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MCWAR Casablanca Conference Exercise

March 13, 2020 The Marine Corps War College (MCWAR) ran a two-day Casablanca Exercise, in which the students were put in the role of the Combined Chiefs during the Casablanca Conference, which was held in January 1943.  Each participant was given copies of the actual staff studies provided to the Combined Chiefs, along with statistical data that was available to the Chiefs in 1943.  With this information in hand, they were tasked to establish the strategic priorities for the next two years of the war.

MCWAR Casablanca Conference Exercise Senior Leaders
LtGen Walsh, LtGen Natonski, MajGen Hanifen and Dr. Lacey serve as Senior Leader Advisors during the MCWAR Casablanca Exercise.

Only at the end of the exercise were the students allowed to review the actual priorities that the Combined Chiefs presented to President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill.  Dr. Lacey remarked on how close every student team came to what was actually decided in 1943: “When you think about it, this is a pretty outstanding accomplishment considering that the class did in two days what the Combine Chiefs respective staffs spent over a year developing.”

MCWAR students role play as the Combine Chiefs back in January 1943
Flashback to January 1943, MCWAR students acting as the Combine Chiefs at the time establish strategic objectives for the next two years of the war.

MCUF was proud to have supported this project by funding the participation of retired senior leaders, LtGen Richard Natonski, LtGen Robert Walsh, and MajGen Timothy Hanifen.  These generals not only helped coach the students, but by taking on the rolls of FDR and Churchill in the final briefings, they forced the students to look deeper into their analyses and better refine their recommendations.

Acting as Generals in 1943, studenta at the Marine Corps War College establish strategic objectives for the next two years of the war.
MCWAR Students set strategic objectives at the MCWAR Casablanca Conference Exercise.

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