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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Pedro A. Rodriguez, Naval District Washington Public Affairs
May 9, 2014

WASHINGTON -- Students, faculty and alumni gathered at the Washington Navy Yard's Catering and Conference Center to celebrate the 100th anniversary of distance learning education and the Annual Naval War College Dinner and Philip A. Crowl Lecture Series, May 8.

The College of Distance Education formerly known as the Department of Correspondence Courses was established on April 1, 1914 at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I. by General Order No. 89 from Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels.

From its inception the college offered a robust program of correspondence study. Adm. Stansfield Turner, former President of the U.S. Naval War College, initiated off-campus seminars in Washington, D.C. in 1974 with only 30 students. Known today as the Fleet Seminar Program, it has 1200 students enrolled at 20 satellite campuses around the country.

"This is an event that we've been holding for almost 30 years now at the end of the academic year for students, faculty and friends of the Naval War College here in Washington," said Dr. Charles C. Chadburn, III, director and professor of strategy at the Naval War College Fleet Seminar Program. "It's a combination of a social event to celebrate the end of another academic year and a professional event to stimulate our thinking about national security issues." 

The dinner marked the end of the academic year and has been celebrated for 26 years since 1987 with 1991 as an exception due to Operation Desert Storm. Students, alumni, professors, congressmen and house representatives come to the event to discuss topics related to National Security and to attend a lecture honoring Crowl, one of the college's most successful former professors. 

This year's guest speaker was Adm. Michael S. Rogers, commander U.S. Cyber Command/director, National Security Agency/chief, Central Security Service.

"I am here because I feel stronger about pay back in my professional life, and as a lieutenant in 1985 I met professor Chadbourn, and I did my first class in the distance education program," said Rogers. "I wanted to do this tonight because this program ignited a fire in learning for me."

Rogers also spoke about the future of cyber warfare and the direction the National Security Agency is heading concerning the different ways the United States is battling enemy threats in this field.

Notable speakers in the past have included Tom Clancy, author, Honorable Ike Skelton, Congressman Evan Thomas, author and assistant managing editor of Newsweek Magazine, Honorable Daniel K. Inouye, U.S. Senator and John Francis "Jack" Reed, U.S. Senator.

"This is my second year attending the dinner. It is a great opportunity for me to fellowship with my classmates as well as other students and professors from other Fleet Seminar classes," said Lt. Richlyn Neal, Fleet Seminar student. "As a public affairs officer it allows me to learn more about the strategic, operational and tactical levels of war and operations that the operators are more familiar with. Because I'm taking the Joint Professional Military Education I (JPME I) Fleet Seminar Program classes, I'm better able to advise my principals because of what I have learned through the program."

Posted by Cmdr. Carla M. McCarthy