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NWDC History

An Innovative-Focused Organization

The Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC) is an innovation-focused organization whose mission and vision supports warfighting readiness now and for the future.

NWDC takes its origins from Naval Doctrine Command, which was established in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1993 to develop and distribute Navy doctrine. Today, this written foundation of how we operate remains one of the command's core missions.

In 1998, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) established NWDC in Newport, Rhode Island, to lead a fleet battle problem experimentation, develop new operational concepts, and deliver doctrine to the fleet. NWDC was formed from Naval Doctrine Command in Norfolk; Navy Tactical Support Activity in Washington, D.C.; and the Maritime Battle Center in Newport. Collocating NWDC with the Naval War College provided an opportunity to develop synergy between the intellectual capital of the war college and the fleet focused, innovative thinking of NWDC. NWDC represented the Navy in joint and allied concept and doctrine development and interacted closely with the CNO's Strategic Studies Group. NWDC led the Navy's experimentation efforts working with the numbered fleets during the fleet battle experiment program.

In 2001, NWDC shifted reporting responsibilities from the War College President to Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. With this realignment, NWDC refocused its mission on meeting more immediate fleet needs. Experimentation on future concepts required a dedicated network linking participating units and stimulating that network to drive decision points. Based on the success of that modeling and simulation work, the fleet saw value in adapting the capability to support virtual and constructive training and NWDC was tasked in 2002 to develop what is now the Navy Continuous Training Environment (NCTE).

Demands for responsive concepts of operations (CONOPS) drove further reorganization in 2003. NWDC provided analytical and modeling skills developed in the Fleet Battle Experiment Program to the production of detailed analyses focused on some of the Navy's toughest warfighting challenges. As this analysis and modeling capacity increased, NWDC's mission expanded to include coordination of concepts of operations development throughout the Navy.

Concurrent with these efforts, NWDC was directed to develop and manage the Navy's lessons learned program. A critical need for reliable and rapid dissemination of fleet experiences spurred the development of an interactive database and an aggressive collection effort to improve and increase data access.

As a result of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commission legislation in 2005, NWDC began moving from Newport to Naval Station Norfolk in 2007. The majority of the command remained in Newport until the current headquarters opened in June 2010. NWDC is now home to the Navy Center for Advanced Modeling and Simulation (NCAMS), a 10,000 square foot, state of the art modeling and simulation facility which supports the NCTE, experimentation, and concept generation/concept development.

In 2012, NWDC absorbed both the concepts and experimentation divisions of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, including the responsibility for the Fleet Experimentation (FLEX) Program. The same year, NWDC added an innovation division and established the CNO's Rapid Innovation Cell, which empowered junior officers to effect change in the Navy. Additionally, increased emphasis on warfighter development resulted in creation of the Center for Advanced Tactical Integration (CATI) and increased support for Carrier Strike Group (CSG) commanders and their staffs.

In 2014, the command assumed responsibility as the integrator for the Warfighting Development Centers (WDC), providing opportunities for fleet leaders to collaborate, strengthen cross-domain warfighting capabilities, and discuss approaches to increase warfighting advantages over competitors and potential adversaries. In 2015, NWDC added leadership of the Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare (EMW) campaign to its portfolio.

In 2017, NWDC developed a new war game series focused on preparing Fleet commanders and their staffs for maritime conflict against peer competitors. Also in 2017, the command began an increased focus on developing operational concepts such as Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment (LOCE) in February 2017, the Navy's concept for Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO) in January 2019, and Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) in March 2019.

In October 2018, NWDC was assigned as the competent authority for the Fleet Battle Problem (FBP) Campaign and tasked to develop a campaign plan to validate the DMO concept and develop supporting capabilities. In May 2019, NWDC assumed leadership of the Operational Level Training and Exercise Program (OLTEP), which delivers advanced operational level training and exercises to fleet commanders, staffs, and MOCs to improve readiness and prepare for MOC certification events.

On October 2022, NWDC name was officially changed from Navy Warfare Development Command to Navy Warfare Development Center. The change was partly due to a larger Navy-wide adjustment to the size and distribution of the flag officer cadre.  The name change formalizes the manner in which NWDC has capably operated for the past two years as a civilian-led organization.   


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