Navy Quietly Stands Up Warfighting Development Directorate (OPNAV N7)

November 12, 2019 1:50 PM - Updated: November 15, 2019 4:20 PM
Vice Adm. Stuart Munsch

This post was updated with the correct date of Vice Adm. Stuart Munsch’s Senate confirmation.

Vice Adm. Stuart Munsch was quietly put in charge of the Navy’s newly formed warfighting development directorate late last month, several Navy officials confirmed to USNI News.

The Navy is still working on the specifics of Munsch’s job as the head of the warfighting development directorate, dubbed OPNAV N7. However, Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly told reporters earlier this year the N7 was a new three-star admiral position that will be the “sole resource sponsor and strategic leader for naval education.”

Modly’s comments were made when announcing the Navy’s larger effort to revamp how it educates sailors and Marines, USNI News reported in February. The Navy’s Education For Seapower report includes several suggested reforms to how the department organizes training and education. The N7 position is one of the new positions created to support this new approach to learning.

Former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson told USNI News last year that the N7 position would integrate education and training efforts together. The new directorate would ensure that the Navy’s schools – the U.S. Naval Academy, the Naval War College, the Naval Postgraduate School and others – are aligned with other activities such as wargaming and exercise activities, experimentation with new ideas and gear, analysis and studies.

Cmdr. John Sharpe, the spokesman for the new directorate, acknowledged a request for comment by USNI News but did not provide one prior to this post.

The Senate confirmed Munsch for the role on Sept. 26. Munsch, who promoted to vice admiral in March, was previously the Navy’s deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy (OPNAV N3/5).

The Navy also recently hired a civilian chief learning officer to align the activities of the United States Naval Academy, the Naval War College, Naval Postgraduate School, Marine Corps University and the soon-to-be established Naval Community College.

Munsch is a native of North Dakota and a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was an All-American pistol shooter. He was selected for a Rhodes Scholarship is and is a graduate of Oxford University with a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, according to his Navy biography.

At sea, he served mostly on submarines, including command of USS Albuquerque (SSN-706). Munsch also commanded Submarine Group 7 and Task Forces 74 and 54, according to his bio.

Ben Werner

Ben Werner

Ben Werner is a staff writer for USNI News. He has worked as a freelance writer in Busan, South Korea, and as a staff writer covering education and publicly traded companies for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., Savannah Morning News in Savannah, Ga., and Baltimore Business Journal. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree from New York University.

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