NEWPORT, R.I. -- U.S. Naval War College graduated 51 military officer with master’s degrees in the field of strategic studies on March 5.
The graduates completed 10-month programs on the Newport campus in the College of Naval Warfare or the College of Naval Command and Staff.
Graduation speaker Robert W. Hutchinson, a fellow in the Strategy and Policy Department, told the class members that they emerge newly armed with analytical skills.
“What we ask you to take forward as you leave here then, is a way of thinking, a methodology of problem-solving that stands apart from any content you may have learned along the way,” Hutchinson said.
“We ask you to use these tools to grow intellectually and continue to improve. Lifelong learning, after all, is not a distraction from the real work you have to do, or the life you are living, but rather it’s essential to them both.”
Hutchinson told the graduates that – as they learned in their classes – there will always be an overwhelming amount of information available. Their task is to choose wisely, he said.
“I urge you to be flexible, to be resilient, read widely, seek out compelling arguments --especially if they sit uncomfortably alongside your ingrained preconceptions,” said Hutchinson, who studies the history of modern Europe.
“And in difficult periods, when time is lacking, and the solutions in front of you seem unsatisfactory, always remain guarded against the false comforts of cynicism and fatalism.”
U.S. Army Maj. John T. Brasher was the group’s honor graduate.
Brasher maintained an academic average of more than 93 percent and took leadership roles during major class exercises, Dean of Students Capt. Patrick Keyes told the audience.
Additionally, during the academic year Brasher volunteered his time at Claiborne Pell Elementary School in Newport, and he participated in leader development work with his ROTC unit at the University of New Mexico.
“It reinvigorates your interest in learning again,” Brasher said in an interview about his Naval War College experience.
“You go so long in the military between education (opportunities) – there’s a lot of training, but not necessarily education. So the experience reinvigorates your interest in studying, learning, reflecting,” said Brasher, an infantry officer whose next assignment is the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
The new graduates received a final charge from U.S. Naval War College President Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley.
“I charge you to replace fear with trust, to show humility, to have integrity and to be respectful,” Harley said.
“I charge you then to have courage and to harness it, to know that your faith in God or in your nation is not misplaced, that your sacrifices keep this great nation free.”
Since 1884, U.S. Naval War College has served as a place of original research on all questions relating to war. The institution educates and develops future leaders for the U.S. Navy and the other military services. Graduation ceremonies are held in March, June and November.
U.S. Naval War College photographs from the graduation ceremony will be available at www.flickr.com/photos/usnavalwarcollegeri.