Naval Postgraduate School
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How is the Naval Postgraduate School unique?

Unique mission:
"To provide relevant and unique advanced education and research programs that increase the combat effectiveness of the United States and Allied Forces...”

Unique vision:
“Growing a new generation of leaders for tomorrow’s military”

Unique Approach:
• To educate joint and coalition officers as multi-disciplinary military ‘change agents”
• To equip future leaders to transform the military into a force that capitalizes on the advances and advantages of information management, network centric operations, and other emerging technologies

Unique Capabilities:
Rapid responsiveness to DoD issues :
NPS aligns with rapidly changing needs of military within DoD and Combatant Commands, percolating DoD themes, requirements and priorities down to NPS curriculum and research programs.

Examples: NPS Center for Homeland Defense & Security- post 9/11 requirement for fast-track education to federal, state & city first responders. NPS Maritime Domain Protection Task Force quick response to DoD needs; C4I, ASW, Space Operations, Total Ship Systems Engineering, Seabasing, Combat Systems, Modeling Virtual Environments.

Joint Military and International Cross Fertilization:
Fertile intellectual environment for lifelong networking/interaction between within same service, other U.S. military organizations, and other countries.

Interdisciplinary Research and Education:
Courses and research are inherently interdisciplinary in nature, curricula optimizes existing in-house expertise.

Example: the Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict (SOLIC) program combines experts in National Security, Operations Analysis (C4I), Systems Management to create an analytically rigorous warfare-oriented program.

Classified Research:
NPS has large SCIF capabilities for conducting classified teaching and research, offers the largest classified library collections in the United States.

2. How is the Naval Postgraduate School relevant?


• The Secretary of Defense’s highest priority is Force Transformation.
• Office of Force Transformation (OFT/SECDEF) sponsors a new program at NPS , consisting of a Transformation Chair, Transformation Education and Transformation Research
• Goals - to gain insights into current transformation in DoD, foster greater awareness of defense transformation internally with NPS faculty and students, and to a broad external audience of combatant commands & military stakeholders, equipping and influencing a new generation of DoD leaders.
• NPS will be a broker for transformation research, whereby faculty and students world-wide can seek and share information on defense transformation and network centric operations.
• Offered both on campus and as short courses offsite


• Joint network centric operations, joint warfighting and joint peacekeeping campaigns demand that officers know and work seamlessly with all branches of service and coalition forces. NPS supports rapidly changing military requirements through advanced graduate education for the Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force, with jointness as a keystone.
• The NPS student body is comprised of 42% Navy, 13% Marine Corps, 11% Air Force, 7% Army, and 24% international students.

3. Why not use civilian universities for graduate education for its officers?

• Special curricula that combines basic research with direct military applications that respond directly to current military needs is not found in civilian universities.
• Defense focus not duplicated by civilian universities
• The highest priority at NPS is relevant education to military officers, an educational focus that cannot be replaced by Stanford or MIT. Combining basic and applied skills contributes to decision making about future forces and warfighting capabilities. Example: NPS applied research recently supported a brief to Congress on Expeditionary Warfare Force Protection, which is now used widely in the military.

4. Why not use the War Colleges or National Defense University?

The War Colleges and NDU are not suited for the mission of educating junior and mid-grade officers in the scientific, engineering and technical areas essential to maintaining the combat effectiveness of the Navy. The military academies focus on the development of leaders, the war colleges on the strategy and policies of war. But it is NPS, along with the Air Force Institute of Technology, that provide education across a broad spectrum of areas that are critical to combat effectiveness as they provide officers with education that allows the conceptualization, development and use of weapons systems by our military forces.

NPS provides JPME coursework on campus from dedicated War College faculty, so that officers can satisfy both their masters and military requirements from one location during a single tour.

5. What is the added value to the Fleet of an NPS officer when they return to their next command?

Operations experience combined with and education
Officers apply their operational experiences gained in previous commands with applied military coursework and basic research on a masters thesis. A NPS graduate returns to duty with the “Why” (theory, computer modeling and simulation, problem solving, etc) in addition to the “How.”

Broader world view:
• Greater perspective than 4-year degree provides, gains the value of education
• Perspective on how the military works, the “business” of national security and defense
• Equipped with understanding of the new face of war and peace in the netcentric age
• Relationships/networks within 60 other countries and coalition forces

Approach to problem solving
NPS provides a process-oriented education, with experience in integrated interdisciplinary research. A NPS graduate has a knowledge of diverse and innovative ways to attack a problem. Every graduate is required to write a masters thesis based on a real problem, finding real solutions with current and emerging technologies. This experience is invested back into the fleets and offices of DoD.

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All information contained herein has been approved for release by the NPS Public Affairs Officer.
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