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The Naval War College (NWC or NAVWARCOL) is an education and research institution of the United States Navy that specializes in developing ideas for naval warfare and passing them along to officers of the Navy. The college is located in Newport, Rhode Islandmarker. In addition to its degree programs, the College hosts various symposia and conferences.


One of Newport, Rhode Island's most enduring and prominent landmarks is the Naval War College (NWC) on Coasters Harbor Island in Narragansett Bay. The Naval War College's missions today are developing strategic and operational leaders, helping the Chief of Naval Operations define the future Navy, strengthening maritime security cooperation and supporting combat readiness.

Since the first class met on October 6, 1884, in an austere loft with nine students, more than 24,000 U.S. military and international officers, as well as hundreds of senior federal service civilian executives, have graduated from NWC.

Throughout its history, the college has held fast to the belief, first articulated by its founding president, Rear Admiral Stephen B. Luce, that "The War College is a place of original research on all questions relating to war and to statesmanship connected with war, or the prevention of war." Vice Admiral Stansfield Turner, the college's thirty-seventh president, added focus and specificity to that depiction of the character of the institution when he charged the college to "Always keep in mind the product which this country ... needs is military leaders with the capability of solving complex problems and executing their decisions. You must keep your sights set on decision making or problem solving as your objective."

The intent of Luce and Turner constitute the strategic tradition and purpose of the Naval War College. This strategic tradition has a very practical and steadfast influence in everything that the college does. The college's Professional Military Education (PME) programs are grounded in this strategic tradition and are intended to prepare leaders for the challenges of operational and/or strategic level leadership over the remainder of their careers as decision makers and problem solvers.

Each year, approximately 600 outstanding mid-career level officers of the Navy, all other U.S. services, civilian federal agencies and international naval officers come to the Naval War College as resident students to pursue a rigorous 10-month course of postgraduate studies following in the footsteps of such notable War College graduates as Fleet Admirals Chester W. Nimitz, Ernest J. King, and William "Bull" Halsey; Admiral Raymond Spruance; Ambassador Christopher R. Hill, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs; General Michael Hagee, former Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps; Rear Admiral Alan B. Shepard, first American in space; General John M. Shalikashvili, former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; Admiral Robert J. Fallon, former Commander, U.S. Central Command, Admiral James G. Stavridis, Commander, U.S. Southern Command, General James E. Cartwright, Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff and General Ray Odierno,Ccommander of Multi-National Force - Iraq. Over half the graduates of the college's senior international course, the Naval Command College, have gone on to become flag or general officers, and more than 208 have been chosen to head their respective services.

The Naval War College's Professional Military Education curriculum now focuses on three core areas: Strategy and Policy, National Security Decision Making and Joint Military Operations.

The 10-month curriculum for resident students is divided into trimesters of three to four months. Additionally, three abbreviated 12-day core curriculum courses are offered annually for U.S. military reservists.

NWC convocations are traditionally scheduled in August, and the majority of students graduate the following June. However, two smaller classes of senior and intermediate-grade U.S. officers begin their academic years in either the winter or spring trimesters, which begin in November and March.

The NWC is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges to award qualified resident U.S. graduates with a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies and accredited by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff to award JPME Phase I credit for the intermediate program and Phase II credit for the senior course. Graduates from the international programs receive a NWC diploma.

The Naval War College consists of six academic colleges.

The College of Naval Warfare is a residential program for senior-grade officers from all five U.S. military services and their civilian executive counterparts from various federal agencies.

The College of Naval Command and Staff is an intermediate residential program, attended by lieutenant commanders, majors and their civilian counterparts.

The Naval Command College, established in 1956 by Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, then the U.S. Navy's Chief of Naval Operations, is attended by senior international naval officers. These officers represent approximately 45 nations a year.

The Naval Staff College is for intermediate-grade international naval officers who have completed eight to 15 years of military service.

