Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Maritime Reserve) - ICSC(MR)

Joint Services Command and Staff College
12 days - residential

About this course

The aim of the ICSC(MR) is to provide world class intermediate command and staff training and education for naval officers and their civilian counterparts in order to support the operational effectiveness of the Royal Navy. It will prepare you for command and leadership roles and work in the joint service environment. 

The syllabus covers 3 key areas: Strategic Studies; Maritime Studies and the Joint Context interspersed with lectures and discussions on Command, Leadership, Management and Ethos. ICSC(MR) will develop your leadership; analytical and communication skills; understanding of the international environment; knowledge of UK Defence Management & Military capabilities; and your appreciation of how maritime power contributes to Joint and Combined operations. 

Successful completion of ICSC(MR) is a mandatory requirement for promotion to substantive lieutenant commander RNR or equivalent. 

For each iteration you will need to attend an Induction weekend:
11 - 12 May 19 for the July 19 iteration
30 - 31 May 20 for the July 20 iteration

What you will learn

You will learn to:
  • evaluate the importance of Command, Leadership, Management, Ethos and Ethics (CLME). ICSC(MR) provides an important opportunity for you to discuss a wide range of CLME topics and take stock of your own personal development. These studies are inter-woven throughout the course with opportunities taken to expose you to the personal experiences and insights of CLME from a wide range of speakers.  These are supported by syndicate room discussions and tutorials which allow the key issues to be further explored and debated
  • demonstrate critical thinking skills and the ability to communicate effectively (oral and written). The staff & communication Skills module is spread throughout the course with much of the work being done as part of other elements of ICSC(MR)
As you are expected to have completed the online electronic defence writing (eDW) package before arriving, you will very rapidly be taken through and tested on the fundamental defence writing conventions early on in the course. You will learn and develop these skills whilst studying other elements of the course syllabus by delivering formal and informal presentations and briefings, submitting various styles of written work, or leading and contributing in syndicate room discussions. The emphasis is on effective communication using the most appropriate method and media to share information and improve understanding.This module also includes problem solving, working practices and management strategy using syndicate exercises to consolidate and reinforce all these points.  This module focuses on the a, b, c of all good staff work – accuracy, brevity & clarity. 

You will be able to explain the position of the UK within the international environment and how the maritime input to defence supports the UK’s interests at home and abroad.  The strategic studies module covers a wide range of subjects which aim to set the strategic context within which UK maritime forces operate. Subjects include:
  • globalisation and security
  • British politics, foreign, and defence policies
  • international security organisations (EU, UN, NATO)
  • global and regional security studies
  • UK defence management
You will learn to analyse the application of maritime power across the full spectrum of conflict. The maritime studies module (Strategy, Environment, Capabilities, and the Royal Navy) aims to develop your understanding of the unique nature and importance of the maritime environment whilst putting the Royal Navy properly into the context of the strategic environment. The key tenets of strategy and strategic thought are introduced focusing on: 
  • strategic thinkers
  • maritime power and doctrine
  • naval diplomacy
To ensure you leave with a good understanding of the Royal Navy, a range of subjects are covered including briefs on current UK maritime capabilities. A number of RNR specific personnel briefs are also included, often in company with the Advanced Command & Staff Course (Reserves) which usually runs concurrently.

You will understand the contributions of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force to the concepts of Jointery and Coalition Operations. This package studies the core capabilities of the UK Armed Forces and the environments in which they operate. Supported by a Joint Staff consisting of Royal Navy, Royal Marine, Army and Royal Air Force officers; the maritime contribution to Joint and Combined Operations is also examined. 

The utility and constraints of military force are explored covering topics such as: 
  • military power
  • legal and ethical issues
  • the nature and character of current and future conflict
  • terrorism, counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations
  • combined operations are discussed exposing the specific challenges faced during NATO and other coalition operations
In syndicate groupings, students study and present on a number of historical operations aiming to draw out the key lessons for maritime officers involved in contemporary joint operations. On the penultimate day of the course individual reflections on the realities of conflict are heard from military officers with personal experience from past and current operations, ensuring the CLME aspects of the course are reinforced to the very end.

