Navy's New Deputy Chief of Naval Operations on CNO Staff Leading Work on Warfighting Development
(Source: US Navy; issued June 11, 2020)
WASHINGTON, DC --- The Navy published this week the formal announcement of a change to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV). The change, published by Director of Navy Staff (DNS) Andrew Haeuptle, provides for a new 3-star-led organization, currently under the leadership of Vice Adm. Stuart B. Munsch, whose focus is to develop and ensure the Navy’s future warfighting advantage against potential adversaries.

Named the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (DCNO) for Warfighting Development, or OPNAV N7, Munsch leads a directorate of four divisions that pursue lines of effort focused on Navy strategy; organizational learning and analysis of lessons learned from wargames, exercises, experiments, tests, and studies; education policy and the development of warrior-scholars; strategic force-development planning; and alignment of efforts across headquarters, the Navy, government, and industry to solve key operational problems.

“The integration between how we fight and how we learn cannot be underestimated in today’s strategic environment,” said ADM Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations. “The new N7 organization is improving the way we develop and deliver the Navy’s warfighting advantage to our nation. I have no doubt that it will strengthen our collective military power to out-think and out-fight any adversary.”

The Navy has put the N7 in charge of developing the Navy’s strategy and charged it with aligning individual and organizational learning to the vision that the strategy represents. The N7 has also been tasked with facilitating feedback between the strategic, analytic, and educational lines of effort, so that each improves the other.

“N7 is responsible for the Navy’s strategy and provides a framework to integrate, prioritize, and align Navy’s strategic efforts directed at solving our key operational problems.” Munsch said. “This integration includes education of our warrior-scholars and how we learn as a Navy organization.”

Navy headquarters has reorganized to better align and prioritize efforts focused on competing against great-power rivals. The strategy-focused section of OPNAV N3/N5 has realigned to N7, along with the office formerly constituted to oversee Navy analytics.

The graduate-education and education-policy components of OPNAV N1 also moved to N7, bringing with them oversight of the Navy’s flagship educational institutions – the U.S. Naval Academy, Naval Postgraduate School, and U.S. Naval War College – and of the Navy’s wide range of fellowships and scholarship opportunities. The new Naval Community College, designed to deliver to enlisted Sailors higher education relevant to the Navy’s warfighting needs, will also be part of N7’s educational portfolio.

To enhance Navy Department-wide cooperation, the N7 has been coordinating closely with its Marine Corps counterpart, the Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration, the department’s new Chief Learning Officer, created by the Secretary of the Navy last year following the comprehensive Education for Seapower study, along with key components of the research and innovation enterprises across the Navy and Defense departments, the whole of government, and think tanks and private industry.


A career submariner, Munsch most recently served as the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans, and Strategy. In addition to his time in OPNAV, he has held multiple commands at sea and served tours in Joint commands, the Office of the Secretary of the Defense, and the White House. Munsch is a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.

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