MCWAR Curriculum

8100 Campaigning & Warfare

The Campaigning & Warfare (CW) course complements the Joint Warfare (JW) and National Security (NS) courses of MCWAR through the employment of connecting theory, history, wargaming, and discussions of strategic ideas and concepts to the application of military force in the future environment.  Drawing heavily from the great strategic theorists and military history the CW course explores both the strategy of competition and conflict, as well as taking deep dives into various historical campaigns.  One of the course’s key goals is to help students think critically about the development and execution of “campaigns for strategic impact.”

8200 Diplomacy and Statecraft

The Diplomacy and Statecraft (DS) course explores the “D” in DIME, albeit with a heavy focus on political-military and security issues.  The course is chiefly aimed at competition with great power rivals.  The DS course also includes study of nuclear issues, such as the Nuclear Posture Review, the modernization of the US nuclear triad, nuclear weapons strategy, deterrence strategy, and arms control.  Historical case studies illuminate (and pair with) a brief look at theoretical and methodological approaches to diplomatic and security policy.  These “foundational” seminars foster the development of analytical techniques that will be applied during the rest of the year, and perhaps in future jobs.

8400 National Security

The National Security (NS) course provides the student with an extensive understanding of national security affairs, showing how textbook explanations fall short of what really happens in national security and decision making.  Arrow charts showing a National Security Strategy flowing into lower level documents are one thing, but the fact of the matter is before the National Defense Authorization Act supplanted the Department of Defense’s Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), there has never been a QDR published after the National Security Strategy.  NS will teach the theory and the actual practice of national security.

8500 Leadership and Ethics

The Marine Corps War College recognizes each student’s status as a mature, experienced professional.  The fact they have been selected to attend strongly suggests that they already know much about the subject of leadership and ethics, have excelled as a leader at the tactical and operational levels and have clear potential to rise to senior leadership positions.  This course is an opportunity for them to take the competencies they already have and examine them in light of the new roles and responsibilities they will encounter in future assignments.  It asks them to think deeply about the complexity of strategic leadership.  It also asks them to think about developing new skills in order to thrive in the complicated strategic environment where there are often no right answers, only difficult decisions.  As a graduate they will soon find themselves assisting a senior leader making strategic decisions.  This curriculum is designed to improve the quality of their advice and actions when they become a strategic leader.

8700 Advanced Studies Program

MCWAR initiated its Advanced Studies Program (ASP) in AY13.  The ASP supplements the core courses by providing students with a “deep dive” into each core course’s topic area.  All students participate in the ASP. 

8800 Joint Warfare

The Joint Warfare (JW) course complements the other courses of MCWAR by connecting strategic ideas and concepts to the application of military force in pursuit of national strategic objectives.  Drawing from joint doctrine, discussions with key senior leadership, and examination of historical case studies, the JW course explores the nexus between strategy and operations to aid students in developing the analytical tools required to think critically and act decisively within an ambiguous environment.  JW is not a military planning course; instead, it builds on students’ previous military and civilian experience to foster a deeper understanding of how the instruments of national power combine to accomplish national strategic objectives at the theater and higher level.

Marine Corps University