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The Naval War College offers several special programs, which serve several purposes to include, providing resident students opportunities to conduct individual and group research projects. 

These programs provide enhanced educational experiences for superior students; they encourage innovative and critical thinking, contribute to the professional military and national security literature, support high-level military decision making; and have practical value in the area of building trust and confidence and leadership.

Advanced Research Program

The Advanced Research Program (ARP) allows qualified students to undertake individual or group reserach projects that substitute for single core courses.  These projects, comparable to a master's thesis, are subject to review and approval by the Advanced Research Council (ARC) and the President of the College.  They are supervised by faculty advisors with expertise in the areas studied.  Three faculty members, including the faculty advisor and the director of the program, evaluate each ARP thesis.  The ARP grade constitutes the student's entire grade for the trimester in which the project is completed.

Mahan Scholars

Established in 1999, the Mahan Scholars Program, provides a unique opportunity to selected students, normally from the College of Naval Warfare (senior class), to form a multi-service team to pursue individual and collaborative research projects about an issue of strategic relevance to the U.S. Navy and its role in joint warfare.  It consists of a linked program of course work in the core and electives curriculums, as well as a group research effort beginning in the winter trimester and completed during the summer.  Suitably qualified students in the program may be permitted to substitute their work on the Mahan project for the core curriculum course in the spring trimester.  In such cases, their work is graded like an ARP project.

Halsey Groups

Established in 2003, the Halsey Group Program provides an opportunity for a small group of specially selected students to pursue collaborative research projects on operational issues of current interest to the senior leadership of the Navy in partnership with the College's teaching and research faculty, the staffs of the Navy Warfare Development Command and the CNO's Strategic Studies Group.  It consists of a linked  program of course work in the core and elective curricula, as well as group research projects.  The projects focus on individual research, visits with theater and agency experts, modeling, simulations, and interactive war gaming.  The final output of each project is the opportunity to brief the CNO at the end of the academic year.

Gravely Research Group

Established in 2010, The Gravely Group has grown out of the Halsey Charlie Research Group's success.  Halsey Charlie research supported the development of Integrated Air & Missile Defense and Undersea Warfare (USW).  Graduates formed the initial cadre and global network of Navy missile defense officers and a growing cadre of USW officers.

Establishment of the Gravely Group at the Naval War College represents the evolution of a learning organization to advance a shared vision of excellence and innovation while promoting professional development among a broad group of military professionals. 

Stockdale Group

The purpose of the Stockdale Group Program is to provide an enhanced educational experience for a select group of officers attending the senior-level program, foster innovative thinking on operational level leadership, and conduct research, analysis and gaming to determine a set of leadership competencies required of 21st century leaders.  The group consists of a linked program of course work in the core and elective curricula, as well as group research projects.  The program culminates in a presentation of the research project to the CNO just prior to the June graduation.

Maritime Advanced Warfighting School

Orginially established in 1998 as the Naval Operational Planner Course, the Maritime Advanced Warfighting School (MAWS) is a 13-month program that educates U.S. officers of all services to:
  • Be operational planners and, ultimately, operational leaders
  • Understand and apply maritime power effectively
  • Form and lead Operational Planning Teams (OPTs) 
  • Think creatively and critically by developing solutions to complex, chaotic security problems
MAWS integrates the College of Naval Command and Staff core curriculum with specialized education and hands-on, real-world projects in the operational planning domain.  MAWS is the U.S. Navy’s peer school to: United States Army Combined Arms Support Command, Marine Corps School of Advanced Warfighting, Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, and the Joint Advanced Warfighting School.