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Since the inception of the Maritime Operations Center (MOC) concept in 2005, fleet staffs have matured in their ability to plan, prepare, execute, and assess at the operational level of war (OLW). During this timeframe MOCs could turn to existing doctrine to help them successfully plan and execute their missions, to include the Navy Planning Process (NPP) outlined in the 2007 Navy Warfare Publication (NWP) 5-01. However, while the current NPP effectively outlines a process to conduct detailed planning to help commanders and their staffs deal with familiar problems, it lacks any discussion of conceptual planning considerations to help them solve more complex, unfamiliar problems. As evidenced by Operations Tomodachi and Odyssey Dawn, today’s naval commanders must plan for a myriad of problems across the range of military operations. In the context of highly interconnected, multifaceted environments, simple solutions often fail to accomplish the mission. Design is a commander-led process, with a supporting methodology to develop an operational approach for solving these more complex problems. This article argues that fleet commanders and their staffs would be well served by incorporating design into their planning process and offers a methodology to do so.

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