Tuesday, September 05, 2017

We Have a Problem in Newport

Foundational mindsets are critical. If you get the foundation wrong, everything else you build on top if it is useless.

As such, we are in dire need for a full-stop call at the Naval War College. The new direction being ordered by Rear Admiral Jeffrey Hartley, USN is unneeded and takes NWC away from what should be its primary focus; preparing our Navy to fight its nation's wars to victory.

What we do not need is another university in New England with a self-preening Peace Studies program.

We’re really a university,” Harley said during a wide-ranging interview with The Journal in his office overlooking Narragansett Bay. And it’s a university with several schools and centers, not all directly associated with fighting wars, he said.

As such, Harley said, he expects the War College to more closely resemble schools such as Brown University or the University of Rhode Island. One way is offering professors tenure — “indefinite appointment,” as the War College calls it. Another is protecting a faculty member’s right to truthfully speak her or his mind, Harley says.

“We have to ensure that our academics have academic freedom to express those dissenting viewpoints, regardless of how painful sometimes that might be,” Harley said. “You want the institution to look and feel like a civilian institution.”
NWC is not a university, it is a War College. The United States of America is well supplied with colleges, universities, and everything that comes with them. We only have a precious few places where the mission is to intellectually prepare ourselves for war.

Especially with a nation's navy, there are few truly "tactical" actions. Fleet actions are strategic events. There is no luxury to blur the focus of the institution you trust with building the intellectual capital needed to ensure supremacy at sea - and victory when challenged.

I'm sorry, but this reeks of more than just a wrong idea given heft, but another vanity project from someone who has been given the responsibility of stewardship of a world class institution in need to refinement. I do not think he has the charter to use that power to fundamentally change NWC in to something is it not designed to be.

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