Mission and Vision

The National War College mission is to educate joint, interagency, and international leaders and warfighters by conducting a senior-level course of study in national security strategy, preparing graduates to function at the highest levels of strategic leadership in a complex, competitive, and rapidly evolving strategic environment.

The curriculum emphasizes the joint and interagency perspective. Reflecting this emphasis, 59 percent of the student body is composed of equal representation from the land, air, and sea (including Marine and Coast Guard) Services. The remaining 41 percent are drawn from the Department of State and other federal departments and agencies, and international fellows from a number of foreign countries.

The Commandant, a military officer of one-star rank, occupies a nominative position that rotates among the Army, Navy, and Air Force. As joint sponsor of the National War College, the Department of State nominates a foreign service officer with Ambassadorial rank to serve as the Commandant's Deputy and International Affairs Adviser. This position was inaugurated by the great diplomat-scholar George F. Kennan, whose thirteen lectures delivered at the NWC in 1946 and 1947, as well as the paper that provided the intellectual underpinnings of the Containment Doctrine of the Cold War, can be read in Giles D. Harlow and George C. Maerz, editors, Measures Short of War: The George F. Kennan Lectures at the National War College, 1946-47 (Washington, DC: NDU Press, 1991).

A National Security Strategy Primer

NSS PrimerA National Security Strategy Primer provides students with a common point of reference for material covered in the National War College curriculum. We use the Primer as a point of departure for discussions about strategy, and as a principal tool for understanding and achieving core course learning objectives. The Primer specifically addresses the concept of national security strategy and an approach for developing it, one that should be studied closely. In addition to using current joint and service-specific doctrine, extant procedures, and existing policy guidance, A National Security Strategy Primer uses the literature on national security strategy found in academia, the business sector, and elsewhere. While the Primer is geared towards the National War College core curriculum, it can also serve as a useful tool for interagency practitioners charged with designing or assessing national security strategies.

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