NEWPORT, R.I. – Professor William “Bill” McDonald and Dr. David Cooper, recently named Emory S. Land Chair in Merchant Marine Affairs and Chair of the National Security Decision Making (NSDM) Department respectively, plan to rely on the expertise and talents of their staffs to help shape future curriculum and teaching methodologies.
Both faculty members are recent arrivals at the Naval War College (NWC) and plan to build on its rich tradition of successful professional military education.
McDonald, who graduated from the College of Naval Warfare in June, will also serve as a full-time member of the Joint Military Operations (JMO) faculty. He brings a wide range of expertise on maritime and transportation policy to the War College.
“I want to use my professional background to help expand the Maritime Administration’s contributions within NWC,” McDonald said. “This includes contributions within JMO as well as teaching an elective that will deal with logistics, strategic deployment and the global aspects of maritime operations. The elective will highlight the role of maritime operations in fighting and winning wars while carrying out U.S. national policy related to state building.”
McDonald’s previous assignment was as Senior Maritime Advisor to the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. His overall responsibility was to oversee U.S. and coalition programs to rebuild Iraqi ports and develop a workable intermodal transportation system.
“Ultimately, students who are moving on to higher command should understand how logistics and maritime capabilities can determine what kind of conflict you can fight, the level of operations you can maintain and ultimately the outcome of the struggle,” McDonald said. “This will enable them to employ their individual expertise and new ideas to interact intellectually and add to the body of thought at NWC.”
McDonald welcomes the challenge of his new position and looks forward to continuing the achievements and successes of past Merchant Marine Chairs at NWC.
“I’m appreciative and honored to be selected as the Emory S. Land Chair,” McDonald said. “I’ll work diligently to expand the Chair’s contributions to NWC and to further education with respect to sealift and related maritime operations.”
Dr. David Cooper joined NSDM in August after a career as a foreign and defense policy member of the Senior Executive Service in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Most recently, he served as a Senior Research Fellow at the National Defense University.
“The opportunity to lead this dynamic and important academic department at NWC is a tremendous honor for me,” Cooper said. “I look forward to building on the legacy of my predecessor, Professor Joan Johnson-Freese, who helped take this department in several very innovative directions.”
Cooper believes having a solid background as a career practitioner at the strategic level—combined with his academic training in international relations—will help him guide what he sees as one of the most effective teaching programs in contemporary national security affairs in the country today.
“The NSDM faculty features a significant amount of talent and benefits from the diversity of having active duty military, retired military and career civilian scholars on board,” Cooper said. “We require this high degree of professional ability from our faculty because we’re preparing our students to understand the complexities of the contemporary national and international security environments and to function effectively as leaders at different levels in the national security decision-making process.”
Cooper thinks that students should have a better ability to think critically about national security affairs at a strategic level by the time they leave the program.
“We want our curriculum as relevant and robust as possible,” Cooper said. “So, it’s really the education mission that’s always the primary focus. I hope that I can use my background to help take this initiative forward.”
By David Reese, Naval War College Public Affairs