Navy ‘Education for Seapower’ Program Under Review by New SECNAV

June 29, 2020 3:57 PM - Updated: June 30, 2020 3:23 PM
U.S. Naval War College (NWC) holds a graduation ceremony, March 3, 2020. US Navy Photo

A push to boost education across all ranks the Navy and the Marine Corps is under review by the office of the Secretary of the Navy and could face cuts in the future, USNI News has learned.

The Education for Seapower initiative was a key program crafted by Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer and former Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly to improve learning across the Department of the Navy as a national security priority.

The program would have increased annual spending on education and funded “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,” according to a memo from Modly.

As part of the effort, the DoN created the position of a civilian chief learning officer and aligned education under the Warfighting Development Directorate (OPNAV N7) to coordinate the Navy’s education and training

In December, Modly ordered $100 million in Fiscal Year 2020 money shifted to support education efforts and was preparing to devote as much as $350 million more annually for future education efforts.

However, the new programs moving are now being reconsidered, according to a schoolwide message to Naval War College faculty members reviewed by USNI News. The scope of the review is unclear, however.

The Navy did not directly address the status of a review of the Education for Seapower initiatives when asked by USNI News.

“Educating the force remains a Department priority, and we will continue to look at innovative ways to provide sailors and Marines a career roadmap filled with world-class training and education,” reads a statement from the service.

Department of the Navy Chief Learning Officer (CLO) John Kroger, right, and Vice Adm. Stuart Munsch, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Development (OPNAV N7), engage with Naval Postgraduate School leadership on Feb. 19, 2020. US Navy Photo

Earlier this month, John Kroger, the first DoN CLO, submitted his resignation from the position after less than a year in the job. His resignation would take place later this summer. Kroger was a former Marine, an academic, a federal prosecutor and past attorney general for the State of Oregon and was tapped to lead the new office in September 2019.

“Dear friends: Quick note to let you all know that I will be leaving the Department of the Navy and my civil service position as Chief Learning Officer later this summer. It has been a great honor to serve as the first joint Navy-Marine Corps CLO and I wish all of my colleagues the very best,” Kroger wrote in a public message on LinkedIn.
“Together we have accomplished a great deal in a very short period of time. I am most proud of the creation of the new U.S. Naval Community College, which will help enlisted sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen pursue their intellectual, educational and professional development. I have accepted leadership positions with a global think tank and a venture capital advisory firm (more details to follow) and look forward to future collaborations with you all.”

In a statement to USNI News, Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Paul Newell confirmed that “John Kroger has announced he will resign his post later this summer as the Department of the Navy’s Chief Learning Officer to accept a position outside government. The Department will make an announcement about the appointment of a new CLO in the near future.”

The new look at education is the latest in a string of Modly and Spencer initiatives that have been canceled or put under review by new Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite.

Modly, who resigned after the mishandling of the removal former USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) commander, had driven the Education for Seapower study and the rollout of an education strategy in March.

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.
Follow @samlagrone

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