Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson held an all hands call at U.S. Naval War College (NWC), Oct. 5, where he discussed the importance of the institution and its role in helping plot the Navy's course.
He also reminded students that what happens while they are students here - both in and out of the classroom - can change the trajectory of their careers and lives.
"It is almost a magical place. And certainly you're going to get a world class education. There is no doubt about that," said Richardson. "Even more important, you're going to forge strategic relationships with one another within our Navy, with current and future leaders of other navies, with the best thinkers in the United States and the world."
"This is a bright strategic star in the constellations of institutions," he stressed.
Richardson said that the early visit, just three weeks into his tenure, was intended to make a statement on how highly he regards the school and the work it is doing.
"I wanted to send a message first and foremost to all of you, how much I value this special place in our Navy. And how much I value each of you here in this room, both students and faculty," Richardson said to a packed auditorium.
The world is changing quickly and historically NWC has adapted seamlessly to the changing nature of security, according to Richardson. But the work at NWC reaches further than that.
"You go well beyond adapting," said Richardson. "You actually define the future security environment in so many ways. The thinking that emerges out of the Naval War College has, throughout our Navy's history, not only adapted but projected what will be our future."
According to Richardson, that ability is a vital tool considering the current world situation.
"I can't think of any time where that will be more important than right now," he said. "We are in a highly dynamic situation, and at no time has it been more important to get out in front and map our course into the future."
Richardson, who took office Sept. 18, is the 31st CNO and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1982 with a bachelor's of science degree in physics. He holds master's degrees from the National War College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.