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Marine Corps Commandant, Senior Leaders Commend Fall Quarter Graduates

18 December 2020

From Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Taylor Vencill, Naval Postgraduate School Office of University Communications

Honoring the outstanding achievements of a new graduating class amidst many challenges, the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) celebrated its latest class of new alumni with a virtual celebration of the Fall Quarter Graduation, Dec. 18. The newly-minted alumni rose above the evolving challenges of COVID-19 having swiftly adapted to remote learning in early 2020, demonstrating resolve personally and professionally, and completing the requirements of their rigorous academic and research programs.

Honoring the outstanding achievements of a new graduating class amidst many challenges, the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) celebrated its latest class of new alumni with a virtual celebration of the Fall Quarter Graduation, Dec. 18. The newly-minted alumni rose above the evolving challenges of COVID-19 having swiftly adapted to remote learning in early 2020, demonstrating resolve personally and professionally, and completing the requirements of their rigorous academic and research programs.

In commencement remarks recorded prior to graduation day, 38th Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David H. Berger congratulated the 340 graduates, including 27 international students from 13 countries, highlighting the intellectual power and critical thinking present in NPS alumni. He emphasized the value of adapting to a changing environment, and to overcome challenges that only intellectual capability can master.

“In the future, the joint force can no longer expect to win on technical capabilities alone,” said Berger. “Your ability to rapidly process information will seize the initiative against a peer adversary. The future fight will be fluid with an ever-changing environment, and it will demand that Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and our civilian workforce have the intellectual rigor to make sense of the environment, decide and act.”

Berger noted the military profession is a “thinking profession” where intellectual capabilities are imperative as the joint services look to future operating environments characterized by peer level competition and conflict.

“Although the environment and equipment will change, what must remain constant is our ability to understand, decide and act faster and more effectively than our competitors,” stated Berger. “We need leaders like you, who can think through multiple layers of the problem then quickly provide key operational solutions.”

According to Berger, NPS graduates, through their studies, receive the critical thinking tools required to leverage the power of information by analyzing a problem, making sense of the information, and responding effectively in the form of their thesis.

“The Fleet needs people who can accurately recognize cues, quickly make sense of information, and respond effectively,” said Berger. “In the end, it will not be technology that wins the next conflict, but the force with the intellectual edge.”

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, who also recorded a special congratulatory message for the graduates, noted that an NPS education is an investment for the nation.

“The education you received at NPS not only improves you all as individuals, but it also allows you to use your knowledge on behalf of national defense and the American people,” said Wolf.  “The department of homeland security specifically relies on NPS to produce the next generation of homeland security professionals and leaders. Investing in our leaders of tomorrow is an investment worth making.”

NPS President retired Vice Adm. Ann E. Rondeau lauded the graduates on their ability to persevere and overcome challenges in the COVID-19 environment.

“You have adapted, you have persevered, and you have performed in an outstanding manner amidst all the challenges, completing your research, your theses, your projects and your capstones that will lead to key warfighting solutions for our nation,” said Rondeau. “The accomplishments we celebrate today have empowered you to become committed innovators, adaptive thought leaders, and professional warfighters, more valued to your service and to your nation than ever before.

“We will be challenged again by forces well outside our nation’s control,” continued Rondeau. “But take solace, confidence and comfort in all that we do, in that we have the future leaders in place to champion the next challenge that lies before us.”

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