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Congress’ Scientific Advisory Body Applauds NPS in New Study

Article By: Dale M. Kuska

The National Research Council (NRC) completed its comprehensive review of specialized military graduate education in the Department of Defense, and the final report, released late June, has awarded high marks to the Naval Postgraduate School, noting its value to the nation is far greater than its costs.

“After an extensive study by the NRC, commencing with data calls and travel here to meet with us last Fall, we can take a great deal of pride in this strong, persuasive and influential recognition and appreciation of NPS, and its value to the Navy and DOD,” noted retired Vice Adm. Ronald A. Route, NPS President.

As the operating arm of the National Academies, the NRC is the federal government’s pre-eminent source for independent, expert advice in the sciences. The focal point of the comprehensive study aimed at graduate education in the STEM+M disciplines, or science, technology, engineering, mathematics and management.

The study was directed to the education and research programs provided by the DOD’s internal institutions, NPS and Ohio’s Air Force Institute of Technology, and how this education related to conventional civilian schools.

The results of the study were resoundingly clear.

“These schools (NPS and AFIT) offer valuable educational experiences typically not available at civilian institutions, which provide benefits that outweigh their costs. Notably, students attending AFIT and NPS possess the ability to readily conduct sensitive and classified research on campus alongside fellow students and faculty members,” the study said.

“Their programs focus on militarily relevant problems, some of which might not be welcome in civilian institutions (e.g., weapon system research). Their classroom environments allow for the free exchange of sensitive ideas,” the report continues. “Their geographical and cultural proximity to Service laboratories create significant leverage for limited DOD research funds. In addition, the students have the opportunity to interact inside and outside the classroom with a cohort that shares a common interest in military culture and problems.”

Officials at the university were clearly pleased with the outcome of the report, but also note it reiterates what many close examinations of the institution often do.

Air Force Institute of Technology Chancellor Dr. Todd Stewart, left, tours NPS’ Center for Autonomous Vehicle Research with Director Dr. Douglas Horner, right, during the National Research Council’s visit to campus back in early November of 2013. The NRC’s comprehensive review of NPS has just been released in a report on DOD graduate education.


“We have an extraordinary advantage here at NPS in our students and faculty,” said Route. “When you have an entire student body made of professionals committed to advancing the security of the U.S. and our partners, and the expert faculty and dedicated staff to teach and guide them, traditional academia simply cannot stack up to NPS in meeting the diverse needs of DOD.

“I have seen some of this university's most vocal critics become staunch supporters upon closer examination of our programs, and I'm very pleased to see our institution impress the expertise on the National Research Council with similar success,” he added.

“The National Research Council report once again underscores the magnitude and extraordinary value of the Naval Postgraduate School to the nation’s security, and the centrality of the convergence of instruction and research at a distinguished graduate institution in its service to the Navy and the nation,” echoed Dr. Douglas Hensler, NPS Provost.

An executive summary of the final report is available for download through the National Academies website.

Posted July 7, 2014.

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