October 6, 1884: The Naval War College is Established

Oct 6, 2020

On October 6, 1884, Secretary of the Navy William E. Chandler signed official General Order 325, which stated in part: “A college is hereby established for an advanced course of professional study for naval officers, to be known as the Naval War College.”

Earlier this year, Evan Wilson, Assistant Professor in the John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research, published an account of the history of the U.S. Naval War College in Sea History Magazine.

Wilson writes, “Notably, the Naval War College was not designed to train young naval officers in the basics of their profession—that was the job of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, and navies had been educating officer trainees like that for centuries. Before Luce, there did not exist a plan for educating midlevel officers for the challenges of high command as admirals. Luce’s idea was to broaden their minds so that they could tackle the great questions of war and peace. He was one of the founding fathers of what today we call Professional Military Education, often abbreviated PME. What Luce wanted was a place for mid-career officers to uncover the principles of war and strategy; most of all, he wanted a place where officers had an opportunity to think.”

To read more: “The U.S. Naval War College” by Evan Wilson, Sea History Magazine. Republished with permission.

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