The course is intensive and challenging, designed to bring you right up-to-date with the latest challenges and issues facing the Royal Navy. The course is very much designed to teach you how to think and what to think about. But not what to think. 

Within the demanding study programme there are opportunities for social and sporting activities which aid syndicate and course bonding and the exchange of ideas. The wide range of courses at the Defence Academy undertaken by UK armed forces officers, other government department officials and those from international military forces, enables informal engagement, thus enhancing the student learning experience as much as possible. You will be exposed to first class academic lecturers and external speakers with expertise from military, professional and academic backgrounds that will share their experience and knowledge and invite discussion and debate.

How will this course help my career?

The course will prepare you for future leadership and management roles, increasing your knowledge of maritime and joint working within a national and international context. It will develop your critical thinking skills and challenge you to analyse and interpret information from available sources to reach a reasoned and justifiable conclusion, skills highly transferable across all job markets.  

Successful completion of ICSC(MR) is a mandatory requirement for promotion to substantive lieutenant commander RNR or equivalent. 

Security and restrictions

Restrictions on attendees:
You should have some experience of working with the Royal Navy or in the maritime environment.  

Security caveats:
Security clearance to SC is required in order to participate in all course activity

Nationality caveats:
International students are welcomed subject to current MOD policy

Before you attend

You must have a Defence Gateway account in order to access your course material and complete the pre course essential reading and exercises. If you do not have an account, please go to for further information on how to create one.   

As a minimum, you must complete the following prior to your residential course:

Staff and Communication Skills. In preparation for this component, you should familiarise yourself with Joint Service Publication (JSP) 101, Defence Writing Guide (in particular Chapter 6) and complete a written exercise which will help you apply JSP 101 in practice. You may also wish to complete the online electronic defence writing (eDW) package noting this takes approximately 2hrs to complete. 

You will also be asked to submit two further pieces of written work prior to your attendance on the course, a briefing paper and appraisal report. 

Command, Leadership, Management and Ethos/Ethics. As part of your pre-course preparation, you should arrive having prepared a 5 minute oral presentation on a leader which will be allocated to you and which you will deliver in the first week of your course. 

Essential Reading. The essential pre-reading is the absolute minimum to set the initial context for what will be an intense period of study. This should take approximately 4 hours. 

a. Global Strategic Trends – Out to 2045.
b. Joint Doctrine Publication 0-10 British Maritime Doctrine.
c. The Future Operating Environment 2035 (Introduction, Chapters 1, 2, 3 Key Points (at the end of each chapter), Commanders Perspective.
d. Maritime Doctrine Primer (Second Edition).
e. Future Navy Vision. The Royal Navy Today, Tomorrow and Towards 2025

Desirable Reading.  You should familiarise yourself with the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence Review 2015. A Secure and Prosperous United Kingdom. 

Course Administration. Complete the electronic Student Pre-joining Form along with a short biography.

Can I attend this course?

This course is suitable for the following type(s) of applicant.
  • Internationals
  • Military
  • MOD Civil Servants
  • Partners Across Government (PAG)
  • MOD civil servants must be Band D or above
  • OGD personnel must be EO equivalent or above

How will I learn?

Classroom, E-Learning

How will you be assessed?

You will be assessed through a series of formative and summative exercises designed to test your communication (verbal and written), intellectual, analytical, leadership and inter personal skills. Formative exercises are designed to provide you with feedback which you can use to identify your strengths and weakness and target specific areas prior to summative assessment. Summative exercises evaluate your work and contribute to your final end of course result. You will have access to naval and academic staff to ensure that you receive guidance and support throughout your course.      

You need to score a minimum of 50% to pass the course. A certificate with your overall award (pass; pass with merit (upper/lower) or distinction) will be presented to you upon successful completion.