NEWPORT, R.I. – On January 26, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead announced that Rear Adm. John N. Christenson has been chosen to serve as the 53rd president of the U.S. Naval War College(NWC).
Rear Adm. Christenson will succeed Rear Adm. Phil Wisecup, who has served as NWC president since Nov. 6, 2008. A date has not been officially set for the change of command.
Rear Adm. Christenson will come to NWC from his current assignment as president, Board of Inspection and Survey, in Norfolk, Va.
He is a Naval War College alumnus and graduated with high distinction and first in his College of Naval Command and Staff class in March 1993, earning his master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.
A 1981 U.S. Naval Academy, graduate, he is the fourth of six sons of a Navy Skyraider pilot and a Navy nurse.
At sea, Christenson served as the anti-submarine warfare officer and main propulsion assistant aboard USS Cook (FF 1083), aide to commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group 1 in USS Long Beach (CGN 9), weapons officer aboard USS Downes (FF 1070), Destroyer Squadron 21 combat systems officer in USS Nimitz (CVN 68), and as executive officer aboard USS Harry W. Hill (DD 986). He commanded USS McClusky (FFG 41), Destroyer Squadron 21 in USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), and Carrier Strike Group 12, the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Strike Group. He deployed eight times on seven ships and twice in command of McClusky.
Ashore, Christenson served at the U.S. Naval Academy as company officer, celestial navigation instructor, assistant varsity soccer coach and member of the admissions board, at Headquarters United States Marine Corps in the Strategic Initiatives Group, the Joint Staff, J5 and executive assistant to the assistant chairman, in command of the Surface Warfare Officers School in Newport, and as a new flag officer as the commander of Naval Mine and Anti-submarine Warfare Command, Corpus Christi.
He was also a Navy Federal Executive Fellow at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Christenson has been awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (four awards), the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (five awards) and the Navy Achievement Medal.
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. Students earn Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) credit and either a diploma or a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. 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 wargaming 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.
From Naval War College Public Affairs Office