SAW is a “problem-solving and decision-making” course, rather than a “planning” course, although planning is used as a vehicle for study and preparation. The majority of the learning exercises of the School of Advanced Warfighting can be described as follows: The student is presented with a mass of information and given a problem to solve. The problem may be to answer a discussion question, devise a campaign plan, make decisions in a wargame, craft a brief or point paper, conduct a staff study, or carry out additional research for an essay on an assigned topic. The process becomes iterative: break the problem into its elements, solve these, relate the partial solutions to the greater problem, identify the question on which the whole problem turns, and finally, resolve that question or problem. Implied is the potential for an inherently greater tempo and experience in recognizing and then discarding non-critical distracting information. The study of military history develops the analytic mind of the officer, enhances the understanding of military issues, and facilitates the officer’s future decision-making efforts. Historical studies are not used didactically; rather, they are approached without bias so that the conclusions resulting from a thorough analysis of established facts can then be evaluated without prejudice.
Graduates receive a regionally accredited Master of Operational Studies degree.