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Documents 4 through 6

4. A Continuing Education

Assistant Secretary of the Navy Frank Hackett’s address at the annual opening of the Naval War College.

3 June 1901

The annual convocation of the Naval War College has been an occasion for speakers to address a new class of War College students and reflect on the importance of their endeavor.  In 1901, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Frank Hackett welcomed not only the new class, but a new century.  Commenting on the recent history of the institution, he mentioned its tenuous beginnings as well as the achievements of its graduates and the contributions of the College during the recent war.  More significantly, he emphasized the importance of a continuing education as the best preparation for the demands of an uncertain future.

5. Extending the Reach of a Naval War College Education

Correspondence course diplomas of Lt. Edward Durgin.

1928 and 1935

The College established a correspondence school in 1914 in order to make its curriculum available to officers in the fleet who were unable to attend the regular course in Newport.  The program was an immediate success.  Within a year, more than 400 officers had enrolled in the correspondence courses, compared with the approximately 30 officers who were attending the resident course.  Lt. Edward Durgin was just one of many officers who would take advantage of a Naval War College education from afar.  Eventually rising to the rank of rear admiral, Durgin went on to become the Dean of Students at Brown University following his retirement from the Navy.  The College of Distance Education – as the program is known today – continues to bring the War College curriculum to the fleet and numbers more than 5,000 enrollments annually.


6. Student Work

Student thesis by Captain W.F. Halsey, Jr.


“Few years in a naval officer’s life are more pleasant than this one,” reflected Fleet Admiral William Halsey on his time as a student at the Naval War College.  “It is restful because you have no official responsibilities, and it is stimulating because of the instruction, the exchange of ideas, the chance to test your pet theories on the game board, and the opportunity to read up on professional publications.”  Halsey was a member of the 1933 senior class, which – like most classes – spent its year at the College reading; writing papers; working on solutions to operational and tactical problems; and attending lectures on such subjects as strategy, foreign affairs, military history, and economics.  In this student thesis, Halsey wrote about the relationship of national policy, strategy and tactics and used examples from a possible war with Japan to support his points.  He also offered his ideas on the nature of command and leadership.