Military Wiki
Founded 1942
Focus Research and analysis services to DoD and other government agencies
  • Arlington, Virginia
Origins U.S. Navy Anti-submarine Warfare Operations Research Group
Key people

Katherine McGrady, Ph.D., President & CEO

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.[1] 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. CNA is the parent organization of both the Center for Naval Analyses and the Institute for Public Research, which provides non-military research and analysis for federal, state, and local government agencies, largely on homeland defense, justice, emergency management and public health.[2] CNA is a nonprofit, operating in the public interest. In 2008, CNA's Center for Naval Analyses launched a classified website on SIPRNet, a classified version of the Internet, used by the Department of Defense and Department of State.

CNA's History

CNA traces its roots to World War II. During the Battle of the Atlantic the Navy turned to a small group of scientists led by MIT Professor Philip Morse for help in responding to the German U-boat threat.[3] These scientists pioneered the concept of operations research. They insisted on deploying with Navy forces in order to directly observe operational challenges and collect the data needed for meaningful analyses. Their groundbreaking work not only resulted in anti-submarine warfare barrier equations that set the standard for future operations research methods, it also helped establish operations research and analysis as a distinct field of study. Over its history, CNA’s work has been defined by multi-disciplinary, field-based "real world" operations research and analysis that combines observation of people, decisions, and processes by rigorously trained analysts to help decision makers understand the consequences of possible actions and to implement the best possible solutions.

Divisions and Programs

Systems, Tactics, and Force Development

Areas of focus: aviation systems and technology; science and technology; information technology and operations; force structure and employment; maritime search and undersea warfare; expeditionary systems and support

Research conducted by CNA's Systems, Tactics, and Force Development division focuses on analyses of ways to improve future material readiness for the Navy, Marine Corps, and other components of the Department of Defense.[4] Analysts conduct assessments of alternative technical and systems approaches designed to address emerging gaps in the capabilities of U.S. forces, and assess the cost, performance, and risks of various material solutions to address these gaps. Systems, Tactics, and Force Development analysts develop a thorough understanding of sponsors’ objectives and operating environments – including sea, land, air, space, and cyberspace – and of the performance characteristics of supporting technologies and systems. Analysts also serve as a link between scientists and engineers in the research and development communities and operators in the Fleet and Marine Forces.

China and Indo-Pacific Security Affairs

Areas of focus: defense and security affairs; foreign policy and transformational issues; leadership and domestic politics; institutional and organizational analyses; internal security; social change, and governance

CNA China Studies and the Indo-Pacific Security Affairs program provide the American public, government officials, and business leaders with high-level analyses of important issues in U.S.-China relations, emerging trends within China, its changing role in world affairs, and its neighbors in the Indo-Pacific.[5] Analyses are conducted by researchers who have lived, worked, or studied in China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan and for whom Chinese is a working research language. Publications and programs are designed to provide the insights and context needed for leaders make informed judgments and develop sound plans.

Operational Warfighting

Areas of focus: maritime domain awareness; combat system interoperability; fleet systems; command-and-control structures: precision strike warfare; consequence management; counter-IED and counter-mining; aircrew training; and training for operators at the tactical and operational levels of war

CNA's Operational Warfighting division focuses primarily on evaluating current military operations and capabilities – from major combat, to smaller-scale directed strikes, to peacetime engagement missions with partner nations to build capacity or provide humanitarian assistance.[6] It also evaluates the effectiveness of new tactics, systems, and concepts of operations employed to counter great power competition, including Dynamic Force Employment and Distributed Maritime Operations.

Resources and Force Readiness

Areas of focus: infrastructure and readiness; manpower management; materials management; environment, climate change, and energy; facilities and real estate; acquisition and cost management; budget and execution management; metrics and competitive sourcing; cost and schedule analysis; workforce, education, and training

CNA's Resources and Force Readiness division provides analytical services to help develop, evaluate, and implement policies, practices, and programs that make people, budgets, and assets more effective and efficient.[7] All of the division’s analyses are aimed at resolving sponsors’ problems through empirical research, or through modeling and simulation.

Strategy, Policy, Plans, and Programs

Areas of focus: political-military issues; irregular warfare; in-theater analysis of Afghanistan and Iraq operations; strategic concepts and futures planning; leadership analysis; U.S. military engagement and shaping activities; Russia's military and strategy; Middle East and Latin America security issues; East Asia security strategies; Iran; North Africa Piracy and the Gulf of Guinea

The Strategy, Policy, Plans, and Programs division is CNA’s focal point for the research and analysis of regional political-military and policy issues, and U.S. strategy and force assessment planning.[8] Its work is characterized by a heavy use of primary sources of information, the operational and policy expertise of its analysts—which includes foreign language skills and experience gained by living, working, or studying abroad—and by recommendations that focus on understanding the “why” behind today’s headlines and identifying and analyzing “the issue after next.”

