U.S. Naval War College (NWC) has opened a Russia Maritime Studies Institute (RMSI) on their Newport, Rhode Islandv campus on August 31st,2016 , tasked with the mission of better understanding Russia’s expanding role in the global maritime environment.
Establishing the institute is partially in response to a resurgent Russian military that has enabled Moscow to assert itself in Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere as well as the need to better understand the factors that drive Russian decision making about maritime issues, according to Michael Petersen, the founding director of RMSI.
The mission of the RMSI is to conduct research on Russian strategic and operational maritime issues on behalf of the U.S. Navy. The RMSI is developing a research agenda that is responsive to the Navy’s needs and will execute that agenda through collaborative and independent scholarly research projects both inside and outside of NWC.
RMSI will leverage connections across the U.S. government and academia to conduct research into Russian naval policy, strategy, maritime operations, shipbuilding, international law and other topics. RMSI will then disseminate that research to the U.S. Navy, NATO allies and the academic world.
“RMSI’s goals are to inform the Navy’s and our NATO partners’ decision making with regard to Russian maritime issues, provide analysis that supports U.S. planning and engagement efforts and develop new knowledge that contributes to scholarship,” said Petersen.
While the focus of this new institute is on Russia, the intention is not to be a policymaking group.
“We don’t make policy,” said Petersen. “We are here to inform those who do make policy and give them the best analysis of Russian maritime issues that we can.”
NWC also has a similar group, China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI), devoted to researching and analyzing that country’s maritime forces.
RMSI was officially opened with a brief ceremony in the office of Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley, president of NWC.
During the ceremony, Harley indicated that the establishment of RMSI will be an asset to the college and also to national decision makers.
“The world is changing quickly and Naval War College continues to position itself as a preeminent intellectual center for our Fleet and our Navy,” said Harley. “The faculty and staff of RMSI will locate strategic knowledge gaps and work to fill them. One of our missions is to support defining the future Navy and associated roles and missions. Establishing RMSI is another way we fulfill this.”