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Naval War College

Coordinates: 41°30′28″N 71°19′46″W / 41.5077°N 71.3295°W / 41.5077; -71.3295
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Naval War College
Seal of the Naval War College
MottoViribus mari victoria
Motto in English
Victory by seapower
TypeFederal staff college
Established1884; 140 years ago (1884)
Parent institution
Naval University System
Location, ,
PresidentPeter A. Garvin[1]
U.S. Naval War College
Luce Hall
Naval War College is located in Rhode Island
Naval War College
Naval War College is located in the United States
Naval War College
LocationNewport, Rhode Island
Coordinates41°30′28″N 71°19′46″W / 41.5077°N 71.3295°W / 41.5077; -71.3295
Area4 acres (1.6 ha)
ArchitectGeorge C. Mason & Son
NRHP reference No.66000876[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966
Designated NHLDJanuary 29, 1964[3]

The Naval War College (NWC or NAVWARCOL) is the staff college and "Home of Thought" for the United States Navy at Naval Station Newport in Newport, Rhode Island.[4] The NWC educates and develops leaders, supports defining the future Navy and associated roles and missions, supports combat readiness, and strengthens global maritime partnerships.

The Naval War College is one of the senior service colleges including the Army War College, the Marine Corps War College, and the USAF Air War College. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Defense operates the National War College.


The college was established on October 6, 1884; its first president, Commodore Stephen B. Luce, was given the old building of the Newport Asylum for the Poor to house it on Coasters Harbor Island in Narragansett Bay.[5] Among the first four faculty members were Tasker H. Bliss, a future Army Chief of Staff, James R. Soley, the first civilian faculty member and a future Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and, most famously, Captain (later, Rear Admiral) Alfred Thayer Mahan, who soon became renowned for the scope of his strategic thinking and influence on naval leaders worldwide.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt on the steps of the Naval War College with faculty and students

The College engaged in wargaming various scenarios from 1887 on, and in time became a laboratory for the development of war plans. Nearly all of the U.S. naval operations of the twentieth century were originally designed and gamed at the NWC.[6]

More than 50,000 students have graduated since its first class of 9 students in 1885 and about 300 of today's active duty admirals, and generals and senior executive service leaders are alumni. The college's joint professional military education (JPME) programs prepare leaders for the challenges of operational and strategic leadership over the remainder of their careers as decision makers and problem solvers. More than 1,900 students have graduated from the Maritime Staff Operators Course, 200 from the Executive Level OLW Course, and more than 450 U.S. and international flag and general officers from the Flag Course. Just as its educational programs have expanded in depth and reach, so have the research and analysis efforts conducted by its Center for Naval Warfare Studies. Through war games, conferences, workshops, and publications, its research arm provides direct curriculum support to its educational programs and focused, task-driven analysis for fleet customers and government agencies across the national security spectrum.[citation needed]

Academic programs[edit]

College of Naval Command and Staff[edit]

The College of Naval Command and Staff (CNCS) is a multidisciplinary program designed for U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard officers in the grade of lieutenant commander, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, and U.S. Air Force officers in the grade of major, and civilians of equivalent seniority from various federal agencies. This intermediate level service college course provides an initial opportunity for joint professional military education wherein students prepare for increased responsibilities as commanders / lieutenant colonels, and as junior captains / colonels.[7]

College of Naval Command and Staff students pursue studies in each of the Naval War College's three core subject areas in the following order of presentation: Strategy and War, Theater Security Decision Making, and Joint Maritime Operations. While this basic curriculum is essentially the same as that of the more senior students enrolled in the College of Naval Warfare, individual courses are tailored to the experience level and career needs of the CNCS's mid-grade officers. Each student in the College of Naval Command and Staff is also required to enroll in one Elective Program course of his or her choice per trimester. A limited number of students may, with selection committee approval, forego up to one trimester of the core curriculum to participate in the Center for Naval Warfare Studies' Advanced Research Program.[7]

Beginning in 1914, NWC imparts its competent, executive-level programs beyond campus through its, now web-based, College of Distance Education (CDE). The three main CDE courses are Strategy and War, Theater Security Decision Making, and Joint Maritime Operations.[8]

Maritime Advanced Warfighting School (MAWS)[edit]

Originally established in 1998 as the Naval Operational Planner Course, the Maritime Advanced Warfighting School (MAWS) is a 13-month program that educates U.S. officers of all services to:

  • Be operational planners and ultimately, operational leaders
  • Understand and apply maritime power effectively
  • Form and lead Operational Planning Teams (OPTs)
  • Think creatively and critically by developing solutions to complex, chaotic security problems

MAWS integrates the College of Naval Command and Staff core curriculum with specialized education and hands-on, real-world projects in the operational planning domain. MAWS is the U.S. Navy's peer school to the U.S. Army's School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), the U.S. Marine Corps' School of Advanced Warfighting (SAW), the U.S. Air Force's School of Advanced Air and Space Studies (SAASS), and the Joint Forces Staff College's Joint Advanced Warfighting School (JAWS).

