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CHIPS Articles: Naval War College Students Compete for Strategy Award

Naval War College Students Compete for Strategy Award
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jess Lewis, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs - February 28, 2017
NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- Participants in the annual competition for the James V. Forrestal Award for Excellence in Strategy Development and Force Planning at U.S. Naval War College (NWC) presented creative, flexible, and realistic approaches to dealing with a scenario presented by faculty, according to one of the judges of the Feb. 24 event.

The National Security Affairs (NSA) Department at NWC hosted this year's National Security Decision Making (NSDM) final exercise. The NSDM exercise serves as the capstone for the senior-level core trimester of study in future-oriented national security affairs at the strategic level. For the exercise, the NSDM students were divided into 16 different groups, called seminars.

"The purpose of the final exercise is to provide our students the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of NSDM course concepts that they have learned during the 11-week trimester," said Jim Cook, associate professor of NSA and one of the course leaders. "Additionally, we want to expose the seminars to the challenge of making tough, strategic choices in a resource-constrained environment and to effectively communicate their rationale to senior leadership."

During the event, Seminar 15 and Seminar 12, qualified as finalists and competed for NWC's James V. Forrestal Award for Excellence in Strategy Development and Force Planning. Each of the seminars gave a 45-minute, executive-level presentation to a senior judging panel and then answered questions.

The presentations included an assessment of trends in the global security environment looking out over the next 20 years, the key themes for a national security strategy, a nested national military strategy and associated operational concepts or ways to address the challenges and opportunities of this future security environment. They also discussed a force plan for "Joint Force 2027" within rigid budget constraints, and an implementation case of some features of these strategies, operational concepts, or force plan which demonstrates the leadership challenges in bringing an innovative idea to practical achievement.

The winning team was Seminar 12.

Members of the winning team included Marine Lt. Col. Aaron Angell, Army Lt. Col. Burke Bristow, Cmdr. Diane Cua, Air Force Col. James Hackbarth, Cmdr. Mitchel Kloewer, Marine Col. Toby Moore, Army Lt. Col. Patrick Pflaum, Lt. Cmdr. Jared Simsic, Michael Stutzman, Coast Guard Capt. Mark Vislay, Korean navy Cmdr. Byungo Kang, Tunisia navy Cmdr. Ahmed Lajmi, and Cmdr. Ronald Piret.

The judging panel included Capt. Paul A. Strader, director, Navy Policy Division; David S.C. Chu, president, Institute for Defense Analyses; and Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky, foreign policy expert and former diplomat specializing in national security affairs.

The NSDM trimester is part of NWC's yearlong resident program and is designed to prepare senior-level joint and international officers and civilians for executive positions in large national security organizations. Major attention is given to joint and allied perspectives at the theater level or above and studies stress the growing complexity of decision making at higher levels of responsibility and authority.

NWC is an upper-level professional military education institution which includes a one-year resident program which graduates 600 resident students each year, and a multifaceted distance education program which graduates more than 1,000 students per year. Its missions include educating and developing leaders, helping define the future of the Navy, supporting combat readiness, and strengthening maritime partnerships. Students earn Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) credit and either a diploma or a master's degree in national security and strategic studies or defense and strategic studies.

Established in 1884, U.S. Naval War College is the oldest institution of its kind in the world. More than 50,000 students have graduated since its first class of nine students in 1885, and about 300 of today's active-duty admirals, generals, and senior executive service leaders are alumni.

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