The Joint Advanced Warfighting School (JAWS) is a part of the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC), located in Norfolk, VA. JFSC is one of the five colleges within the National Defense University. JAWS was established in 2004 following a proposal by Andrew Marshall, then the director of the Office of Net Assessment, and the strong support of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers. Modelled after the Service’s advanced studies programs, JAWS provides the Joint Staff, the Combatant Commands, allied militaries, and other U.S. government agencies with graduates expert in the joint planning processes and capable of critical analysis in the application of all aspects of national power across the full range of military operations.

The Joint Advanced Warfighting School (JAWS) educates approximately 45 U.S. military officers and international fellows selected by their service in the grade of O-5 and O-6, as well as U.S. interagency civilians of equivalent experience and position each year.

Typically, a JAWS class comprises three seminars of up to fifteen students each. JAWS seminars maintain a deliberate mixture of students representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Space Force, Coast Guard, interagency civilians, and international fellows. JAWS assigns students to seminars with the intent to provide an optimum mix of service, grade, experience, and occupational specialty. The composition of each seminar changes as the year progresses, broadening student engagement across the class and deepening professional relationships among peers.

The JAWS faculty consists of civilian professors who hold a terminal degree in their relevant field and senior officers with joint experience from all services. In addition to highly qualified faculty, students have access to members of the JAWS Senior Fellows Program, including general/flag officers and ambassadors. In addition to Senior Fellows, JAWS maintains access to an impressive line-up of guest speakers who are thought leaders in variety of subjects relevant to joint warfighting.

Message from the Director


On behalf of the Faculty and Staff of the Joint Advanced Warfighting School (JAWS), I want to congratulate you on being selected to represent your nation, your department, your agency in the upcoming academic year’s class of the Joint Advanced Warfighting School (JAWS). The time and effort you have invested into your reputation as a military professional is a testament to your ability to thrive in demanding situations. Well done and welcome.

Your presence is important to us and the academic environment we seek for all our students. Your unique perspectives will improve the experience every graduate takes away from their year at the school. Faculty, staff, and former students from the program will all attest that this coming year will be challenging, but they will also assure you that everyone here is single-mindedly focused on helping you be successful as a student, a professional, a spouse, a parent, and a friend.

Consistent with the mission of National Defense University (NDU), the purpose of JAWS is to ensure the United States, and its allies and partners, prevail in war, peace, and competition.

The school’s mission is to provide joint senior-level education and prepare U.S. and international military officers and U.S. Government civilians to serve in strategic leadership positions and lead the development of theater strategies, campaigns, and operations for the employment of joint forces in support of strategic objectives and policy goals.

Through delivery of an integrated curriculum focused on the operational employment of joint and coalition military forces in peace and war, the school produces historically informed, strategically minded, joint warfighters.

The JAWS curriculum comprises five fields of study, each contributing to their own important program learning outcome:

  1. The Theory & History Field of Study enables students to synthesize historical, current, and future environments, domains, theories, and concepts as they apply to joint warfighting.
  2. The Strategy Field of Study enables students to propose military strategies in support of joint warfighting that optimizes ends, ways, and means, in concert with the other instruments of power.
  3. The Operational Art & Campaign Planning Field of Study enables students to produce military plans for the operational employment of joint and coalition forces in support of joint warfighting during peace and war.
  4. The Effective Communication Field of Study enables students to compose clear and succinct communications based on critical analysis in written and oral form that is persuasive and appropriate to the audience and context.
  5. The Joint Synthesis Field of Study enables students to represent the value of integrating diverse attitudes, perspectives, and capabilities based on an appreciation of the nature of the joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational environment.

In addition to guest lectures, seminar discussions, the JAWS curriculum includes multiple field research trips, exercises, and key events:

  1. The Theory & History Field of Study hosts a day field research trip to a World War II Aviation Museum in the local area and an overnight field research trip to the US battlefields of Yorktown and Fredericksburg, both in August.
  2. The Strategy Field of Study hosts two 1-week strategy development exercises in December and an embassy crisis exercise in March.
  3. The Operational Art & Campaign Planning Field of Study hosts planning exercises during each of their four classes in the spring.
  4. The Effective Communication Field of Study hosts a week-long public speaking symposium in April.
  5. The Joint Synthesis Field of Study hosts a week-long field research trip to Washington, D.C. in September; a week-long exercise with students from the Swedish Defence University (SeDU) in March; a nearly two-week field research trip to Guam, Saipan, and Japan in April; a two-week Capstone exercise in May and oral comprehensive final examinations just before graduation in June; and multiple engagements with senior leaders from the United States and our allies.

As graduates of JAWS earn both Joint Professional Military Education – Level II certification and a fully-accredited Master of Science degree in Joint Campaign Planning and Strategy, the Effective Communication Field of Study requires students to demonstrate the ability to conduct, compose, and present graduate-level research. During the initial weeks of the program, students will select one of several elective research seminars to personalize their academic experience and provide the structured environment to help them satisfy their 40-page Individual Strategic Research Paper (ISRP) requirement by mid-spring. Incoming students will benefit from having some idea of what research topics might interest them, but do not need to have a formal plan when they arrive.

Additional JAWS links are available above to provide useful reference and preparation information. If we can assist you in any way, do not hesitate to call the JFSC Registrar & Personnel Services office at DSN 646-6124; COMM (757) 443-6124 or via e-mail at registrar2@ndu.edu.

Colonel, US Army
10th Director of the Joint Advanced Warfighting School