Past Naval War College Presidents

From the time of its founder and first president, Rear Admiral Steven B. Luce in 1884, the U.S. Naval War College has been capably led to excel as the U.S. Navy's "Home of Thought." The vision and efforts of its storied presidents have ensured the college's place at the forefront of educating leaders, defining the future Navy, and informing decision making at the highest levels of government.

Cmdr. Ty Lemerande, U.S. Naval War College (NWC), portrays Rear Adm. Stephen B. Luce, first president of NWC and provides remarks at the 2021-2022 academic year convocation ceremonies, August 4, 2021.
Cmdr. Ty Lemerande, U.S. Naval War College (NWC), portrays Rear Adm. Stephen B. Luce, first president of NWC and provides remarks at the 2021-2022 academic year convocation ceremonies, August 4, 2021. The convocation ceremonies welcome joint service and international in-residence students at the U.S. Naval War College. (U.S. Navy photo by Cmdr. Gary Ross/released)
Jie Ruan, 2023
Rear Admiral Shoshana S. Chatfield
Shoshana S. Chatfield
Rear Adm.
President August 01, 2019 - June 23, 2023

In 2019, Admiral Chatfield was appointed the 57th President of the Naval War College, becoming the first woman to hold this position. Upon arrival, she emphasized the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion and increased confidence in the culture of respect and collaboration within the institution. She led the College during a time of extraordinary challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Chatfield oversaw the successful transition of the college’s education and research programs to virtual and hybrid formats. For these efforts, the College received the Meritorious Unit Citation.

Tom Edgerton, 2020
Rear Admiral Jeffrey A. Harley
Jeffrey A. Harley
Rear Adm.
President July 26, 2016 - June 10, 2019

During Rear Admiral Harley’s tenure as 56th president of the Naval War College, he sought to “operationalize, navalize, futurize, and internationalize” the College. This was achieved in part by creating a Cyber and Innovation Policy Institute. He also established the John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research to ground the college in history as well as a College of Leadership and Ethics to emphasize leadership principles. In the international arena, he established the International Maritime Staff Officers Course and created a program to allow international students to earn a master’s degree.

Tom Edgerton, 2017
Rear Admiral P. Gardner Howe III
P. Gardner Howe III
Rear Adm.
President July 08, 2014 - July 25, 2016

As the 55th President of the U.S. Naval War College, Rear Admiral Howe was the first U.S. Navy SEAL to hold that office. Under his leadership, the college focused its efforts on preparing leaders for the challenges of an increasingly complex operational environment and the rise of nearpeer competitors. These efforts included reinvigorating a sense of the profession and leading the Navy's initiatives to improve leader development.

Gerald Slater, 2014
Rear Admiral Walter E“. Ted”Carter, Jr.
Walter E. “Ted” Carter, Jr.
Rear Adm.
President June 02, 2013 - July 08, 2014

54th President of the U.S. Naval War College, Rear Admiral Carter effectively led the college through an unprecedented period of fleet interaction and international engagement. Perceiving the need to create a cadre of U.S. Navy strategists, he led the efforts to establish the Advanced Studies in Naval Strategy Program. Designated by the Chief of Naval Operations to oversee all leadership and ethics training throughout the Navy, he presented a watershed white paper entitled “Ethics in the Navy” that became the cornerstone for ethical discussions within the Navy and the joint force. He subsequently established the Naval Leadership and Ethics Center in Newport, Rhode Island.

Gerald P. York, 2013
Rear Admiral John N. Christenson
John N. Christenson
Rear Adm.
President March 30, 2011 - July 02, 2013

A U.S. Navy surface warfare officer, Rear Admiral Christenson was President, Board of Inspection and Survey, before becoming the 53rd President of the U.S. Naval War College. As president of the Naval War College, Admiral Christenson stimulated War College innovation, broke new ground in Navy leader education, expanded international outreach and increased support to fleet operational-level training through his promotion of faculty research and war-gaming. The college provided hands-on assistance to fleet staffs in venues such as the Fleet Synchronization Conference, Current Strategy Forum, Leader Development Strategy and the International Seapower Symposium.

Gerald P. York, 2010
Rear Admiral James P. Wisecup
James P. Wisecup
Rear Adm.
President November 06, 2008 - March 30, 2011

A U.S. Navy surface warfare officer, Rear Admiral Wisecup was Commander, Carrier Strike Group 7 (USS Ronald Reagan Strike Group), immediately before becoming the 52nd President of the U.S. Naval War College. As president of the Naval War College, Admiral Wisecup oversaw the continuing growth of the college, inaugurated the Chinese language library for the college’s China Maritime Studies Institute, and hosted two highly successful Current Strategy Fora as well as the nineteenth International Seapower Symposium. His administration saw increased cooperation and support from the Naval War College Foundation with substantial growth in its membership.

Margaret H. Sargent, 2007
Rear Admiral Jacob L. Shuford
Jacob L. Shuford
Rear Adm.
President August 12, 2004 - November 06, 2008

Rear Admiral Jacob Shuford, the fifty-first president of the U.S. Naval War College, led the college through an unprecedented period of mission growth, program expansion, and increased international engagement. He directed an extensive restructuring of the basic curriculum, and created and implemented the flag-level Joint Force Maritime Component Commander course, the Maritime Staff Operators course, and a re-chartered Operational Planner Course. At the strategic level, under his direction, the college played the key role in designing the overall process for the nation’s maritime strategy as well as planning and executing the geostrategic analysis that supported it.

Tom Edgerton, 2005
Rear Admiral Ronald A. Route
Ronald A. Route
Rear Adm.
President July 09, 2003 - August 12, 2004

Reporting to the U.S. Naval War College from duty as Commander, Navy Warfare Development Command, Rear Admiral Route accelerated the advantages that the Naval War College brought to the U.S. Navy and the nation by sharpening the college’s focus on mission and relevance. Under his leadership, the college successfully addressed key operational challenges of significant concern to the Navy through an aggressive program of research, analysis and war gaming. These efforts included establishing an advanced research program for selected students—the Halsey Scholars—collaborating with Navy experts in areas such as ballistic missile defense and theater antisubmarine challenges.

Tom Edgerton, 2004
Rear Admiral Rodney P. Rempt
Rodney P. Rempt
Rear Adm.
President August 22, 2001 - July 09, 2003

Taking command as the forty-ninth president of the U.S. Naval War College only twenty days before the terrorist attack of 11 September 2001, Rear Admiral Rempt immediately refocused the college and its intellectual resources on the new imminent threats to the nation. Under his leadership, the college provided an illuminating series of point papers to the nation’s top military and civilian leaders and initiated innovative homeland security games with participants from key local, state, and federal agencies. During his tenure, Admiral Rempt completed a wide-ranging review of the U.S. Navy’s graduate and professional education policy that resulted in significant changes and improvements.

Margaret H. Sargent, 2000
Vice Admiral Arthur K. Cebrowski
Arthur K. Cebrowski
Vice Adm.
President July 24, 1998 - August 22, 2001

Arthur K. Cebrowski (1942 – 2006) was a member of the first CNO Strategic Studies Group at the U.S. Naval War College in 1981. Before becoming the college’s forty-eighth president, he had previously served as Director, Navy Space, Information Warfare, Command and Control (N6). As college president, he introduced network-centric warfare, the theory of war for the information age, to the college’s curriculum and research, created an information-age war-fighting environment for war gaming and brought the Navy Warfare Development Command to fruition. He also introduced the concept of transformation to the college, making the Naval War College complex a change agent for the U.S. Navy leadership.