Overview about the U.S. Naval War College

Throughout its history, the College has held fast to the belief, first articulated by its Founding President, Rear Admiral Stephen Bleeker Luce, USN, that ,"The War College is a place of original research about all questions relating to war and to statesmanship connected with war, or the prevention of war."

Vice Admiral Stansfield Turner, USN, 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 men with the capability of solving complex problems and executing their decisions. Scholarship for scholarship's sake is of no importance to us. 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 and are the driving forces of the College's approach to education and research, analysis, and gaming. This strategic tradition is more than rhetoric; it has a very practical and abiding influence in everything that the College does. Professional Military Eduation (PME) at the College is not intended to prepare leaders for a specific follow-on assignment, but rather to prepare them for the challenges of operational and/or strategic level leadership over the remainder of their careers as decision makers and problem solvers. The College’s educational programs foster the required mental flexibility and discipline to cope effectively with the intellectual demands of addressing the uncertainty inherent in the issues addressed by those in positions of significant responsibility within the broader national security community in the United States and that of our friends and allies.

Recognizing that not every officer has the opportunity to study war in the resident program at Newport, the Naval War College understood the importance of bringing PME to military officers where they live and work. 

April 1, 1914, the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) issued General Order No. 89. This Order affirmed “The Naval War College is prepared to conduct extension courses by correspondence for the benefit of officers who are not at present available for attendance at the College.”

Within this framework, the College continues to serve the Navy and the nation through its efforts toward mission accomplishment. It conducts eight major in-residence academic programs involving U.S. and international military officers, senior U.S. and international enlisted leaders, and U.S. government employees. It has five major non-resident programs, one blended education program, and three distance learning programs. These seventeen programs now reach more than 30,000 individuals and about 4,000 of those students are involved with intermediate-level education through one of the College's five programs.



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