th group to graduate from this advanced warfighting school,” said NWC president Rear Adm. Walter E. “Ted” Carter. “You were selected to participate because you possess the requisite experience, expertise, career timing and unlimited potential to achieve the very best results for your Naval War College and MAWS education.”

For the graduating class of 19 Navy, five Air Force, four Army and four Marine officers, MAWS was a thought and time-intensive program that required them to build upon past experiences in a complex and ever-changing environment.

“As I promised back in September during our first in-brief, it was going to be a lot of hard work,” said MAWS director Capt. Patrick A. Molenda. “And it was. But you rose to the challenge, and you did it with enthusiasm.”

One of the students who rose to the occasion was Army Maj. Michael J. Childs.

"The most rewarding part of this year was working with students from each of the other services,” said Childs. “We learned about how to develop plans and solve problems by sharing experiences from our past.

“Working in this kind of joint environment made me a better Army officer, and I will definitely carry these lessons forward in my career."

In a journey that began in August 2012, students completed core courses in theater security decision making, strategy and warfare and joint maritime operations, as well as three electives tailored to combined arms tactics, operations and planning foundations. Students also completed a three-month capstone planning project in direct support of Navy and joint operational commanders.

“You are the new 21st century war college graduates,” said Carter, “officers who can meld creativity for changing times and implement proven theories to be true innovators.”

Molenda told graduates that these skills are what makes them invaluable to the Navy and joint services.

“What you do matters,” said Molenda. “The value that you now bring to the fleet, your services and the nation is truly remarkable.”

With this year’s graduating class, the MAWS program now has 322 graduates worldwide.

MAWS graduates earn a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies, the NWC diploma, Joint Professional Military Education Phase I certification, and designation as operational planners.

Graduates are assigned to operational planner tours, either immediately or following warfare community assignments.

For more information on MAWS, visit

Edited by Cmdr. Carla M. McCarthy