The United States Naval Community College will begin serving its first class of about 600 students, under a pilot program running from January through June.
The students will come from the Navy, Marine Corps and the Coast Guard, and they will be taught by a combined effort from Northern Virginia Community College, the University of Arizona, the University of Maryland Global Campus, Alexandria Technical and Community College in Minnesota, and the State University System of New York (SUNY Online).
The Navy first announced the Naval Community College effort in 2019, both to formalize the training sailors were already getting into an accredited education program but also to develop a more educated and thoughtful force as the Navy enters a period where warfighting concepts and technologies are evolving rapidly.
“If we don’t outthink people, we can’t outfight them,” Former Chief Learning Officer John Kroger said at the time.
“It is imperative we have a more educated enlisted force, grounded in the understanding of current events, allowing them to add context to the actions they may be ordered to do,” Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite said in a Naval Community College statement today. “This will provide a critical advantage in any scenario, but specifically to the understanding of how they fit into our overall strategic goals and objectives.”
Kroger said last January that this proof-of-concept inaugural class would kick off in January 2021 and focus on a handful of fields, likely in the cyber and engineering fields. He said the Naval Community College would ultimately grow to about 10 majors available to students.
In the news release today, the Naval Community College announced that areas of study during the pilot will include the nuclear field, cyber security, data analytics, English, math, and naval ethics, and added that that list would grow as the community college expands in Phase II next year.
“We are in an era of great power competition. Any advantage we can achieve over an adversary will increase our warfighting prowess,” Braithwaite said in the statement.
“Innovating solutions through improvement of critical thinking skills will only serve to give our leaders more flexibility in the effective and efficient deployment of our naval forces.”
“Now that we’ve identified our collaborating schools, we can move forward with our program to ensure we offer the best education to our service members and benefit all those involved,” Randi Cosentino, president of the Naval Community College, said in the statement.
“The pilot will allow us to collect important data that will inform the development of the USNCC. Working in consortium with leading colleges will help us explore outcomes around the design of the program, the processes involved, working relationships and overall impact.”