Center for Naval Analyses

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CNA's Center for Naval Analyses
Founded 1942
Focus Research and analysis services to DoD and other government agencies
Origins U.S. Navy Anti-submarine Warfare Operations Research Group
Key people
Mark Geis, Executive Vice President

The Center for Naval Analyses is the federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) for the United States Navy and Marine Corps. It also provides research and analysis services to other military and government agencies to help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of U.S. national defense efforts.

The Center pioneered the field of operations research over 70 years ago. Its research divisions address issues of preparedness, operations evaluation, systems analysis, foreign affairs, strategic relationships, humanitarian operations, logistics, and manpower.

Through the Center’s Field Program, approximately 50 analysts are assigned to Navy, Marine Corps, and Joint Commands around the world. Assignments range from carrier strike groups and Marine expeditionary forces to the U.S. Pacific Command. Field analysts are included in all functions of the command and provide real-time analytic support on operational problems of immediate concern to the military.[1]

The Center for Naval Analyses is operated by CNA, a nonprofit research and analysis organization that also operates the Institute for Public Research and the CNA Military Advisory Board.


When the U.S. entered World War II and German submarines began to patrol the East Coast and American shipping lanes in earnest, the Navy’s immediate attention turned to countering this threat as part of the Battle of the Atlantic. In April 1942, Captain Wilder Baker, head of the Navy Antisubmarine Warfare Unit, enlisted MIT professor Philip Morse to lead an operations research team to help the Navy: the Antisubmarine Warfare Operations Research Group (ASWORG).

Although sending civilian experts to military commands was still a delicate matter, in June 1942, ASWORG set a precedent—and established the Field Program, which continues today—when it assigned an analyst to the Headquarters of the Gulf Sea Frontier in Miami. Soon after, it assigned several analysts to the Eastern Sea Frontier in New York. ASWORG itself was assigned to the Headquarters of Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, led by Admiral Ernest King, who was also Chief of Naval Operations. A year later, ASWORG joined the Tenth Fleet when the command was formed to consolidate America's antisubmarine warfare operations.

By the end of the war, ASWORG had about 80 scientists and had broadened its scope to include the study of virtually all forms of naval warfare. During most of the war about 40 percent of the group was assigned to various operating commands. These field representatives developed immediate practical answers to tactical and force allocation questions important to their commands. Concurrently, they fed back practical experience and understanding to the central Washington group, an approach still taken at the Center for Naval Analyses.

Among its many World War II contributions, ASWORG analysts helped:

  • Devise more effective escort screening plans
  • Determine the optimum size of convoys
  • Develop antisubmarine warfare tactics, such as optimum patterns and altitudes for ASW patrol aircraft
  • Develop countermeasures to German acoustic torpedoes and snorkeling U-boats
  • Contribute to the use of airborne radar.


Mark Geis, formerly vice president and director of CNA's Operations Evaluation Group and of CNA's Marine Corps Program, became the executive vice president of CNA's Center for Naval Analyses in 2015.[2]

Past presidents of the Center include Dr. Paul Speer, an oceanographer who is now with the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and Christine H. Fox, who, in 2014, served as acting deputy secretary of Defense before retiring from the Pentagon and joining the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.


  1. ^ CNA, Field Program, retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  2. ^ CNA (July 13, 2015), CNA Names Mark Geis Executive Vice President of the Center for Naval Analyses. 

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