Students in the Strategy and War course at the U.S. Naval War College attend a lecture on the Vietnam War. The course is offered to reserve officers to help them fulfill their joint professional military education phase I qualification. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Dietrich/released)

Sept. 21, 2012

NEWPORT, R.I. – Seventy-one reserve officers completed a special two-week course at U.S. Naval War College (NWC) on Friday that was designed to help them attain the first phase of joint professional military education (JPME).

Offered by the NWC Operational Support Office, College of Distance Education (CDE) and the Strategy and Policy Department, the 12-day executive development course was designed to educate reserve officers on strategy and war requirements required for JPME Phase I qualifications. This qualification is required by Navy commanders to take command and all Navy officers are encouraged to achieve full Joint Service Officer (JSO) status, which requires completion of JPME Phases I and II, as well as a minimum 24-month tour in a JCS-approved Joint Duty Assignment.

“We offer three core courses every year and they are all very popular with reserve officers of all the military services,” said NWC operational support officer, Lt. Cmdr. Dom Pastorin. “The course features both lectures and seminar sessions dealing with a wide range of disciplines such as political science, leadership, psychology, management and anthropology.”

A big part of the reserve program is the way NWC CDE supports students with materials before they arrive.
“Reserve officers are provided academic materials digitally from NWC’s College of Distance Education and College of Naval Command and Staff curricula,” said David Magill, who is the program manager for the CD ROM-based program and professor. “With the completion of this two-week course, reserve officers may enroll in one of our distance education programs to complete their JPME Phase I qualification.”

This class contributed to the completion of strategy and war portion of JPME Phase I qualifications.

“Students received nearly 400 pages of reading materials, a CD containing lectures about Sun Tzu and Clausewitz, and a multiple choice exam that they had to complete,” said Magill.

The real work began immediately after arriving at the Newport campus. Students were organized into seminars and quickly began studying six topics: Masters of War; the American Revolution; The Pacific War of WWII; the Vietnam War; al-Qaeda and Associated Movements; and War in the 21st Century.

“For each case study, students complete more readings, attend lectures, and participate in seminars led by civilian and military faculty teams from NWC’s strategy and policy department,” said Cmdr. Bryan Williams, a military strategy and war department professor and coordinator of the course. “These combine to help students understand complex, strategic concepts. Students also write two, six-page essays on selected case studies.”

Reserve officers from any of the military services can enroll in the program to attain their JPME Phase I qualifications. According to Pastorin, the qualification can be more challenging given a reserve officer’s career demands. Reserve officers can learn more about NWC’s JPME opportunities by calling the Operational Support Office at: (401) 841-4068. Information about NWC’s Distance Education offering for active duty, reserve, and federal agency employees can be found online at: https://www.usnwc.edu/cde.

Edited and posted by Dan Marciniak
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