Article By: Kenneth A. Stewart
The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in conjunction with Commander, Naval Surface Forces, Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden recently established the university’s first-ever Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) chair. The chair will serve as a mentor and a liaison between the surface Navy community and NPS students, faculty and staff.
“It gives me great pleasure to establish a SWO chair here. I have been dreaming about doing this for a very long time,” said Rowden.
“NPS brings three powerful assets to the table that no other single institution can match – human capital in the form of a student body composed of mid-career naval, military and defense professionals; intellectual capital in the form of a faculty with deep ties to both academia and the defense establishment; and physical capital in the form of laboratories, centers, facilities and this beautiful and historically significant campus,” said Rowden.
In an effort to leverage those assets, Rowden assigned NPS alumnus Capt. Charles Good to NPS.
“It’s Capt. Good’s responsibility to take the value of NPS to the fleet so that we can take those young, great intellectual minds that are serving on our ships and get them properly synced up with the faculty here in order to provide them the opportunity to achieve all of the greatness they can.
“I think all of us are smarter than one of us and that if we can bring [NPS and the SWO community] together in a meaningful way, the opportunity to really improve not only the richness of the experience here in Monterey, but also the value that that experience brings to the fleet, can be increased by orders of magnitude,” Rowden continued.
Commander, Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, center, leads a delegation to one of several program briefings just before his Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture (SGL), Sept. 10. Rowden used the SGL forum to introduce NPS’ first-ever Surface Warfare Chair, Capt. Charles Good, right.
Good is returning to NPS after a nearly two-decade absence. He notes that NPS’ outward appearance has changed very little in the last two decades, but that the number and diversity of programs offered by NPS has increased dramatically.
“It feels great to be back on campus, I graduated about 19 years ago with a Master in National Security Affairs with a focus on Europe and Eurasia,” said Good.
“We have a great blending of faculty here, some academic powerhouses, as well as some folks who have served in the surface warfare community before getting their academic credentials. We need to do everything that we can to leverage all of that [intellectual capital and capacity at NPS] to the maximum amount that we can,” said Good.
While at NPS, Good intends to focus on matching NPS students with surface warfare research needs and guiding them along career paths that will not only enhance their academic experience at NPS, but will benefit the surface warfare community as well.
“I can serve as a conduit. The fleet can send issues, concerns and initiatives to me and I can tie them to interested students and faculty on campus,” said Good. “Having the students do surface warfare related theses is a big step, it ensures that they remain grounded in the community while at the same time getting exposure academically.”
NPS has been central to officer development and career progression within the SWO community for many years. And according to Good, graduate education at NPS is an integral part of the process by which SWOs are groomed for future leadership positions.
“NPS has been, is, and will continue to be the core of the SWO graduate education delivery into our career path,” said Good.
SWOs complete their initial fleet tours relatively early in their careers. Coming to NPS allows them to catch their breath between deployments and allows them to gain skills and education that will serve them well when they return to the fleet as department heads and when they take their knowledge and experience back ashore to the Pentagon and other major staffs, noted Good.
“Nearly every single one of the SWO students on campus is a prospective department head. They are career minded, mid-career professionals. Coming to NPS is a natural fit in their surface warfare career progression” said Good.
“It is beneficial for junior officers to spend their initial shore tour here in Monterey and get their graduate degree and [Joint Professional Military Education] JMPE Phase I complete before heading back to the fleet and their department head tour,” explained Good.
For Rowden, placing a SWO chair at NPS is about ensuring that valuable, defense focused graduate education is not lost and that its benefits are able to be combined effectively with other professional military education venues throughout the Navy.
“It is important to tie together all the work that we are doing in the fleet … the tactical work that we are doing at the Naval War College, the work that we are doing at the Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center, and bring it all together with the great work, the great capacity and the great capability, that we have here at NPS.
“I think it's really important that everyone, not only across the surface Navy enterprise, but across the Navy, understands just how critical and just how valuable the Naval Postgraduate School is to the many, many things that we are doing,” said Rowden.
Posted September 22, 2015