The U.S. Naval War College celebrated its fall 2020 graduation on November 10 with a virtual ceremony for 44 students who earned graduate diplomas in the area of national security, defense and strategic studies.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the training transitioned to an online and hybrid training program. The class gathered virtually to hear speeches from Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations at U.S. Space Force and Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, Naval War College president.
“Your time in Newport is concluding in a quite different way than when it began. You have displayed an incredible amount of adaptability and resilience in the face of enormous challenges,” said Chatfield.
She explained how the graduates converted homes into offices, classrooms, lecture halls and research libraries.
“Together with your diverse backgrounds and professional paths, you answered that call, you challenged the faculty, you challenged each other, and you challenged yourselves. You emerged as a class of scholars with a commonality with your purposes,” said Chatfield.
The keynote address was delivered by Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations who is a 2003 graduate of the Naval War College.
“It is a disciplined way of thinking at the war college, and the education you receive is significant,” said Raymond. “You know we are operating in the most complex security environment that we have seen since the end of the cold war, and we must adapt to accelerate our own transformation.”
Gen. Raymond also provided some key points about why the war college is so invaluable to the students and their organization.
“Space is just one example, so rapidly changing character of war offers no shortage of opportunities to transform the services, department of defense and national war colleges at large,” he said. “The naval war college’s curriculum, faculty and your classmates have given you a world class education.”
“Because NWC has trained you to operate in this strategic and complex environment,” he continued. “I urge you to go fast to remove barriers of change, enabled boldness to delegate authorities down to the lowest level. We need to have the ability to stay ahead of that threat. I'd also tell you that America doesn't go to war alone, and I encourage you to partner and develop those strong partnerships. Develop those partnerships with interagency committees, develop those partnerships with those nations and develop those partnerships that you've been able to build on at the war college with our international partners.”
Chatfield presented the Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award to Raymond during the virtual event.
The graduates are officers in the U.S. Navy, Army and Air Force.
Two top officers were awarded the NWC’s honor graduates. Col. Tracy G. Monteith, U.S. Army Reserve from the College of Naval Warfare and Lt. Cmdr. Jens D. Berdahl, U.S. Navy from the College of Naval Command and Staff received the honors.
Established in 1884, the U.S. Naval War College is the oldest institution of its kind in the world. More than 75,000 students have graduated since the first class of nine students in 1885.
Graduates can earn a Master of Arts degree in national security and strategic studies or defense and strategic studies. Most students graduate in June while others receive their degrees in March and November.
Another 1,000 distance-learning students complete the college’s military education courses each year from locations around the country, with some going on to earn the master’s degree.