70 Years in Monterey
Celebrating 70 Years in Monterey
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) relocating from the Naval Academy grounds at Annapolis to the former Hotel Del Monte grounds in Monterey, Calif. The relationship built between NPS and the Monterey Peninsula community has created an environment for military officers, DoD employees and first responders from across the nation to come together to receive top-tier defense-focused graduate education.
The roots of NPS, however, stem back further than Monterey, trace back more than a century. On June 9, 1909, less than four months after the completion of the record-setting world cruise of the Great White Fleet, then Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) George von L. Meyer signed General Order No. 27, establishing a school of marine engineering at Annapolis. The school operated for eight years before being closed in 1917 when the U.S. entered World War I, but was re-established and expanded in 1919, officially becoming the Naval Postgraduate School.
During World War II, Fleet Admiral Ernest King, Chief of Naval Operations and Commander-In-Chief of both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, established a commission to review the role of graduate education in the Navy. By the end of the war, it was apparent that the facilities of the Naval Postgraduate School at the Naval Academy at Annapolis, were insufficient for the Navy’s future needs.
Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz noted, “To my horror – I learned that on ‘D’ Day – it was planned to close down the Naval War College and the Naval Postgraduate School in order to provide officers for an expanding Fleet – as was done on ‘D’ Day for World War I,” said Nimitz reflecting on the war plans he received as his first act as Chief of Bureau of Navigation. “I immediately cancelled those plans and prepared for expanded classes at both…”
Nimitz, King, along with SECNAV James Forrestal had a vision for the future of NPS and are considered the architects of today’s NPS.
In 1945, Congress passed legislation to make the school a fully-accredited, degree-granting graduate institution. Two years later, Congress authorized the purchase of the Hotel Del Monte and 627 acres of surrounding land for use as an independent campus for the school.
In 1951, the coast-to-coast move involved 500 students, about 100 faculty and staff and thousands of pounds of books and research equipment. Rear Adm. Ernest Edward Herrmann supervised the move that pumped new vitality into the Navy's efforts to advance naval science and technology.
Then, in a 1959 commencement address at NPS to mark its 50th anniversary, then-Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Arleigh Burke, a 1930 NPS alumnus, attributed several important naval advances to the Navy’s long-term commitment to postgraduate education. “Rapid technological advance...did not come by accident, nor did it come overnight. It has been the result of educating carefully selected officers in each succeeding generation of officers,” he said.
“The Naval leaders of 50 years ago showed great perspective and foresight in seeing the need for advanced technical and scientific knowledge among naval officers. They recognized that ships and naval weapons were becoming more complex, that their proper employment at sea would require officers who were familiar not only with the age-old profession of the sea, but who could understand and could use effectively the complex weapons of the years to come.”
Since then, NPS has been a hub of academic and operational research that has left a lasting impact on the Navy, Marine Corps, and DoD writ large that will continue to advance operational effectiveness, technological leadership and warfighting advantages.
If you didn't have NPS, you might not have a nuclear Navy.
The two most important leaders who oversaw the development of the nuclear Navy were NPS alumni, both from the class of 1928: William S. "Deak" Parsons (ordnance engineering) and Hyman Rickover (electrical engineering).
Parsons was instrumental in the highly successful development of the proximity fuze during early stages of WWII and the subsequent establishment of Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.
Because of this major success, Parsons was selected deputy director of the Manhattan Project.
Naval historian Al Christman chronicled the important relationship between NPS mathematician C.C. Bramble and dubbed Parsons "a new kind of warrior. " Parsons himself gave credit to Bramble and NPS for influencing his Navy career.
Admiral Rickover has been widely recognized for his leadership in the development of nuclear propulsion, the nuclear fleet and nuclear safety.
Rickover did not extend credit to NPS for preparing him for an unexpected career path. Of course, Rickover rarely, if ever, extended laurels to others.
The Navy christened ships in honor of both men: USS PARSONS (DD-949 /DDG-33) and USS RICKOVER (SSN-709).
If you didn't have NPS, you might not have an Office of Naval Research.
Harold G. Bowen, Sr. (NPS, mechanical engineering) was appointed director of the Naval Research Laboratory in 1939. He also served as technical aide to the Secretary of the Navy and was instrumental in the integration of new radar systems for the Navy during WWII.
SECNAV James Forrestal appointed Bowen as the inaugural chief of the Office of Research and Inventions (later renamed Office of Naval Research) when it was established in May 1945.
The USS BOWEN (DE-1079/FF-1079) was named in his honor.
If you didn't have NPS, you might not have a Fleet Numerical Meteorology &Oceanography Center.
Meteorology Distinguished Professor George Haltiner is renowned for his pioneering role in numerical weather prediction and his book, Numerical Prediction and Dynamic Meteorology, is considered a classic.
The Navy invested in the first all-digital computer (CDC 1604 built by Seymour Cray) to foster advances in the atmospheric sciences. When the CDC was installed in Spanagel Hall, its acquisition placed NPS at the pinnacle of university computing for its day (personal communication with former NPS Provost and member of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Harrison Shull).
The Navy subsequently established the Fleet Numerical Weather Facility at NPS to leverage the academic resources and computational power of the CDC.
CDC published a report in 1963 called "Weather by Computer" that captures this evolutionary period in the history of Navy weather and ocean forecasting.
If you didn't have NPS, you might not have shipboard commercial satellite communications
In 1997, the Center for Naval Analyses provided a report for the Navy titled, "From the Sea to the Stars: A History of U.S. Navy Space and Space-Related Activities."
The CNA study notes that, "Fleet after-action reports from DESERT STORM were especially critical of the lack of high-capacity satellite communications specifically dedicated to fleet support DSCS had significant capacity, but competition for communications resources often left Navy units short of needed access.
"At this point, Lieutenant Commander John Hearing reported for duty on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations in the Space Systems Division (N63). Lieutenant Commander Hearing had recently completed a Naval Postgraduate School master’s degree thesis on potential military uses of commercial satellite communications and believed his ideas might solve the problem of disseminating satellite images (one of the larger data files sought by fleet users) to selected fleet units."
The study further notes that the director, Navy Space Systems Division (N63), and director, Space and Electronic Warfare (N6), authorized Hearing to proceed with a project that became known as Challenge Athena -- "a concept for using commercial C-Band satellite communications to deliver primary satellite imagery from a U.S. location to a deployed aircraft carrier in near-real-time (i.e., images literally only hours old)."
The CNA report, which is available online, states that "the data rate achieved was double that required for a successful demonstration" and provides considerable detail about the test results and follow-on experiments. It also notes that, "Challenge Athena has been upgraded to a formal program and is planned for installation in fleet flagships, aircraft carriers, and large amphibious ships. The operational version of Challenge Athena supports secure video teleconferencing as well as the previously demonstrated communications."
The success of Challenge Athena and the independent documentation of this success by the Center for Naval Analyses demonstrate how a single student thesis can sometimes be a catalyst for innovation and transformation.
Following are a few examples of NPS alumni and faculty as innovators. The new capabilities and technologies identified would surely have been developed by others, yet their contributions help to illustrate the role of NPS education and research in creating change.
If you didn't have NPS, you might not have AEGIS.
Alumnus Wayne Meyer (electrical engineering) is often referred to as "the father of Aegis."
Meyer was selected to lead the development of the Aegis Weapon System at the Naval Ordnance Systems Command in 1970. He subsequently became the founding project manager of the Aegis Shipbuilding Project.
In a contemporary interview at NPS, he said: "There's no doubt in my mind that NPS helped shape me a lot," providing one of those rare testimonials that links a naval innovator and their work specifically to their NPS education.
The Navy named USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108) in his honor.
If you didn't have NPS, you might not have modern fleet tactics.
Alumnus Wayne Hughes (operations research) returned to Monterey in 1980 to teach a pilot curriculum in tactics as part of a CNO initiative to improve fleet tactical proficiency.
In the development of curriculum materials, Hughes wrote a book, Fleet Tactics: Theory and Practice, which was published by the U.S. Naval Institute Press in 1986. USNI calls Fleet Tactics a "landmark study ... credited with providing decision makers a sound foundation for battle planning and tactical thinking."
Hughes' book was the first American book on naval tactics published since the 1930's.
If you didn't have NPS, you might not have aircraft radio.
Edward H. Loftin (NPS, radio engineering) completed his advanced studies about 75 years before John Hearing earned his master's degree at NPS. Loftin returned from academics to the operational world during a period of rapid technological innovation and change - the era of radio engineering.
He was assigned to the Navy's early Radio Division to assist in the development of specifications for aircraft radio. He developed specs and reviewed bids from 13 companies. He then narrowed the field of competitors to four: Marconi Wireless Company of America, the De Forest Radio Telephone and Telegraph Company, the Western Electric Company, and the Sperry Gyroscope Company. Afterwards, Loftin was assigned to the Aircraft Radio Laboratory, established in 1916 in Pensacola, to test equipment procured under the subsequent contracts that were awarded.
In late 1944, Loftin wrote to the editor of Shipmate magazine stating: "I notice with a great deal of satisfaction that radio for aircraft I pioneered and finished the year we entered the last war is making a great amount of history in this war." (The original letter is now in the Naval Academy Special Collections & Archives).
If you didn't have NPS, you might not have terror network analysis.
Professors Gordon McCormick and John Arquilla have been leaders in the development of NPS programs for special operations forces. They have developed innovative ways of thinking about threats and have crafted terminology that has been integrated into both military and public lexicon. McCormick's analytical manhunting model and Arquilla's definitions for netwar and swarm tactics have been adapted and used successfully by operators for terror network analyses and mission planning.
If you didn't have NPS, you might not have women in the Navy.
Many naval and civilian leaders delivered valuable Congressional testimony in the 1940's that led to the passage of the Women's Armed Services Integration Act (Public Law 625) on June 12, 1948, giving women equal status in the military.
NPS alumnus Earl E. Stone (ordnance engineering) was a key Navy witness on the ability of women to handle scientific and technical and assignments. During hearings before the House Armed Services Subcommittee in February 1948, Stone, then chief of Naval Communications, appeared with Admiral Louis Denfeld, CNO, and testified that WAVES had shown themselves to be "well fitted for work in coding rooms, for message traffic handling, for linguistic assignments, for cryptanalytic work, and for all phases of naval communications."
If you didn't have NPS, you might not have operational search & detection models.
Distinguished Professor Alan Washburn was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2009 for his "analytical contributions to search theory and military operations research and their application to antisubmarine, mine, and information warfare."
Election to the National Academy is the pinnacle of recognition by one's peers for their important scholarly work and, in Washburn's case, it is notable that the Academy acknowledged the importance of naval applications.
Washburn's 1981 book, Search and Detection published by the Operations Research Society of America, is an excellent example of how lecture notes for an NPS class can connect the dots between mathematical theory and military operations.
If you didn't have NPS, you might not have the end of Osama bin Laden.
May 2011, one of the most consequential and well known missions in modern U.S. history was executed on an unremarkable compound in an unknown city in northern Pakistan. Operation “Neptune Spear” was implemented to neutralize Osama bin Laden, and many have reminisced and written since on its extraordinary impact.
What is less known is that one of the central figures in the planning, execution and leadership of that mission, retired Adm. William H. McRaven, used what he learned at the Naval Postgraduate School, in the planning and execution of that mission (and quite a few others).
When ‘The Theory of Special Operations’ was written in 1993 by then Commander William H. McRaven, USN, Al Qaeda was barely on the strategic horizon. Nevertheless, this thesis helped shape the denouement of the horrible tragedy that befell the world on 11 September 2001. Admiral McRaven would go on to publish his NPS thesis as a book, “Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare” that further shaped his thinking and leadership as the ninth Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command.