NEWPORT, R.I. – Thirty-three College of Naval Warfare (CNW) graduates were asked to focus on fellowship, leadership and scholarship throughout their future military careers during the college’s commencement address at the Naval War College (NWC) on November 16.
Professor William “Bill” Hartig delivered CNW’s fall graduation address to senior students and an audience of family members and guests. Hartig, who graduated from NWC in 2000 and is a faculty member in Joint Military Operations, was chosen by the class to give the address.
Reflecting on his military and professional experience, the former Marine focused on the three “Ships” he believed would have the greatest impact on the students’ future.
“The first ship you need to leverage is fellowship—there’s an underground of fellowship at the Naval War College that I didn’t know existed until I left and served overseas,” Hartig said. “You’ll cross paths with your classmates many times in the years ahead—so use this friendship, use this knowledge and use this common ground to bond with each other and advance the service. The fellowship you’ve developed here will serve you well for the rest of your careers.”
Hartig also applauded the students’ leadership abilities and challenged the class to use those skills when the global map moves from a predominately war-time environment and the traditional laws of armed conflict and rules of engagement.
“The transition to a peacetime military with the proposed cutbacks in military funding will be a stiff challenge,” Hartig announced. “Current combat officers will need your leadership during this changeover period. How you mentor and foster moral courage in officers who know only war—only conflict—will be a key in your success as a leader.”
Hartig’s final “ship” focused on scholarship as he asked students to take their instruction from NWC and teach the future military leaders of tomorrow. He exhorted the class to “train and educate the next generation to take your place.”
“You need to fan the flames of intellectual rigor in your subordinates who didn’t have the opportunity to attend the Naval War College,” Hartig added. “It’s only if we remain a learning organization that we will survive as a premier military. That’s your number one charge.”
The senior-level curriculum at NWC prepares students to broaden their perspectives and prepare themselves to assume key positions of command and staff and to build an intellectual foundation for future assignments as flag and general officers. The NWC education experience helps transition officers from duties in technical and tactical operations to responsibilities that require a broad understanding of national policy and strategy, resource allocation and management, and joint, interagency, and multinational combined operations.
“We’re fortunate to have such a strong curriculum with fabulous instructors, and I feel very prepared for my next assignment,” said Dr. Juliann Althoff, MC, USN, who will serve as the Preventative Medicine Officer for PACOM in Hawaii. “Graduation also marks a new beginning as we head to our next assignments and continue our service to our country.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the international students this past year because that program is so unique to this institution,” said Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Ledford, who received the President’s Honor Graduate Award and whose next tour of duty will be Special Operations Command for CENTCOM in Florida. “Another takeaway is that I have a greater understanding of the thought process and the mechanics of how strategy and policy are developed and where I fit in the bigger picture.”
Phased in during the academic year’s second trimester, the students took graduate courses in NWC’s three academic departments: Joint Military Operations, Strategy and Policy and National Security Decision-Making. Their studies were complemented by an electives program that provided opportunities to explore subjects not included in the core curriculum or to investigate in greater detail specific elements of the core curriculum.
The graduates earned Joint Professional Military Education phase II credit, a critical milestone in an officer’s professional development, in addition to a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.
NWC has been educating leaders for 125 years and graduates approximately 600 resident students annually. The College is accredited by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the New England Association of Colleges and Schools.
By David Reese, Naval War College Public Affairs