Welcome to Research and Gaming

Center for Naval Warfare Studies

In 1981, almost a century after Stephen B. Luce founded the Naval War College as "a place of original research on all questions relating to war and to statesmanship connected with war, or the prevention of war," the Center for Naval Warfare Studies was established within the College as a nexus for broadly based, advanced research on the naval contribution to a national strategy.Working in close conjunction with the teaching departments, this revitalized research arm of the College has thus fulfilled Luce's vision of the institution as a center of both scholarship and original research--an academic establishment which would serve as the home of theory and in-depth thinking for the naval profession in the United States. e is to foster critical and innovating thinking on current and evolving operational challenges of importance for the Navy.

The Center directly complements the curriculum at the Naval War College by providing a place for researching important professional issues which, in turn, inform and stimulate the faculty and students in the classroom. Moreover, from its very beginning, the Center has linked the Naval War College to the fleet and policymakers in Washington by serving as a focal point, stimulus, and major source of strategic and campaign thought, by integrating strategic, campaign, and tactical concepts, by linking strategic concerns with technological developments, and finally, by testing and evaluating concepts through war gaming.


The Dean of Naval Warfare Studies oversees the efforts of a full-time, government-funded research staff organized into six departments within the Center: Strategic Research Department, War Gaming Department, Maritime History Department, International Law Department, Naval War College Press, Warfare Analysis and Research Department, as well as a detachment of the Office of Naval Intelligence. The Dean also provides support to the Strategic Studies Group, an independent organization which receives its tasking from and reports directly to the Chief of Naval Operations.

Strategic Research Department

Strategic Research Department produces studies, research reports, and briefings formulated in accordance with traditional research methods and standards. Some projects are internally generated, while others are written in response to requests from Navy and Marine Corps officials, including the Chief of Naval Operations, or from operational commanders including unified commanders-in-chief. Completing some 10 studies annually, the department examines a broad range of national and international security issues, placing particular emphasis on the maritime component of the national strategy, the department concepts of military operations and national security policy. Recent projects have addressed the impact of political and other changes on U.S. overseas basing, the impact of global changes on the formulation of maritime strategies, and options for maritime support of United Nations sponsored activities. Strategic Research Department personnel also host, administer, and participate annually in a number of conferences, meetings and workshops, some with foreign navies. The department's Faculty Enrichment Program brings a variety of notable speakers to the College to address current national policy or strategy issues. Many faculty members have also served as instructors in the College's electives program. Beginning in 1990, the Strategic Research Department, in collaboration with the Naval Postgraduate School, began hosting an annual RADM Charles M. Cooke Conference. This conference brings together fleet planners from major U.S. naval and joint commands to discuss strategy and security issues.

Warfare Analysis and Research Department

The W.A.R. 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.  Our research effort employs operations analysis and free-play war gaming to examine in detail a wide range of military conflicts.

These collaborative research efforts are coordinated through student participation in one of the Halsey or the Mahan Scholars research groups while individual research work is guided by professors throughout the college.

The department assists senior decision-makers of the Department of the Navy and other governmental agencies in reaching well-informed, objective decisions on strategic, operational, and programmatic issues by integrating research and analyses with advanced decision support tools and methods in a collaborative environment. Our state-of-the-art Decision Support Center (DSC), located in McCarty Little Hall, is a premier decision support facility with stations for up to 38 participants and the capability to conduct distributed decision-making through video-teleconferencing and computer networks. 

War Gaming Department

War games, part of the Naval War College Gaming curriculum since 1887, are vehicles for generating, testing, and debating strategic and operational concepts, and for exercising military and civilian decision makers in maritime and joint warfare. War games do not prove or disprove theories, concepts, or strategies because they are not reality and cannot be duplicated. Nevertheless, wargaming is an effective technique for creating a decision-making environment that fosters education and understanding for students and operational staffs, provides insights, and generates issues for further study. Groups of games set in the same theater or exploring the same or similar issues can help players to understand the dynamics of warfighting and may suggest possible trends or tendencies which could be exploited in real-world situations.

The War Gaming Department is the world's premier gaming organization, conducting approximately 50 games yearly in support of internal College needs and externally generated requests from various branches of the Defense and Navy departments, operational commands and civilian agencies, including the Office of the Vice President of the United States, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Secretary of the Navy. To support the objectives of each game's sponsor, the War Gaming Department employs a wide variety of gaming techniques ranging from complex, multi-sided, computer-assisted games to simpler, single-sided seminar games, and game foci can range from broad national strategies to the specifics of tactics. Most games take place at the College, but some are conducted off site.

International Law Department

The International Law Department is a source of analytical support to the Department of the Navy and the Department of Defense on rules of law and broad oceans law and policy issues arising in the interagency arena, often responding to specific tasking generated by the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Judge Advocate General, and fleet commanders-in-chief.

Advanced Research Program

The Advanced Research Program provides exceptional students in the College of Naval Warfare and Naval Command and Staff the opportunity to engage in funded research on a full-time basis for a trimester in lieu of taking one of the Naval War College's three core curriculum courses. Each student selected to participate in the program writes a graded, thesis-quality paper on a subject of his or her choice, many of which have been suggested by outside commands, under the guidance of a faculty member or member of the professional research staff. The topic and approach are approved by the President of the College upon the recommendation of an Advanced Research Council consisting of the Deans of Naval Warfare Studies and Academics, selected members of the Center's staff, and members of the College's resident faculty.

Naval War College Press

The Naval War College Press publishes quarterly the Naval War College Review, which focuses on politico-military, strategic, and operational matters. The NWC Press also publishes both the Newport Papers and full length books.

Office of Naval Intelligence Detachment

In 1977, ONI Detachment Newport at NWC was established because of the requirement for significant intelligence support to wargaming. With the standup of the Center for Naval Warfare Studies in 1981 and a recently invigorated NWC focus on support to the operational Navy, the Detachment mission broadened to include support to a variety of research and analysis programs.

Strategic Studies Group

Since 1981, the Naval War College, through the Center for Naval Warfare Studies, has hosted the Strategic Studies Group (SSG), consisting of U.S. Naval, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard officers selected by the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandants of the Marine Corps and Coast Guard, respectively. With year-to-year continuity provided by a director, ADM James Hogg, ret. and deputy director, both civilians, each SSG takes up a year's residency at the College to concentrate on an issue of special interest to the Chief of Naval Operations.

Maritime History Department

The Maritime History Department of the Center for Naval Warfare Studies serves as the central resource and contact point for the entire Naval War College in matters relating to maritime history. The department carries on the tradition at the Naval War College that was begun in the works of Rear Admirals Stephen B. Luce and Alfred Thayer Mahan in the period between 1884 and 1910. Their fundamental and original contributions to historical research and naval scholarship laid the foundation for todays modern approaches to the history of naval strategy and naval operations. The Department specializes in the history of the theory and practice of naval and maritime strategy, the history of naval operations in all periods, the history of naval activities in the Narragansett Bay region since the age of exploration, and the history of the Naval War College since 1884.

Contact Information

TELEPHONE: 401-841-2200
DSN: 841-2200
FAX: 401-841-3579
Center for Naval Warfare Studies
U.S. Naval War College
686 Cushing Road
Newport, Rhode Island 02841
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