Marine Corps War College
Marine Corps University Logo
Marine Corps University
Quantico, Virginia


To be the premier top level school for the Department of Defense (DoD) for developing strategic leaders, critical and creative thinkers, military strategists, and joint warfighters ready to serve at the Joint Force level, and thereby increase overall combat readiness.


The Marine Corps War College, as the senior PME institution of the Marine Corps, educates selected military and civilian professionals in order to develop strategic advisors, critical and creative thinkers, military strategists, and joint warfighters who are prepared to meet the challenges of a complex and dynamic security environment.


The youngest of the U.S. military war colleges, MCWAR was founded on 1 August 1990 as the Marine Corps “Art of War Studies” program. MCWAR became a separate college one year later and achieved JPME Phase I accreditation in December 1992. In 2001, MCWAR was accredited by the Southern association of Colleges and Schools and authorized to award Master of Strategic Studies degrees. In September 2006, MCWAR was the first Senior Service School to be JPME Phase II certified and in January 2009 the College was fully accredited via the Process for Accreditation of Joint Education (PAJE). In July 2010, the College accepted its first international military students.

In fulfillment of its role in the JPME and Marine Corps PME policy, MCWAR is dedicated to educating its students for the challenges of a complex and dynamic security environment and preparing them to assume senior leadership positions within their service or agency. The College’s curriculum is crafted to maximize the advantages of small- group seminars, employing the Socratic-method and active adult learning techniques to generate debate, challenge student assumptions, and otherwise foster academic excellence. The diversity of the students' backgrounds enables the seminar group, under faculty direction, to maximize collaborative learning as members share their knowledge and experience. Trips, practical application exercises, wargames and writing and speaking opportunities allow the students to hone the skills they will need as strategic leaders by challenging them to think critically about current national security policy and strategy issues, develop viable alternatives, and articulate those alternatives in a clear and meaningful way. Finally, the curriculum exposes students to the foremost experts from national agencies, national military commands and the civilian academic world.



Program Learning Outcomes

MCWAR graduates students who will be:

1. Prepared to perform as strategic advisors to senior military and civilian leaders.

1.a. Evaluate national security strategies, policies, decision making, and joint warfighting.

1.b. Demonstrate effective reading, thinking, and oral and written presentation of complex issues in uncertain environments at the strategic level.

2. Able to perform as critical and creative thinkers.

2.a. Evaluate information and arguments by methods including assessing risk and potential consequences, challenging assumptions, and utilizing different analytical lenses.

2.b. Apply these methods in the creation and evaluation of national security strategies, national military strategies, and campaign plans.

3. Prepared to perform as military strategists.

​3.a. Apply the framework of ends, ways, means, and risk.

3.b. Evaluate the integration of all instruments of national power.

3.c. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of employing force or the threat of force in the pursuit of political objectives.

4. Prepared to perform as senior joint warfighters across all domains.

4.a. Evaluate the changing character and enduring nature of war and apply historical lessons to current and future competition and conflicts.

4.b. Apply the art and science of planning and conducting campaigns and major operations in an all-domain, joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational environment.

4.c. Demonstrate an understanding of essential leadership and decision-making attributes, and the ethical grounding necessary to succeed in senior positions within the joint force, service, or agency.


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 War College Leaders

Marine Corps War College

Brian P. Sharp serves as the Director, Marine Corps War College, Quantico VA.A native of Westwood,

Read Biography

Deputy Director/Leadership & Ethics Course Director/USMCR Chair
Marine Corps War College

Colonel Matt Breen is currently assigned as Deputy Director, Leadership & Ethics Course Director,

Read Biography

Marine Corps War College

Dr. Christopher Yung serves as the Director of East Asian Studies for MCU, and lectures across the

Read Biography

Professor of National Security Affairs
Command and Staff College

CIVILIAN EDUCATIONPh.D. History, Duke UniversityM.A. History, Duke UniversityB.A. English, The

Read Biography

Professor of Strategic Studies
Marine Corps War College

Dr. James G. Lacey serves as professor and course director for Campaigning and Warfare.He is the

Read Biography

Course Director Diplomacy and Statecraft, Professor of Strategic Studies
Marine Corp War College

Dr. Morgan is Professor of Strategic Studies and Course Director for Diplomacy & Statecraft at the

Read Biography

Course Directory, National Security
Marine Corps Warr College

Dr. Tammy S. Schultz is the Director of the National Security and Joint Warfare and a Professor of

Read Biography

Joint Warfighting Instructor / USA Chair
Marine Corps War College

Colonel Scott Trahan is the U.S. Army Chair at the U.S. Marine Corps War College. After enlisting in

Read Biography

Joint Warfighting Instructor/USN Chair
Marine Corps War College

Captain Miller was raised in New Bern, NC and Enumclaw, WA and calls Mobile, AL home. He attended

Read Biography

Joint Warfighting Course Director
Marine Corps War College

Colonel William R. Ryerson is the Air Force Chair to Marine Corps University. In this capacity, he

Read Biography

Professor of Strategic Studies and State Department Chair, Diplomacy and Statecraft
Marine Corps War College

Dr. Dille is Professor of Strategic Studies and State Department Chair at the Marine Corps War

Read Biography

DIA Chair
Marine Corps War College

Mr. Kevin Heaton is the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Chair at Marine Corps University, resident

Read Biography

Welcome Aboard!

MCB Quantico

Contact Us

Marine Corps War College
2076 South Street
Quantico, VA 22134-5068

Commercial: (703)-432-4637 or 4545


Marine Corps University