The first students have started at the newly established United States Navy Community College (USNCC). The new college is intended to serve three services, the Navy, Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard. Each service selected students for the January 2021 pilot program with input from their chain of command. Higher education can encourage service members to enlist or continue their service so this new program is a major incentive.
“We are very excited to make this announcement,” said Dr. Randi Cosentino, president of the USNCC. “We are working with top colleges and universities to bring to the members of our maritime service community programs that are going to be of high value to them and help them achieve their educational goals.”
Northern Virginia Community College, the University of Arizona, the University of Maryland Global Campus, Alexandria Technical and Community College, and the State University System of New York (SUNY Online), are part of the pilot program scheduled for January through June of 2021. The schools were notified in November of their selection to support the USNCC pilot program. “Now that we’ve identified our collaborating schools, we can move forward with our program to ensure we offer the best education to our service members and benefit all those involved,” Cosentino said. “The pilot will allow us to collect important data that will inform the development of the USNCC. Working in consortium with leading colleges will help us explore outcomes around the design of the program, the processes involved, working relationships and overall impact.
The USNCC is the result of a study that sought to identify opportunities to help prepare enlisted service members and support them throughout their career. Naval leadership directed programs that would provide access to naval-relevant education opportunities to produce better warfighters, improve operational readiness and to support lifelong learning. Areas of study during the pilot program will include the nuclear field, cyber security, data analytics, English, math, and naval ethics.
“It is imperative we have a more educated enlisted force, grounded in the understanding of current events, allowing them to add context to the actions they may be ordered to do,” said Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite. “This will provide a critical advantage in any scenario, but specifically to the understanding of how they fit into our overall strategic goals and objectives.”
“We have so much to be proud of throughout our military history and anything we can do to draw more attention to that through education has my enthusiastic support. There are many lessons there to be learned, and I have no doubt a better understanding of our origins will only contribute to the future successes of our Maritime services in any situation.”
“We are in an era of great power competition,” said Braithwaite. “Any advantage we can achieve over an adversary will increase our warfighting prowess. Innovating solutions through improvement of critical thinking skills will only serve to give our leaders more flexibility in the effective and efficient deployment of our naval forces.”
After the initial program January through June 2021 will have participants taking courses for college credit. The second phase of the program is currently scheduled for Fall 2022. This second phase will expand the study areas of the first phase and include select associate degree programs for 5,000 students. Being in the Fall 2023 and ongoing after that, the USNCC will expend enrollment for multiple degree programs and continue pursuing accreditation.