President's Forum

Article excerpt

A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimension.

-Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

IT IS DIFFICULT TO DESCRIBE concisely the mission of institutions like the Naval War College, but if one were called upon to do so in three words or less, it would be to create new ideas. New ideas are incredibly powerful, and for this reason they are frequently viewed with skepticism and wariness. An old adage says that the only thing more difficult than getting a new idea into a mind is getting an old one out!

New ideas can arise from many sources, and they can be driven by everything from desperation to quiet contemplation. It can be argued, however, that the best ideas are born from study, reflection, and careful analysis of options-plus passion and drive. It is this process that we seek to nurture at the Naval War College.

The Newport complex, which includes the Naval War College, the Navy Warfare Development Command, and the CNO's Strategic Studies Group, serves as fertile ground for creativity. This process is facilitated by:

* Faculty, student, and staff research and experimentation activities that are conducted in a free and risk-accepting atmosphere.

* The study of current global security events within the context of relevant historical precedents and classical principles of war.

* Mentorship from a world-class faculty that includes proven scholars/ educators and experienced military operators.

* Close and frequent interaction and seminar discussions among students from all military services and key civilian agencies within the national security arena.

* The opportunity to understand better, learn alongside, and socialize with top-quality military officers from more than sixty different nations.

* Sharing ideas with visiting lecturers ranging from service chiefs and combatant commanders to world-renowned authors, statesmen, and jurists.

* Having the luxury to step back from operational demands for a year to concentrate exclusively on professional development and intellectual growth.

* Taking advantage of superb academic resources such as the Eccles Library, extensive historical archives, and an informative museum and naval curator.

* Participating in sophisticated war games and crisis exercises with joint and fleet staffs, and with senior federal, state, and local government officials.

* Seeing concepts developed, gamed, tested in fleet experiments, and introduced to the theater of war with great effect.

* Working and studying in a unique collegial atmosphere where new ideas are welcomed and new perspectives are encouraged.


The Naval War College serves the nation by providing graduate and professional maritime and joint military education, advanced research and study, gaming, and public outreach programs, to:

* Educate future leaders

* Prepare U.S. and international military officers and civilians to meet national security challenges as senior leaders in naval, joint, interagency, and multinational arenas.

* Enable students to develop and execute the national military strategy and conduct maritime and joint operations applying sound strategic and operational art. …