Acting SECNAV Modly Orders $100M Shifted Toward Navy Education Effort

December 9, 2019 5:36 PM
Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class John Goodwin, a Framingham, Massachusetts, native, takes notes during the Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC) Non-Destructive Inspection (NDI) Mass Eddy Current Lab Feb. 7 aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. US Navy Photo

The acting secretary of the Navy ordered a 22-percent increase in spending on education within the Navy, calling for more than $100 million to be shifted around this year and for $350 million to be added in the out-years to better focus on the service’s education needs.

Thomas Modly, who had served as under secretary of the Navy since January 2018 until his recent appointment as acting secretary, signed a memo today calling for sufficient money to “fully fund our Naval Education Strategy, increase our warfighting advantage, invest long term in our human capital, fully leverage our existing investment in educational infrastructure, and fill high-risk gaps in current educational institution budgets.”

The Navy’s Education for Seapower report that was released a year ago found that improvements in the Department of the Navy’s education infrastructure would be important as the Navy and Marine Corps prepared for the high-end fight laid out under the National Defense Strategy.

“The prioritization – as it should be over the last several years – has been around readiness, and education, I think, has not been considered a part of that readiness equation at a high enough level,” Modly said in February. “But I think that’s a little short-sighted, and I think that’s what the study found, is that it’s short-sighted because at some point if we don’t educate our people properly, it’s going to have a huge impact on readiness.”

Modly wrote in Dec. 9 memo that, based on the 2018 report, he directed that the Navy identify the proper resources to ensure the entire educational enterprise was sufficiently funded. The naval education system includes the United States Naval Academy, the Naval War College, Naval Postgraduate School, Marine Corps University and the future Naval Community College.

“Since this decision was announced, the DON Chief Learning Officer (CLO), John R. Kroger, has worked with the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Development (OPNAV N7), and the Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration (DC CDI), to create a budget that would fulfill the direction of the reference, as well as my personal order to fully fund the Naval University System and Naval Education Strategy to the maximum extent possible, with immediate effect,” Modly wrote in his memo.

It is unclear where the money was taken from to pay for the investments in education.

After reviewing their proposed spending plan, Modly announced in his memo that the Navy comptroller, chief of naval operations, commandant of the Marine Corps and DON CLO would work together to increase educational spending from $1.61 billion to $1.95 billion in Fiscal Year 2025.

For more immediate impact, he wrote, “this investment in education will begin with a $109.1 million increase in FY20 and grow to $349.6 million by FY25. This represents my desire to increase the DON’s investment in naval education in order to achieve our educational goals, which include a new Naval Community College for enlisted Marines and sailors, an increase in the number of naval officers pursuing advanced degrees in strategy and management, the development of a new warfighting curriculum for our officer corps, and a focus on making sure that our Naval University System institutions are world-class centers for teaching, learning, and research.”

Megan Eckstein

Megan Eckstein

Megan Eckstein is the former deputy editor for USNI News.

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