The College of Distance Education provides active duty officers, reservists, eligible civilian employees of the U.S. government and a limited number of allied naval officers the opportunity to complete the NWC curriculum, receiving a diploma and Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) Phase I credit. Students may either attend seminars at selected military bases throughout the U.S. via the Fleet Seminar Program, or complete their diploma requirements via a web-enabled, CDROM-based, or correspondence course programs. In the last four years, the College of Distance Education's non-resident student population increased from a total of just over 3,000 to 26,676. Most of this unprecedented increase was attributed to the development and fielding of the Introductory, Basic, Primary Enlisted, and Primary Officer PME courses on the Navy Knowledge Online learning system.

The College of Operational and Strategic Leadership (COSL), formally established on October 1, 2007, provides Professional Military Education (PME), focusing on leadership development and integrating leadership, ethics, and character development into the Navy's PME Continuum for Navy officer and enlisted personnel. NWC developed and delivers the senior flag officer curriculum called the Joint/Combined Force Maritime Component Commander's (JFMCC/CFMCC) course for select groups of flag, general, and senior executive service officers. The NWC Assist and Assess Team improves the U.S. Navy's capability at the Operational Level of War by helping to turn the Navy's Maritime Headquarters with Maritime Operations Center (MHQ/MOC) vision from concept into reality. The team assists fleet MHQ/MOCs to operate effectively and assesses fleet MHQ/MOCs to support U.S. Fleet Forces Command in accrediting these MHQ/MOCs. Additionally, the Assist and Assess Team supports Geographic Combatant Commander certification of Joint Force Maritime Component Commanders and in sharing best practices and lessons learned throughout the Fleet. This focus also produced the Maritime Staff Operators Course (MSOC), which began in 2007 and now educates almost 1,000 students each year. Additionally, the Navy Operational Planners Course has tripled throughput, since 2004. The College is engaged in student-led operational-level leadership research conducted by the multi-service and international officer Stockdale Group, and the College has established a Professional Military Ethics Program that provides a series of lectures, panels, seminars and discussion groups to further officers' understanding and application of ethical leadership.

The college's Center for Naval Warfare Studies is central to the Navy's research efforts in maritime strategic thinking. One of its departments, War Gaming, introduced at Newport in 1887, allows students, joint and fleet commanders, and representatives of the Department of Defense and various governmental agencies to test operational simulations and advanced strategic concepts more than 60 times a year. Utilizing off-the-shelf technologies of video teleconferencing, computer simulation and World Wide Web capabilities, the Decision Support Center offers users an unparalleled selection of information gathering tools to support critical outcomes.

In 2005, responding to the need to examine maritime strategy, the Naval War College embarked on a collaborative effort that produced great insight from an extensive scenario analysis and war-gaming effort and a series of high-level conferences, symposia, and other professional exchanges with maritime partners around the world. At the 18th International Seapower Symposium, hosted at the Naval War College in October 2007, the service chiefs from the Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Navy presented the results of the work of the previous two years before the largest gathering of high-ranking naval leadership ever assembled in the world. A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower will be an influential document for years to come, and as it is discussed, analyzed, argued, and gamed, the Naval War College will continue to have a significant role.


The College was established on October 6, 1884 and its first president, Commodore Stephen B. Luce, was given the old building of the Newport Asylum for the Poormarker to house it on Coaster's Harbor Islandmarker in Narragansett Baymarker. Among the first four faculty members were Tasker H. Bliss, a future Army Chief of Staff, James R. Soley, the first civilian faculty member and a future Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and most famously Captain (later, Rear Admiral) Alfred Thayer Mahan, who soon became renowned for the scope of his strategic thinking and influence on naval leaders worldwide. Despite Mahan's prestige, the College was long met with skepticism by Navy officers accustomed to conducting all education aboard ship.
Assistant Secretary of the Navy Teddy Roosevelt on the steps of the Naval War College with faculty and students.
The College engaged in wargaming various scenarios from 1887 on, and in time became a laboratory for the development of war plans. Nearly all of the U.S. naval operations of the twentieth century were originally designed and gamed at the NWC.

One of the most famous achievements of the NWC was the Global War Game, a large-scale wargaming effort to model possible United States-Soviet Unionmarker confrontation during the Cold War.

The current president is Rear Admiral James P. Wisecup, a native of Piqua, Ohio, and a 1977 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He earned his Masters Degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California, is a 1998 graduate of the Naval War College, and he also earned a degree from University of Strasbourg, France, Institute for Advanced European Studies, as an Olmsted Scholar.

