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This USNCC Pilot II program offers active duty enlisted Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen an opportunity to earn a five-course, 15-credit certificate that counts as the first quarter of a naval-relevant associate degree.
The USNCC directly supports the Chief of Naval Operations’ NAVPLAN 2021. “The Navy’s education enterprise must align its curriculum and research to deliver warfighting advantage,” said Adm. Michael M. Gilday in this document. “Student and faculty research will focus on warfighting concepts and capabilities our fleet needs to compete and win. The Naval Community College will provide our Sailors opportunities for education in fields that strengthen the service.”
Gen. David H. Berger, commandant of the Marine Corps, has a similar message for Marines in his planning guidance: “While we can and should take pride in our ability to develop a deep reservoir of knowledge on counterinsurgency operations, we must now direct our attention and energy to replicating that educational effort across the force to create a similar knowledge base regarding naval warfare and naval expeditionary warfare.”
The five courses that make up the Naval Studies certificate are based on naval sciences courses taught in the U.S. Naval Academy and Naval ROTC programs. These 15 credits are taken from the 36 general education requirements that make up associate of science degrees and are also referred to as the USNCC “naval core.” The courses include Naval Ethics and Leadership, Modern Naval History, Naval Force Design and Concepts, Civilian and Military Organization and Policies, and the certificate capstone course Introduction to Geopolitics.
“The naval core provides context so they know how their new skill fits into the job they are going to be doing as a military member,” said retired Navy Cmdr. Russ Evans, the associate dean of Naval Studies at the USNCC. “We are trying to find an advantage over our adversary. You may know how to do the thing you are trained to do. We’re going to give you the critical thinking skills to translate that new skill you got from school, and leverage it academically for your unit or organization. A lot of times, people think of enlisted members as technicians, but they are more than that. We’re putting more responsibility on junior service members, so we need to better prepare them for these critical thinking skills to see how their mission fits into the larger picture.”
This naval core, taught by academics with extensive backgrounds in military leadership, allows Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen to provide insights from their own services’ perspectives in an educational environment. Evans said that this allows these service members to understand joint service operations before they are in a real-life, high-stress situation. “When you can do that across services, your ability to innovate will grow tremendously,” said Evans.
When the first Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen complete the Naval Studies certificate — which will be documented in their joint service transcripts — they will be conditionally enrolled into the Military Studies associate degree, which will develop a deeper understanding of the role the military and the naval services have on the global stage as well as providing better critical thinking skills, research and writing skills, and communication skills.
This meets the commandant of the Coast Guard’s 2018-2022 strategic plan where Adm. Karl L. Shultz said he wants to sharpen the skills of the mission ready total workforce by updating education programs to develop specialized skills for current and future mission needs while investing in and sustaining a Prevention workforce that meets the evolving needs of the maritime industry.
Active duty enlisted Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen can fill out an application on the USNCC website, www.usncc.edu. The first courses will start in January 2022.
The United States Naval Community College is the community college for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. To get more information about the USNCC, go to www.usncc.edu. Click on the student interest form link to learn how to be a part of the USNCC Pilot II program.
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