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Board of Advisors on Campus for Annual Spring Meeting
U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Michael Ehrlich

Board of Advisors on Campus for Annual Spring Meeting

By MC2 Michael Ehrlich

The Naval Postgraduate School's Board of Advisors (BOA) gathered on the university campus to discuss the role NPS can and should play in an ever-changing national security environment, April 26-27. With board members from all branches of service, both active duty and retired, along with civilian academic and defense industry leaders, the Board of Advisors' mission is to understand the issues facing the Department of Defense, and advise NPS on how the institution can help solve them through its graduate education and research programs.


BOA member retired Vice Adm. David E. Frost led the meeting with opening remarks highlighting changing threats in the world, and the pressing need for innovative thinking to emerge from the Navy's graduate universities.

"We are at a point right now in national security where things are changing substantially," said Frost. "We are coming out of a period where we have been focused on counter terrorism and regional wars, and now we are facing a different kind of world that we are not entirely prepared for. We have to factor in that nuclear weapons are back on the table, and we have let our national strategic thinking go in a direction where we are almost starting from scratch."

Frost also noted that each branch of service will have to reflect on past and future roles and missions within a context of change. Missions, such as the Navy providing air support in Eastern Europe, and protecting sea lanes for commerce in the Pacific, are changing in scope with the inclusion of unmanned systems. And beyond the traditional mission set of the sea services are new missions, such as the growing demand for cyber operations.

"Change is coming. I say that as a preamble to our board meeting because the Naval Postgraduate School has resources that can contribute to the reshaping of national security studies," said Frost. "We have a tremendous amount of resources here, and we, the board members, are all here genuinely to support the NPS mission, and we want to help to do everything we can to make this institution thrive and survive.

"Ultimately, at the end of the day, we are here to understand the issues so we can form our role in trying to help solve them," he stressed.

NPS Provost and Academic Dean Dr. Steven R. Lerman also set the stage for the meeting, providing insight into how the NPS mission differs from that of a civilian university, enabling the institution to engage in the issues Frost addressed.

"The most profound difference to NPS' strategic plan is that in most civilian universities, when you read their mission statements, basically they say they exist for three things ... educate the next generation, advance the state of knowledge and research, and to do service," said Lerman.

"At NPS, because our mission is to educate the next generation of warfighters, our research mission is tacitly tied to our education mission," he continued. "We do research here because it is critical to the mission."


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