College of Naval Warfare[edit]

The College of Naval Warfare is a multidisciplinary program designed for U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard officers in the grades of commander or captain, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force officers in the grades of lieutenant colonel or colonel, and civilians of equivalent seniority from various federal agencies. This senior level professional military education program provides students with executive-level preparation for higher responsibilities as senior captains / colonels and as junior flag officers / general officers.[9]

College of Naval Warfare students pursue studies in each of the Naval War College's three core subject areas in the following order of presentation: Joint Military Operations, Strategy and Policy, and National Security Decision Making. During all trimesters, College of Naval Warfare students are joined in lectures and in seminars by international students of the Naval Command College. Each College of Naval Warfare student is also required to enroll in one Elective Program course of his or her choice per trimester. A limited number of students in each class may, with selection committee approval, forego up to one trimester of the core curriculum to participate in the Center for Naval Warfare Studies' Advanced Research Program.[9]

Accreditation and degrees[edit]

The Naval War College has been accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges since 1984.[10] Several years later the Naval War College earned the authority to award to students in some of its programs a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies.[11] Naval War College students are also permitted to transfer up to 18 credits to the Graduate Program in International Relations at Salve Regina University. The arrangement allows Naval War College students to complete a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Salve Regina University by taking six additional courses.


The Naval War College Press has published the scholarly quarterly journal the Naval War College Review since 1948.[12] It also publishes the "Newport Papers", as well as an historical monograph series and occasional books.[13]

Research and instruction[edit]

The Henry E. Eccles Library, housed in Hewitt Hall, supports the Naval War College's mission by providing information literacy training, reference tutorials and assistance, electronic literature searches, and access to over 90 databases, and interlibrary loan services to Professional Military Education/Joint Professional Military Education, faculty research and analysis, and College of Distance Education.

The library also aids curricula development by assisting faculty research, publishing bibliographies and research guides covering a wide range of topics of interest for those studying international relations, foreign area studies, contemporary and historical military topics, and security studies.[14]

The Naval Historical Collection (NHC) is the depository for the Naval War College archives, manuscripts, oral histories, and special collections relating to the history of naval warfare and the history of the U.S. Navy in Narragansett Bay. Established in 1969 and located in Mahan Hall, the NHC's primary source material are of interest to naval historians, scholars, and students of American military and diplomatic history, Naval War College students, faculty and staff, and the general public.[15]

Buildings and structures[edit]

Photo of the early Naval War College from the east passage of Narragansett Bay

Over the years, the Naval War College has expanded greatly. The original building, the former Newport Asylum for the Poor, now serves as home to the Naval War College Museum. In 1892, Luce Hall was opened as the college's new home, at a cost of $100,000. At the time, the building housed lecture rooms and a library. Wings at either end provided two sets of quarters, occupied by the president of the College and members of the faculty. When the Naval War College was enlarged in 1932, this original building was renamed Luce Hall in honor of the institution's founder and first Superintendent (later President), Stephen B. Luce. This original pair of buildings was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[3][16] Luce Hall was again listed on the National Register in 1972.[2]

Founder's Hall, now the Naval War College Museum

Mahan Hall, named after Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan (NWC President from 1886–1889 and 1892–1893), was completed and opened in 1904, and encompasses the historic Mahan Rotunda and Reading Room, as well as student study areas. The Mahan Rotunda also serves as an impromptu museum of gifts and artifacts donated by graduating international students over the years.

Pringle Hall (named after Vice Admiral Joel R. P. Pringle, Naval War College President from 1927–1930) was opened in 1934, and was the principal site for war gaming from the time of its completion in 1934 until the Naval Electronic Warfare Simulator was built in Sims Hall in 1957. The exterior facing of the building is pink Milford granite, similar in appearance to the ashlar granite of Luce Hall, to which it is connected by two enclosed bridges. Pringle Hall contains a 432-seat auditorium, the Quinn Lecture Room, the Naval Staff College, the Graphic Arts Studio, the Photography Branch, and the Naval War College Press.

In 1947, the Naval War College acquired an existing barracks building and converted it to a secondary war gaming facility, naming it Sims Hall after former War College President Admiral William Sowden Sims (Naval War College President from February to April 1917 and again from 1919–1922). In 1957 Sims Hall became the primary center for the Naval War College's wargaming department, serving as such until 1999. Sims Hall is undergoing renovations that are expected to be completed in 2021.[17]

The 1970s saw the War College's most active expansion, with the opening of three separate buildings. In 1972, Spruance Hall, named after former NWC President Admiral Raymond A. Spruance (March 1946 – July 1948), was completed, housing faculty offices and an 1,100 seat auditorium. On March 17, 1975, Johnny Cash with The Tennessee Three including June Carter Cash and Carl Lee Perkins performed a live concert at Spruance Auditorium.[18]

In 1974, Conolly Hall was opened and named in honor of Admiral Richard L. Conolly, Naval War College President 1950–1953. It houses the NWC Quarterdeck, Administrative and faculty offices, numerous class and conference rooms, and two underground parking garages.

