The Naval War College at 125: Un Tour d'Horizon

By Shuford, J. L. | Naval War College Review, Winter 2009 | Go to article overview

The Naval War College at 125: Un Tour d'Horizon


Shuford, J. L., Naval War College Review


BY THE TIME THIS ISSUE of the Naval War College Review is distributed, myoid friend and one of the nation's most brilliant and capable naval officers will be at the desk where I have written commentaries for sixteen previous issues. I am sure that the Naval War College Press will have great hopes that his submissions are timelier than those of his predecessor. This is only one of the many challenges Admiral Wisecup will face. Some of them will carry strategic consequence for the College and the Navy.

I have used these pages in the "President's Forum" to convey to the Review's diverse authences - internal and external to the College - the objectives and scheme of advance of this institution over the past fifty- one months. The ideas the Forum has incorporated, while often argued, framed, and edited at the President's desk, were actually gathered from across the institution. The Forum has thus been, I believe, purposeful in capturing and developing vision as it emerged from the genius of this place. Further, the articles, taken together, represent the College's "PIM" - its "planned intended movement." The advance along track, while it has been very encouraging, has brought new challenges and opportunities into view - new external factors into the calculus of the track. The College's horizon presents now a decidedly different set of features from those appearing on that horizon four years ago.

As the nation confronts a dramatically altered strategic and political environment, the Naval War College has been thrust into a position of increased prominence on the Navy's agenda. The College is now operating in four major lanes to meet the challenges of today's global security environment:

* Developing strategic and operational leaders

* Bolstering the ability of the Navy and its maritime partners to lead and support at the operational and strategic levels of war

* Marrying theory and practice to advance the art and science of decision making and command and control in globally networked, self-organizing environments

* Building and sustaining global maritime partnerships.

These four initiatives align to the expanded mission set for the College, and they should drive Navy resourcing priorities consistent with the strategic leverage that Navy leadership expects from this institution.

The faculty and staff of the Naval War College have accomplished much in just the past few years to advance and substantiate this expanded mission set, first and foremost through restructuring the previous model of a single core curriculum to create instead two distinct curricula for the senior and intermediate academic programs. Additionally, the curricula have been expanded and électives restructured along functional and regional lines to better support combatant and component commanders' regional security strategies. The research, analysis, and gaming mission has also expanded and realigned its activities with senior operational commanders facing critical operational challenges in our forward theaters.

The Naval War College first proposed, and was then directed to take the coordinating and implementing lead in developing, the core of enlisted and officer Professional Military Education (PME) across a career continuum, from sailor to admiral. The continuum that the College developed reflects joint career- development policy and Navy policy to align PME requirements with career progression milestones. It has also provided a means to impose coherence on the Navy's education strategy. More important, this has had the effect of driving the very best and most promising leaders into the College's main programs. In short, the curricula offered at the Naval War College have moved from "nice to have" to "essential" for advancement to positions of senior leadership. The total throughput demand has roughly doubled. To meet the additional authences required by these new policy objectives, the College's distance-learning program alone has risen from roughly 1,500 in 2002 to over fourteen thousand in 2008, and it will grow to what we estimate will exceed twenty-five thousand in 2010. …

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