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The United States Naval War College, where the Maritime Strategy originated, held a change of command ceremony at Naval Station Newport (RI) Nov. 6.
Rear Adm. James P. Wisecup relieved Rear Adm. Jacob L. Shuford as president of the United States Naval War College.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead praised Shuford’s accomplishments during his 34 years of service, including the past four years at the Naval War College. Roughead commended Shuford’s leadership of the college through an unprecedented period of mission growth, program expansion and increased international engagement.
“(Rear Adm. Shuford’s) initiative and his creativity have put in place new programs and reinvigorated old ones that have restored the reputation of the college as a thought leader in national security and an essential step in the education of any officer, whether he wears the navy blue or the uniform of our sister services, or the uniform of our foreign friends and partners from around the world,” said Roughead.
Shuford, a 1991 graduate of the Naval War College, became the 51st president of the Naval War College in August 2004. At the strategic level, under Shuford’s direction, the college played the key role in designing the overall process for the nation’s Maritime Strategy, “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower,” as well as planning and executing the geostrategic analysis that supported it.
Shuford created new programs; rechartered and re-energized traditional programs; radically restructured the War College curriculum; formulated new approaches to international partnerships; refocused on research, gaming, and analysis; and realigned those efforts with senior operational commanders facing critical operational challenges in forward theaters. He led the Navy’s Professional Military Education Continuum, now a career-long series of educational opportunities that are relevant to accomplishing the Navy’s missions and also supportive of the professional and personal growth of all Sailors.
“Through this fabric of work, I believe we have managed to move the Naval War College squarely into the main line of advance for our Navy,” said Shuford.
Reflecting on the value of the Naval War College’s work to the Navy’s operational leadership, he explained that “you will be hard-pressed to find any area of priority interest for the Navy where this institution is not somehow contributing and in some cases leading or playing a catalytic role.”
Shuford read his orders and ordered his flag hauled down before relinquishing command to Wisecup, who most recently served as Commander, Carrier Strike Group 7 and Commander, Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group.
Wisecup described the important relationship between how the Naval War College contributes to tomorrow’s leaders preparing for change and the future and how that education impacts the operational Navy.
“It is here where “operators” reflect on what they have seen, explore alternatives and possibilities, and have old assumptions tested,” said Wisecup. “Hence the war college is as essential to Navy success as fleet operations themselves, because only here can ideas about true operational readiness for the future be forged. In many cases, as we speak, these ideas are being tested with operational commanders around the world.”
Reflecting on the mission of the college, Wisecup said, “In its rigorous capacity to look ahead and prepare us, this forward-operational thinking represents the very foundation of our future.”
Wisecup has led in a variety of command positions afloat and ashore, including as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea in Seoul; commanding officer on board USS Callaghan (DDG 994) during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom; and commander of Destroyer Squadron 21. At sea, Wisecup was also the executive officer on board USS Valley Forge (CG 50).
Ashore, he was assigned to NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium; Commander, U.S. Naval Surface Forces, Pacific in San Diego; and Navy Headquarters Plans/Policy Staff. He was selected as a fellow for the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group in Newport, R.I., and served as director, White House Situation Room.
Wisecup is a 1977 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. In addition to his masters in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College in 1998, he earned a masters in international relations from the University of Southern California, and he also earned a degree from University of Strasbourg, France, Institute for Advanced European Studies, as an Olmsted Scholar.
Founded on October 6, 1884, the Naval War College is the first military service institution in the world to be designated a war college. The Naval War College has a unique and long-time history of educating its students to make sound decisions in command and to develop a keen undertaking of naval strategy and management.