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NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- The U.S. Naval War College (NWC) paid tribute to its newest class of approximately 600 resident students from the armed forces and civilian federal agencies in a convocation ceremony in Spruance Hall Auditorium Aug. 16.

The convocation formally assembled the college community to start the academic year and included a faculty procession in academic regalia as well as a historical overview of the college's contributions by Dr. John Hattendorf, the Ernest J. King Professor of Maritime History.

NWC President Rear Adm. John N. Christenson emphasized two things students will be able to take advantage of during their academic pursuits.

"You will be given two great gifts while you're here," said Christenson. "Those are a library of great books and the time to read them."

NEWPORT, R.I. (August 16) - Senior Faculty and President, U.S. Naval War College Rear Adm. John Christenson (right) stand before the start of convocation ceremonies at the U.S. Naval War College on Tuesday morning.  (US Navy Photo by Logistics Specialist First Class John Stone)The arrival of NWC's newest students marks a nearly 127-year tradition of educating military and government officials in Newport, R.I. The college's academic mission is to develop strategic and operational leaders and also to strengthen maritime security cooperation.

In fact, only about half of NWC's newest students are naval officers. The other half of the student body comes from the Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Army, in addition to more than 90 students from 50 international navies and representatives from an alphabet soup of government agencies, including the CIA, FBI, NCIS, Office of Naval Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, among many others.

"Everything is first class here, it's outstanding," Army Maj. Christopher Almaguer said after the ceremony. "The convocation speakers were motivational. I was excited to be here before the ceremony, but I'm even more excited to be here now."

The U.S. Navy has been an integral part of Narragansett Bay from its infancy during the Revolutionary War through today. It was also home to Commodore Matthew Perry, who started trade between Japan and the U.S. in the mid-19th century.

Lt. Cmdr. Christine Cawayan said the academic nature of NWC will let her reflect on her time in Afghanistan from a different perspective.

"When I was in Afghanistan, I knew very little about war policy. That was something for the generals, and I just did my job," Cawayan said. "Now that I'm at the Naval War College, I have a chance to think like those generals think. Think about policy. Think about strategy. Think about how we can end this war."

During today's ceremony, Capt. Thomas Sass received the Weschler Award for Inspirational Teaching and the 2011 Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award was presented to Dr. Clifford Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

"I'm truly honored by this honor," said Stanley. "I spent my life caring deeply about people, and I made choices. Everything we do is the measure of the other person."

The U.S. Naval War College started more than 125 years ago as a small institution with mostly summer courses. It has evolved into a one-year resident program that graduates about 600 students a year, and a robust distance program that graduates about 1,000 students a year. The college also has a robust international engagement mission with approximately 100 international officers graduating yearly.

In addition to the College's education mission, it is heavily involved in war gaming and research in an effort to aid the Chief of Naval Operations in defining the path of the future Navy. More recently, the college has developed operational level courses to satisfy fleet requirements, preparing leaders for the challenges of operational and/or strategic level leadership over the remainder of their careers as decision makers and problem solvers.

NWC is accredited by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for Joint Professional Military Education Phases I and II and by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges to award a Master of Arts degree in national security and strategic studies.

From Naval War College Public Affairs
Posted by Brie Lyons