OPS4301 Specialization in Naval Operations

Course code: 
Full course name in Norwegian Bokmål: 
Sjøoperativ fordypning
Program of study: 
Master i militære studier
Level of study: 
Teaching semester: 
2021 Spring
Assessment semester: 
2021 Spring
Language of instruction: 
Norwegian / English
Person in charge: 
Tor Ivar Strømmen
Course content

The specialisation in Naval operations course aim to build and improve on students understanding of seapower theory, focusing on what navies are, what they are for, and how they contribute in a joint operation, both nationally and within an alliance context.

The module will provide the students with a deep and critical understanding of how seapower helps and creates effects in a joint operation, and the possibilities and limitations of naval forces in explicit and implicit cooperation with forces from other branches of the Norwegian Armed Forces, allies and civilian agencies.

Learning outcome


After completion of the course, the student is able to:

  • explain the naval component's contribution to, and dependency on, joint operations.
  • account for allied reinforcements to Norway and national contributions.
  • explain Russian A2/AD concepts and the Bastion Defence concept
  • explain maritime challenges related to Svalbard and the Svalbard zone
  • discuss national naval operations vs naval operations under NATO’s leadership.
  • explain the characteristics of naval power.
  • discuss combat capability, individually and complementary, limitations and possibilities.
  • explain naval operations in the littorals.
  • discuss C2 challenges both nationally and within NATO operations.
  • account for preparedness and national crisis management.


After completion of the course, the student is able to:

  • analyse naval theories, operational concepts and current doctrines within naval operations, and work independently on practical and theoretical problem-solving, thereby becoming a relevant player within the operational planning process.

General competence

After completion of the course, the student is able to:

  • reflect on the role of seapower in a holistic, national and international perspective.
  • explain the various roles and missions of seapower in times of peace, crisis and war.
Working and learning activities

Case studies and directed self-studies accompanied by some key lectures will be the primary learning method applied. The students will work throughout the course with a paper assignment (an essay). Students shall present working drafts of specified parts of their paper to supervisors and peers twice for review and feedback. The course will also include a CAX applying the NEPTUNE software to highlight and investigate the role of the Royal Norwegian Navy in a joint operational perspective.

Sensor system

Examination is carried out according to the Regulations for Admission, Studies and Examinations (in Norwegian, “Forskrift om opptak, studier og eksamen”) at the Norwegian Defence University College.


Learning evaluation through an essay. Students may choose between three topics and will have the duration of the course to complete their assignement.


Obligatory reading:


FDMO, pp. 15-121, 149-154. (Available digitally on Brage and intranett, and will be handed out).

Geoffrey Till (2004 utg.), Seapower, pp.1-112 og pp. 148-209 (book on loan from RNONA library)

Jerker Widén (2005), Militärteorins grunder, pp. 211-240 (in digital compendium)

Ken Booth (2014 reprint), Navies and Foreign Policy (Routledge Revivals), pp. 15-25. (In digital compendium)

Milan Vego (2016): Maritime Strategy and Sea Control, pp. 1-53. (In digital compendium)

Wayne P. Hughes (2018), Fleet Tactics and Naval Operations, pp. 9-34, 163-213, 228-247. (Book on loan from RNONA library)

Ina Holst-Pedersen Kvam (2020), Den russiske marinens evne til kystnær maktprojeksjon, ca. 20 sider (manuscript to be published 2020; draft copy will be handed out).

Rolf Einar Fife (oppdatert 2014), Folkerettslige spørsmål i tilknytning til Svalbard, https://www.regjeringen.no/no/tema/utenrikssaker/folkerett/svalbard/id2350955/


Number of pages: approx. 497 sider, and Fife’s article on Svalbard.



Recommended litteratur:

Jacob Børresen (2011), Torskekrig!, pp. 31-88 og 219-266 (in digital compendium)

Robert C. Rubel, Connecting the Dots: Capital Ships, the Littoral, Command of Seas, and World Order (digital copy will be handed out)

Robert C. Rubel, Command of the Sea: An Old Concept Resurfaces in a New Form (digital copy will be handed out)

Kristin ven Bruusgaard, Russian Strategic Deterrence, Survival (digital copy will be handed out)

Tor Ivar Strømmen, Ein strategi på leirføter, Necesse v2u2 (digital copy will be handed out)

Ståle Ulriksen, Den russiske marinen – status og fornying, Necesse v2u2 (digital copy will be handed out)

Tor Ivar Strømmen, Bulwark and balancing act: the strategic role of the Royal Norwegian Navy, i McCabe, Robert., Sanders, Deborah, & Speller, Ian (2019). Europe, Small Navies and Maritime Security: Balancing Traditional Roles and Emergent Threats in the 21st Century. London: Routledge (digital copy will be handed out)

Recommended literature is not necessary to complete the course but will enhance understanding significantly.


Mandatory courseworkCourseworks givenCourseworks requiredPresence requiredComment
Paper11Not required
Obligatoriske arbeidskrav:
Mandatory coursework:Paper
Courseworks given:1
Courseworks required:1
Presence required:Not required
Form of assessmentGroupingDurationType of durationGrading scaleProportionOral examinationCommentSupported materials
MappevurderingIndividual26DaysA-F100 % Not required
Form of assessment:Mappevurdering
Type of duration:Days
Grading scale:A-F
Proportion:100 %
Oral examination:Not required
Supported materials:
Tor Ivar Strømmen