1976 saw the opening of Hewitt Hall, one of two Naval War College buildings not named after a War College president, this time taking its name from Admiral Henry Kent Hewitt, an advisor to the Naval War College during his tenure as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, following World War II. Hewitt Hall is home to the Henry E. Eccles Library, the Trident Café, the bookstore and barbershop, and student study areas and lounge.

In 1999, the state-of-the-art McCarty Little Hall opened, replacing Sims Hall as the War College's primary wargaming facility. The other building named after a non-president is named after Captain William McCarty Little, an influential leader and key figure in refining the techniques of war gaming. This high-tech facility is used primarily by the Center for Naval Warfare Studies to conduct war games and major conferences, and for research and analysis. The building features the technology necessary to support a variety of multi-media needs essential during multiple and simultaneous war games.

Partnership with Brown University[edit]

On June 6, 2014, NWC and Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies signed a Research and Education Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the two institutions. The agreement promotes collaborative research and teaching between NWC and Brown, serves as an opportunity to establish and conduct programs to improve education in science-related fields to meet long-term national defense needs, and establishes cooperative education programs for undergraduate education at Brown and postgraduate education at both Brown and NWC.[19]

Notable U.S. graduates[edit]

Alumni of the Naval War College pose for a photo during the 24th International Seapower Symposium (ISS) on September 15, 2021.

U.S. Navy[edit]

U.S. Coast Guard[edit]

U.S. Marine Corps[edit]

U.S. Army[edit]

U.S. Air Force[edit]

U.S. Space Force[edit]

U.S. Foreign Service[edit]

U.S. Civil Service[edit]

Notable international graduates[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pagano, Peter (23 June 2023). "U.S. Naval War College Holds Change of Command Ceremony". Defense Visual Information Distribution Service. Retrieved 13 July 2023.
  2. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  3. ^ a b "Original U.S. Naval War College". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2012-10-07. Retrieved 2014-11-05.
  4. ^ Jackson, J. E., & McCarthy, C., eds., Naval War College: The Navy's Home of Thought (Tampa: Faircount Media Group, 2011).
  5. ^ "U.S. Naval War College: History". U.S. Naval War College. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  6. ^ Lillard, J. M., Playing War: Wargaming and U.S. Navy Preparations for World War II (Lincoln: Potomac Books, 2016).
  7. ^ a b "U.S. Naval War College | College of Naval Command and Staff". Archived from the original on 2015-03-30. Retrieved 2014-09-03.
  8. ^ [1][2]College of Distance Education
  9. ^ a b "U.S. Naval War College | College of Naval Warfare". Archived from the original on 2015-03-30. Retrieved 2014-09-03.
  10. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". U.S. Naval War College. Archived from the original on 2013-08-15. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
  11. ^ "History". U.S. Naval War College. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
  12. ^ "Overview of the Naval War College PRess". U.S. Naval War College. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  13. ^ "Naval War College Press".
  14. ^ "Research Guides of the Naval War College". U.S. Naval War College. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
  15. ^ Reilly, Scott (2015). "Inside the Archives: Hector Bywater and William Honan in the Naval Historical Collection, U.S. Naval War College". International Journal of Naval History. 12 (3). Retrieved 2016-01-14.
  16. ^ "NRHP nomination for Original US Naval War College". National Park Service. Retrieved 2014-11-05.
  17. ^ Bergenheim, Chris (August 2, 2019). "Naval War College gets $12.3M for Sims Hall renovation". Providence Business News. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  18. ^ David Kohnen and Roy Cash Jr. "Live in '75: The Man in Black at USNWC", The Bridge magazine, Fall/Winter 2022, Naval War College Foundation, pages 22-23.
  19. ^ "About U.S. Naval War College". www.usnwc.edu.
  20. ^ ThDC Shorts (7 February 2017). "Sean Spicer's SPICIEST moments - Vol. 1" – via YouTube.
  21. ^ "SAF Leadership". MINDEF. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  22. ^ Admiral DK Joshi takes over as new Navy Chief. Ibnlive.in.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  23. ^ "Admiral Radhakrishna Hariram Tahiliani, PVSM, AVSM". Information Resource Facilitation Centre, Indian Navy. Archived from the original on 2009-04-10. Retrieved 2011-10-18.
  24. ^ "Distinguished Alumni". Archived from the original on 2013-05-31. Retrieved 2013-07-22.
  25. ^ a b Navy Chief attends 19th Sea Power symposium at Newport -USA Archived 2009-10-14 at the Wayback Machine. Defence.lk (2010-12-30). Retrieved on 2013-07-23.
  26. ^ "Bordado is new Navy chief: Sobejana". Philippine News Agency.

External links[edit]