Center on Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups

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Center on Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups (CIWAG)
Center on Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups Seal, U.S. Naval War College
Type Research Center
Established 2008
Parent institution
U.S. Naval War College
Director Dr. Andrea Dew; COL (Retired) David Brown
Location Newport, Rhode Island, United States
41.5078° N, 71.3300° W

The Center on Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups (CIWAG) at the United States Naval War College in Newport, RI is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of the challenges presented by irregular warfare (IW) and non-state actors (armed groups) in the 21st century. CIWAG was founded in 2008 and is co-directed by Dr. Andrea Dew and Colonel (Retired) David Brown with deputy director Captain Louis McCray (USN). CIWAG’s primary mission is twofold: first, to bring cutting-edge research on Irregular Warfare into the Joint Professional Military Educational (JPME) curricula; and second, to bring operators, practitioners, and scholars together to share their knowledge and experiences about a vast array of violent and non-violent irregular challenges.[1]


The Center on Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups (CIWAG) was founded in 2008 by Dr. Marc Genest and Dr. Andrea Dew with grants from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation and the Naval War College Foundation. The establishment of the Center on Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups was due to three critical factors. The first factor was the increasing demand from Naval War College students, who were returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, for more courses on irregular warfare and access to the latest research on this vital topic. Second, the Naval War College is responding to the December 1, 2008 Department of Defense Directive (3000.07) on Irregular Warfare that emphasized the importance of "developing appropriate education and training programs and courses" to teach students about irregular warfare. Third, the creation of CIWAG was also assisted by a project on Armed Groups led by Dr. Richard Shultz, Director of International Security Studies, at the Fletcher School, Tufts University and Dr. Roy Godson, President of the National Strategy Information Center. CIWAG expands their work by providing an institutional home for symposia, seminar, workshops, and research activities that promote the systemic study of irregular warfare and armed groups. It bridges the knowledge gap between scholars and practitioners by bringing the two groups together on a regular basis, enabling the fusion of operational experience and knowledge with the most current research.

Mission statement[2][edit]

  1. Promote and support research and teaching on irregular warfare and armed groups;
  2. Facilitate interaction and collaboration between professional military educational institutions, civilian academics and battlefield practitioners;
  3. Disseminate current analysis via symposia and workshops to provide a forum for dialogue at the Naval War College between U.S. and international practitioners and scholars;
  4. Expand outreach and networking activities to establish and sustain a community of interest devoted to the study and teaching of irregular warfare and armed groups as well as create case studies.

Operational Objectives[2][edit]

  1. Promoting collaborative research among scholars and practitioners resulting in panel presentations at major conferences, workshops and seminars as well as published research;
  2. Expanding the institutions represented at CIWAG workshops and symposia in order to improve the quality of research and exchange on the issue of irregular warfare and armed groups;
  3. Fostering collaboration and increasing institutional ties between civilian and professional military educational institutions, and between U.S. and international academics and practitioners.


The Center on Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups supports education and curriculum development, including case studies that focus on developing counter-strategies and operating concepts for irregular warfare, including in the maritime environment. CIWAG achieves this by a sustained collaboration that draws on expertise from a wide range of disciplines that includes practitioners, historians, anthropologists, criminologists, economists, psychologists, political scientists, and experts in strategic communications.[2] Representative activities conducted by members of the CIWAG include symposia and workshops to teach case studies, outreach and network building among the full range of researchers and practitioners in the U.S. and overseas who have expertise on Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups.[2] Part of its mission is to hold a series of conferences that bring civilian scholars together with military faculty and practitioners to analyze the national and international security challenges posed by armed groups and irregular warfare. The Center was created because it is critically important that education on irregular warfare and armed groups remains timely and easily accessible to military officers who will use this instruction when devising strategies to deal with armed groups in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world.

The target audiences for CIWAG symposia, research programs, and educational outreach activities are civilian and military faculty and practitioners who teach at civilian universities, military professional institutions, and military academies.[3] Funding for CIWAG represents a sustained commitment on the part of the US Navy and the Naval War College to promote and support teaching and research on irregular warfare to future strategic leaders. Moreover, CIWAG also fosters interaction, collaboration and inter-agency coordination across professional military educational institutions throughout the country and with US allies.

CIWAG Case Studies are developed in an effort to spearhead an evolving and adaptive curriculum that fulfills the needs of students preparing to meet the challenges of the post-9/11 world.[4] Case Study authors are leaders in the academic community on irregular challenges facing modern war fighters and operators/senior military leaders with extensive experience in austere environments. CIWAG Case Studies can be found here.


CIWAG is organized as follows: two Co-Directors, NWC professors with a demonstrated excellence in teaching, publications, and research about IW and Armed Groups. A Deputy Director, the Special Operations Forces Chair, provides a link to the operational world, in addition to assisting in the planning, programming, budgeting, and execution of all CIWAG activities. Senior Associates to conduct and support research will be selected annually from qualified academics and practitioners. In addition, CIWAG is establishing a Board of Advisors consisting of senior military leaders and civilian academics. The board provides guidance and feedback to the Co-Directors and Deputy Director on priorities for improving and advancing government and community relations, professional and industry relations, communications, and resource development.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Center on Irregular Warfare & Armed Groups (CIWAG)". Retrieved 2018-03-13. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Center on Irregular Warfare & Armed Groups (CIWAG)". Retrieved 2018-03-13. 
  3. ^ Kuester, Daniel (2017). "Irregular warfare focus of Naval War College symposium". U.S. Naval War College. 
  4. ^ "CIWAG Case Studies". Retrieved 2018-03-13. 

External links[edit]