Pressing forward on the Sea Service’s comprehensive effort to advance education at all levels, maximizing the intellectual capital and warfighting competence of the force, the DON’s Chief Learning Officer (CLO) John Kroger and Vice Adm. Stuart Munsch, newly-established Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Development (OPNAV N7), paid a visit to the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) campus, Feb. 19-21, for a series of discussions with leadership and faculty, focused on further implementation of the Education for Seapower (E4S) study and report.
Kroger, a former enlisted Marine and Harvard-trained lawyer with extensive academic teaching and leadership credentials, is the Navy’s first CLO, bringing a vision to strengthen and unify the Navy’s educational institutions to support this strategic initiative. Munsch serves as strategic leader and sole resource sponsor for naval education responsible for directing and resourcing naval education initiatives.
“Having the CLO and the N7 here at NPS together talking about our curricula, our resources, and all of the opportunities and capabilities on our campus is essential for our institution to be able to support the critical strategic initiatives of the Naval education strategy,” said NPS President retired Vice Adm. Ann E. Rondeau.
Between discussions, Kroger received a first-hand look at how NPS is taking steps into the technological future by touring NPS’ flexible learning experience (FLEx) spaces, and engaged with students as well about their various thesis projects. Kroger then provided a glimpse into the future of naval education and the impacts it will have on NPS during a faculty and staff town hall meeting.
“The E4S report calls out that we need to resource our educational institutions and our educational system more effectively,” said Kroger. “We need to have a quicker tempo and a higher percentage of officers going into rigorous graduate education programs. Many of the areas that we’ve outlined as key priorities for increasing our capabilities, like engineering, technology, resource management, acquisition and information technology, are core areas of expertise here [at NPS].”
According to Kroger, the implementations stemming from the E4S study will impact NPS in a number of ways. The nearest impact involves lab recapitalization, updating research facilities to meet today’s needs, accelerating the capabilities of the broader research enterprise. He also discussed the beginnings of a plan to renovate the central core of the campus to modernize and upgrade buildings.
Kroger explained additional initiatives between NPS and the Naval War College to create a working group to explore creating new online classes directly related to warfighting advantage and effectiveness, and professional competence.
“We’ve talked about changes in the personnel system to be like the Marine Corps, where officer fitness reports require officers to be evaluated on the extent during the reporting period that they pursued their education,” said Kroger. “So if we are rating officers on how they’ve pursued their education, we need to give them ways to pursue that education no matter where they are. I am hopeful that these online classes can be a vehicle by which we can reach thousands of officers for education that otherwise we would not be able to reach.”
Ultimately, the Navy and Marine Corps see an opportunity to increase the number of leaders impacted by advanced education, which as Kroger notes, should lead to more students on campus.
“I am hopeful through this overall strategy that we will see an increased number of students here at NPS,” said Kroger. “I think it will boost the impact NPS will have on the Navy, and it will make the essential character of this institution more evident.”