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Joined by family and guests, the Naval War College’s (NWC) College of Naval Command and Staff (CNCS) graduated 55 officers, students who joined the college in November of 2008 for a year-long academic program.

Phased in during the academic year’s second trimester, the students took courses in NWC’s three academic departments: Joint Military Operations, Strategy and Policy, and National Security Decision-Making.

The students earned Joint Professional Military Education phase I credit, a critical milestone in an officer’s professional development, in addition to a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.

Joint Military Operations professor John Hartig was the commencement speaker, who addressed the students in Spruance Hall about the value of their education at NWC.

“I did not value my education until I was looking at it in the rearview mirror,” Hartig said.

In his speech, Hartig told CNCS graduates they should expect a tough job at their next duty station, they will be intellectually challenged, they must mentor officers using their education, and they must continue learning.

“Our profession of arms changes,” Hartig said. “It evolves, and if you want to stay on top of your game and make those decisions that keep people moving forward, you’re going to have to continue to learn.”

Professor Hartig advised students to be aware of the weight of their decisions as they rise to higher ranks and assume more responsibilities. 

“You don’t have the right to be wrong,” Hartig said. “The worth of the decisions you make as a commander and the suggestions you make as a staff officer are going to be much more deep and much more profound than what you are accustomed to.”

NWC graduates approximately 600 resident students each year and is accredited by the New England Association of Colleges and Schools.

By Tyler Will, NWC Public Affairs