Data Science

The Data Science division in the Center for Naval Analyses develops advanced analytics and algorithms, including predictive analytics and machine learning, to optimize outcomes for the Department of the Navy. CNA Data Science focuses on questions where the size of the datasets and complexity of the issues demand advanced coding skills for statistical and modeling techniques and data wrangling. CNA data scientists also support decision-makers with design thinking workshops, a solution-focused methodology, and dynamic, quick-turn analyses.

Marine Corps Program

Areas of focus: logistics and infrastructure; manpower and training; operations and plans; aviation; combat development and integration; programs and resources

CNA’s Marine Corps Program conducts analyses on a wide range of issues critical to the Marine Corps leadership, using CNA Headquarters-based analysts as well as analysts serving in the field at Marine Forces Command, Marine Forces Pacific, Marine Special Operations Command, the three Marine Expeditionary Forces, and Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1).[9] Analysts are also assigned to support the Deputy Commandants and their staffs and other Marine Corps organizations including the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, Marine Corps Systems Command, and the Commander, Marine Forces Reserve.

Operations Evaluation Group (OEG)

Areas of focus: operational analysis; strategic analysis; tactical analysis; operational testing; readiness and training

The Operations Evaluation Group conducts ongoing, field-based research focused on a host of strategic, operational, and tactical challenges facing decision-makers at Navy, Marine Corps, and Joint commands.[10] Through its Field Program, OEG sends analysts on two- to three-year deployments to provide real-time analytic support to operational commands around the world, including aircraft carrier strike groups, Marine expeditionary forces, the U.S. Central Command, and the U.S. Pacific Command.

Military Advisory Board

In 2006 CNA convened a Military Advisory Board (MAB) of retired three- and four-star flag and general officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps to assess the impact of global climate change on key matters of national security and lay the groundwork for mounting responses to the threats found. In April 2007 CNA released the MAB's report, National Security and the Threat of Climate Change,[11] that articulates the concept of climate change acting as a "threat multiplier" for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world and identifies key challenges that must be planned for now if they are to be met effectively in the future.

Since then, the Military Advisory Board has produced several more reports: Powering America’s Defense: Energy and the Risks to National Security[12] (2009), Powering America’s Economy: Energy Innovation at the Crossroads of National Security Challenges[13] (2010), Ensuring America's Freedom of Movement: A National Security Imperative to Reduce U.S. Oil Dependence[14] (2011), National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change[15] (2014), National Security and Assured U.S. Electrical Power[16] (2015), Advanced Energy and U.S. National Security[17] (2017), and The Role of Water Stress in Instability and Conflict[18] (2018).


  1. "The Center for Naval Analyses". Retrieved 2021-04-27. 
  2. "About CNA". Retrieved 2021-04-27. 
  3. "CNA History". Retrieved 2021-04-27. 
  4. "Systems, Tactics, and Force Development". Retrieved 2021-04-27. 
  5. "China and Indo-Pacific Security Affairs". Retrieved 2021-04-27. 
  6. "Operational Warfighting". Retrieved 2021-04-27. 
  7. "Resources and Force Readiness". Retrieved 2021-04-27. 
  8. "Strategy, Policy, Plans, and Programs". Retrieved 2021-04-27. 
  9. "Marine Corps Program". Retrieved 2021-04-27. 
  10. "Operations Evaluation Group". Retrieved 2021-04-27. 
  11. "''National Security and the Threat of Climate Change''". Retrieved 2021-04-27. 
  12. "Powering America’s Defense: Energy and the Risks to National Security". Retrieved 2021-04-27. 
  13. "Powering America’s Economy: Energy Innovation at the Crossroads of National Security Challenges". Retrieved 2021-04-27. 
  14. "Ensuring America's Freedom of Movement: A National Security Imperative to Reduce U.S. Oil Dependence". Retrieved 2021-04-27. 
  15. "National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change". Retrieved 2021-04-27. 
  16. "National Security and Assured U.S. Electrical Power". Retrieved 2021-04-27. 
  17. "Advanced Energy and U.S. National Security". Retrieved 2021-04-27. 
  18. "The Role of Water Stress in Instability and Conflict". Retrieved 2021-04-27. 

External links

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