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The War Department conducts relevant research into current and future war fighting issues using select Naval War College students working under the mentorship of experienced research and analysis professionals.
Collaborative research efforts are coordinated through student participation in one of the Gravely, Halsey or Mahan Scholars research groups while individual research work is guided by professors throughout the college.  This analysis is used to inform policymakers, commanders and other defense and security professionals. 
Under the management of the War Department, the Decision Support Center (DSC) provides an innovative environment specifically designed to bring together a range of tools to aid in decision-making, concept development or alternative analysis.  The DSC is available for use by Department of Defense, the Department of the Navy and other government agencies.


The Advanced Research Program provides an enhanced educational experience for a select group of students attending the Naval War College in order to foster critical and innovative thinking on current and evolving operational challenges of importance for the Navy.
Military officers in the College of Naval Warfare (CNW) and College of Naval Command and Staff (CNCS) are eligible to apply for the program. Suitably qualified civilian students will also be given consideration. Students are selected for admittance to the program on the basis of the following criteria:
  • Sustained superior performance throughout an officer's military career;
  • Demonstrated ability or potential to examine operational challenges and articulate their findings and recommendations;
  • Operational expertise in the areas of ongoing research.

Interviews for the Program

Candidates for the program must submit a written request to the Provost of the Naval War College for an initial interview. Subsequent interviews with appropriate research professors, as directed by the Provost, are also used to screen candidates.  All newly accepted candidates participate in a directed research elective.  Performance in this elective determines which candidates are selected as members of the  Gravely / Halsey / Mahan Groups.

The Advanced Research Program is linked with the course work of the regular curriculum of the Naval War College.  Members of the Gravely / Halsey / Mahan Group are required to complete two academic trimesters and one full time research trimester.  The academic trimesters will vary depending on the date of entry to the Naval War College and class status (CNW or CNCS).  The Advanced Research Program ensures that all requirements for professional military education (PME) and joint certification are met by graduation.

The Project

Advanced Research Program students form teams to address selected operational challenges specifically chosen each year to reflect new or ongoing areas of particular importance and concern.  The primary product of each project is a briefing to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) accompanied by a paper documenting the analysis and methodologies employed.  An SCI clearance is required.

Standards & Outcomes

Advanced Research Program students will benefit from their participation in the following ways:
  • Mentorship by the President, Naval War College and senior college faculty;
  • Opportunity for interaction with high-ranking military officers, civilian officias, and distinguished academicians
  • A travel budget to facilitate project research.
Those students who successfully complete one of the g roup programs will:
  • Be formally designated as a Gravely / Halsey / Mahan Group graduate of the Naval War College. (Navy graduates will also receive a Gravely / Halsey / Mahan Group AQD)
  • A letter from the President, Naval War College, and special notation on officer appraisal or fitness reports
  • Opportunities to brief projects to senior military officers and civilians in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere