In a letter dated May 21, 2020, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) awarded five more years of accreditation to the Graduate School of Defense Management (GSDM) at Naval Postgraduate School. In doing so, the AACSB recognizes the GSDM’s commitment to quality graduate education that continuously adapts to meet the needs of military professionals. The peer review team and the Continuous Improvement Review Committee identified 11 specific commendations and best practices that demonstrate leadership and continuous improvement in management education.
The letter heralds the school’s faculty, staff, and leadership team for demonstrating an “outstanding commitment to the success of their students. The school is mindful of the global impact they have in influencing the management, strategy, and outcomes in national defense and public policy.” The letter also acknowledges efforts including the “Scientist to Sea” program, the Teaching Fellowship Program, faculty participation in sponsored research, and “numerous and experienced classroom guest speakers from the Department of Defense, Navy, and other relevant contexts.”
“This renewed accreditation reflects GSDM’s ongoing commitment to preparing the next generation of defense sector leaders to effectively manage organizations, resources, people, and programs in complex, sometimes life-threatening environments,” said Dr. Keith Snider, Dean of the Graduate School of Defense Management. “I am proud of the faculty and staff who make this school successful at delivering top-notch education, research, and service.”
Housed within GSDM, the Acquisition Research Program (ARP) works closely with the school’s faculty and students to support excellent research in defense management and acquisition. ARP takes an evidence-based approach to research that can improve defense acquisition policy and processes while professionalizing the acquisition workforce.
Among the 11 initiatives identified in AACSB’s letter are several efforts supported by ARP. The program closely supports dozens of student thesis projects each year, which the AACSB lauded as “clearly linked to the Navy, Department of Defense, or program sponsors’ activities” and as “highly relevant to the future careers of students in national defense.” ARP also hosts the Annual Acquisition Research Symposium, which AACSB highlights as providing “leadership and impact to the profession in the acquisitions and federal contracting area.”
Jim Greene, founding chair of ARP, notes that “the quality education NPS graduates receive through GSDM and ARP prepare them to take leadership roles in the U.S. military, where strategic knowledge of acquisition processes and defense management principles lead them to succeed in developing programs and capabilities that maintain the Department of Defense’s competitive advantage.”
As the Department of Defense reforms its approach to military education, this renewed accreditation reflects GSDM’s ability to meet the call for “intellectual overmatch” made in The Joint Chiefs of Staff Vision and Guidance for Professional Military Education & Talent Management. The professional, academic education provided by the Graduate School of Defense Management and the Acquisition Research Program give Naval Postgraduate School students the knowledge and critical thinking skills they need to lead wisely in the future.