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NEWPORT, R.I. - The U.S. Naval War College’s (NWC) new Dean of Academic Affairs, John Garofano, has seen the ins and outs of the capabilities of NWC’s outstanding student body first-hand. He stepped up to the job in mid-August.

Formerly a professor with NWC’s Strategy and Policy (S&P) and National Security Decision Making (NSDM) departments, Garofano interacted daily with the college’s students, and brings that expertise to his new position, where he is responsible for coordinating academic programs and the curriculum.

“I can’t imagine having done this without having been in the classroom for an extended period of time,” Garofano said. “Both in core and elective classes.”

He arrived in Newport in 2003, beginning in NSDM, where he remained until 2007 when he moved to S&P. He held the Jerome Levy Chair of Economic Geography for the last four years and was the Area of Study Coordinator for the Asia-Pacific Region, as well as the Chair of the Graduate Degree Program Admissions Committee for the College of Distance Education.

During his teaching years, he offered electives lectures and courses linking economics and security, and other courses examining Southeast Asia.  He also contributed to the College of Distance Education. Through his past experiences at NWC, Garofano appreciates the college’s unique role as a military and graduate-level educational institution.|

“I’ve been at a number of civilian institutions,” he said. “And I like the mission here; it’s tying the intellect to practice.

Creating new ideas for students was challenging, but in his new position, he will be expected to oversee and coordinate all academic matters, including course content, teaching methodology, and scheduling in the College’s resident and non-resident PME programs; ensure that the curriculum is responsive to the needs of the Navy while accounting for current and future strategic and operational challenges; and ensure educational practices that ensure that resident and non-resident programs meet the standards of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s accreditation body as well as those of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. 

“I feel it’s an honor, a great deal of trust has been placed in me,” he said. “It’s very exciting, precisely because of the size of the organization, the nature of the departments and the scores of endeavors we’re engaged in, from strategic research to the operational art, policy making and the procurement of forces.”

Indeed, Garofano’s role in overseeing NWC’s curriculum will affect residence and distance education programs that have delivered education to thousands of students across the country.  

He cited the diversity of the War College’s student body. Not only are the students competent, qualified officers, but they’re members of all U.S. military services, mixed with some federal civilian institutions and a plethora of international students. Many of them have professional, specialized degrees and have shared their own expertise with Garofano.

“That’s a learning environment most professors don’t have,” he said of NWC’s unique student population. “The quality of our students prompts you to rethink issues, and even classic works, that you thought you knew. It’s the other side of the two-way street of education.”

While students find the hundreds of pages of weekly reading assignments challenging, faculty are equally challenged by their intellect and educational needs, Garofano said.

Garofano holds a Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University; an M.A. in Security Studies and International Economics from the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; and a B.A. in History from Bates College.


Prior to joining the NWC faculty, Garofano was a Senior Fellow at the JFK School of Government, a Visiting Lecturer at Chuo University in Tokyo, a Research Professor at the Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute, and a Professor of National Security and Strategy at the Army War College.

The Naval War College is a leading academic institution for military leaders, attracting faculty from premier academic institutions around the country. The college’s missions are to develop strategic and operational leaders, help the Chief of Naval Operations define the future Navy, strengthen maritime security cooperation and support combat readiness. NWC awards Joint Professional Military Education credit and either a diploma or master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. The college recently celebrated its 125th anniversary.

By Tyler Will, Naval War College Public Affairs