As of 2008, in response to military to demand for education on irregular warfare the NWC started the Center for Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups.


Its principal courses of study are "Strategy and Policy", "National Security and Decision Making", and "Joint Military Operations". Students from all branches of the military, as well as foreign militaries, work towards a Master of Arts.

The Naval War College has two international courses, Naval Command College (NCC) and Naval Staff College (NSC), specifically prepared for the naval officers of other nations. Graduates of these programs include numerous chiefs of the maritime forces all over the world.

Despite the extensive international presence, the Naval War College, unlike other U.S. military staff colleges, has never granted a master's degree to an officer of another nation. The Naval War College declines to grant degrees to its international graduates because some officers from other navies have no undergraduate credential, generally an essential requirement for conferring a master's degree in the United States.


The NWC Press has published a number of books, and has put out the quarterly Naval War College Review since 1948.

Buildings and structures

Over the years, the Naval War College has expanded greatly. The original building, the former Newport Asylum for the Poor, now serves as home to the Naval War College Museummarker. In 1892, the structure now known as Luce Hall opened as the college's new home, at a cost of $100,000. At the time, the building housed lecture rooms and a library. Wings at either end provided two sets of quarters, occupied by the president of the College and members of the faculty. When the Naval War College was enlarged in 1932, this original building was renamed Luce Hall in honor of the institution's founder and first Superintendent (later President), Stephen B. Luce. The building was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places on September 22, 1972.

Naval War College Museum (1820).

Mahan Hall, named for Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan (NWC President from 1886–1889 and 1892–1893), was completed and opened in 1904, and encompasses the historic Mahan Rotunda and Reading Room, as well as student study areas. The Mahan Rotunda also serves as an impromptu museum of gifts and artifacts donated by graduating international students over the years.

Pringle Hall (named for Vice Admiral Joel R. P. Pringle, NWC President from 1927–1930) was opened in 1934, and was the principal site for war gaming from the time of its completion in 1934 until the Naval Electronic Warfare Simulator was built in Sims Hall in 1957. The exterior facing of the building is pink Milford granite, similar in appearance to the ashlar granite of Luce Hall, to which it is connected by two enclosed bridges. Pringle Hall contains a 432-seat auditorium, the Quinn Lecture Room, the Naval Staff College, the Graphic Arts Studio, the Information Resources Department, and the Photography Branch.

In 1947, the NWC acquired an existing barracks building and converted it to a secondary war gaming facility, naming it Sims Hall after former War College President Admiral William Sowden Sims (NWC President from Feb. to Apr. 1917 and again from 1919-1922). In 1957 Sims Hall became the primary center for the Naval War College's wargaming department, serving as such until 1999.

The 1970s saw the War College's most active expansion, with the opening of three separate buildings. In 1972, Spruance Hall, named for former NWC President Admiral Raymond A. Spruance (March 1946 - July 1948), was completed, housing faculty offices and an 1,100 seat auditorium.

In 1974, Conolly Hall was opened and named in honor of Admiral Richard L. Conolly, Naval War College President 1950–1953. It houses the NWC Quarterdeck, Administrative and faculty offices, numerous class and conference rooms, and two underground parking garages.

1976 saw the opening of Hewitt Hall, one of two Naval War College buildings not named for a War College president, this time taking its name from Admiral Henry Kent Hewitt, an advisor to the NWC during his tenure as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe following World War II. Hewitt Hall is home to the Henry E. Eccles Library, the Trident Café, the bookstore and barbershop, and student study areas and lounge.

In 1999, the state-of-the-art McCarty Little Hall opened, replacing Sims Hall as the War College's primary wargaming facility. The other building named for a non-president, it is named after Captain William McCarty Little, an influential leader and key figure in refining the techniques of war gaming. This high-tech facility is used primarily by the Center for Naval Warfare Studies to conduct war games and major conferences, and for research and analysis. The building features the technology necessary to support a variety of multi-media needs essential during multiple and simultaneous war games.

Notable U.S. Graduates

Notable International Graduates

See also


External links

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