Navy Planning Fundamentals The Art & Science of National Security

Course Length:



How does your hard work relate to the Navy’s “grand plan?” Planning, at a number of levels, is the link that binds the members and activities of an organization together. This 3-day course provides an overview of the US Navy and Joint Planning Systems and how the many innovations and technologies developed or leveraged can fit into the planning which supports the National Security Strategy. The planning process, force development, acquisition and how these all fit within the National Security Strategy will provide insight to the students’ understanding of how their own research and development contributes to that security. This course is valuable to engineers, scientists, and analysts working in Navy research facilities, national labs and Department of Defense research and development centers as it conveys a solid understanding of how their valuable contributions support our national security. A comprehensive set of notes and references will be provided to all attendees. Students will also receive useful charts that illustrate the processes and products.

What you will learn:

  • The strategic, operational and tactical levels of war.
  • Operational Art and Operational Design
  • The primacy of the Commander’s Intent
  • Where your work contributes to national security
  • Processes that determine what innovations, research and development are needed for national security

Course Outline:

  1. Navy Planning. As part of the national security planning process drives DoD, and all military services’ planning efforts, toward a coherent system of plans supporting and supported by all elements of national power. How this planning serves to drive research and development efforts across the DoD.
  2. Military Planning Logic. The extent to which a commander consciously applies problem solving steps varies according to judgment, temperament, memory, and experience. A more experienced commander may quickly reach an effective solution by replacing some planning steps between recognition of the problem and its solution through habit and doctrine, but the planning steps and logic allow a commander who is new to the situation to reach the same solution in only a little more time by going through a mental process of matching and adapting knowledge to the situation.
  3. Commander’s Estimate of the Situation. A commander considers all the circumstances affecting a military situation and arrives at a decision as to a course of action to be taken to accomplish a mission. The decision reached by this process provides a course of action and concept of operations that are then used to develop plans, issue directives and ultimately use the tools and innovations in the “tool box” of the warfare commander.
  4. Planning. Provides the ways for accomplishing the mission and achieving the ends, the objective of all military planning. It is based on facts and the minimum possible number of assumptions and provides for the most effective employment of existing and developing resources, the means, both organic to the organization and those available through other combat support systems
  5. Directives and Orders. After planning, the Commander must clearly communicate to the forces his/her commands and intentions for conducting military operations. The Commander will provide a mission statement (WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and WHY) and convey the commander’s intent, concept of operation, and decisions to subordinates.
  6. Supervision. Rarely will an operation be executed exactly as planned. No matter how carefully planning has been done, the action as it unfolds will differ from the action as planned because of a variety of factors. A system of plans, communication and implementation of those plans must be accompanied by a process of constant evaluation, adjustment and communication. Thus, the process ensures a short but effective decision cycle for the civilian and military leaders to effect national security planning.


REGISTRATION:  There is no obligation or payment required to enter the Registration for an actively scheduled course.   We understand that you may need approvals but please register as early as possible or contact us so we know of your interest in this course offering.

SCHEDULING:  If this course is not on the current schedule of open enrollment courses and you are interested in attending this or another course as an open enrollment, please contact us at (410)956-8805 or Please indicate the course name, number of students who wish to participate. and a preferred time frame. ATI typically schedules open enrollment courses with a 3-5 month lead-time.   To express your interest in an open enrollment course not on our current schedule, please email us at

For on-site pricing, you can use the request an on-site quote form, call us at (410)956-8805, or email us at


  • CAPT Eric L. Stilwell, US Navy retired, served 32 years as a Surface Warfare Officer planning and operating with forces ranging from tactical naval operations through strategic national security events and joint military campaigns. A Joint Qualified Officer he served at the nexus of operations and planning for US Strategic Command, European Command/Special Operations Command Europe and Joint Task Force Civil Support. As military faculty he taught National and Global Security at the US Air Force, Air War College. As Deputy Director, USSTRATCOM he established a unique innovation and strategy capability that leveraged national labs, DoD research and combat support organizations, academia and industry to provide solutions to the warfighter.


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