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NEWPORT, R.I. - The U.S. Naval War College (NWC) held a commencement ceremony for 65 College of Naval Command and Staff students, Feb. 10. Phased into the academic cycle one year ago, the intermediate students wrapped up a 10-month long curriculum, awarding them Joint Professional Military Education Phase I credit and a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.

Professor John Schindler, a member of the National Security Decision Making Department, was selected by the students to be the guest speaker and reflected on the value of the education the students gained at NWC.

"As guidance from the Secretary and the Chairman has made clear, understanding the world as it is, not as we may wish it to be, is critical to ensure the security of this country and our allies and partners, and securing a better world," said Schindler in his address to the students. "This requires officers to gain a deep understanding of aspects of political science, history, economics, cultures, languages, even some sociology and anthropology."

Considering that many of the graduates are returning to positions of leadership and in combat, Schindler highlighted that al-Qaeda remains a top threat to the United States and emphasized that the United States must stay fully engaged.

"One of the great gifts the War College has given you is the rare ability to get to know fellow officers from around the world," said Schindler. "From countries in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe, where the threat posed by extremists is even greater than to us here. We must never forget that our allies have lost more warriors in the fight against al-Qaeda than we have, and have been at war with Salafi extremists for far longer than we have; for them, the threat is tangible, not abstract, and decidedly local."

The graduating students included six Army, one Marine, and 58 naval officers.

NWC is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. NWC's missions today are developing strategic and operational leaders, helping the Chief of Naval Operations define the future Navy, strengthening maritime security cooperation and supporting combat readiness.

From Naval War College Public Affairs