National War College

Coordinates: 38°51′48″N 77°01′01″W / 38.86333°N 77.01694°W / 38.86333; -77.01694
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National War College
Shield of the National War College
TypeFederal staff college
War college
EstablishedJuly 1, 1946 (1946-07-01)
Parent institution
National Defense University
CommandantMajGen Paul J. Rock, USMC
National War College
Roosevelt Hall at Fort Lesley J. McNair, which houses the National War College
National War College is located in Washington, D.C.
National War College
LocationWashington, D.C.
ArchitectMcKim, Mead, and White
Architectural styleNeo-Classical;
Beaux Arts
NRHP reference No.72001535[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPNovember 28, 1972
Designated DCIHSNovember 8, 1964

The National War College (NWC) of the United States is a school in the National Defense University. It is housed in Roosevelt Hall on Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., the third-oldest Army post still active.


The National War College (NWC) was officially established on July 1, 1946, as an upgraded replacement for the Army-Navy Staff College, which operated from June 1943 to July 1946. The college was one of James Forrestal's favorite causes.[2]

According to Lt. Gen. Leonard T. Gerow, President of the Board that recommended its formation:

The College is concerned with grand strategy and the utilization of the national resources necessary to implement that strategy. ... Its graduates will exercise a great influence on the formulation of national and foreign policy in both peace and war. ...

Mid-level and senior military officers who are likely to be promoted to the senior ranks are selected to study at the War College to prepare for higher staff and command positions. About 75 percent of the student body is composed of equal representation from the land, air, and sea (including Marine and Coast Guard) services. The remaining 25 percent are drawn from the Department of State and other federal departments and agencies. In addition, international fellows from several countries join the student body. The curriculum is based upon critical analysis of strategic problem solving with an emphasis on strategic leadership. As of the 2014–2015 academic year, the curriculum was based upon a core standard throughout National Defense University.[3]

Because of the NWC's privileged location close to the White House, the Supreme Court, and Capitol Hill, it has been able throughout its history to call upon an extraordinarily well-connected array of speakers to animate its discussions. All lectures at the National War College are conducted under a strict "no quotation nor attribution" policy, which has facilitated discussion on some of the most challenging issues of the day.


  1. Vice Admiral Harry W. Hill (June 1946–1949)
  2. Lieutenant General Harold R. Bull (1949–1952)
  3. Lieutenant General Harold A. Craig (1952–1955)
  4. Vice Admiral Edmund T. Wooldridge (1955–1958)
  5. Lieutenant General Thomas L. Harrold (1958–1961)
  6. Lieutenant General Francis H. Griswold (1961–1964)
  7. Vice Admiral Fitzhugh Lee III (1964–1967)
  8. Lieutenant General Andrew Goodpaster (1967–1968)
  9. Lieutenant General John E. Kelly (1968–1970)
  10. Lieutenant General John B. McPherson (1970–1973)
  11. Vice Admiral Marmaduke G. Bayne (1973–1975)
  12. Major General James S. Murphy (1975–1976)
  13. Major General Harrison Lobdell Jr. (1976–1978)
  14. Rear Admiral John C. Barrow (1978–1980)
  15. Major General Lee E. Surut (1980–1983)
  16. Major General Perry M. Smith (1983–1986)
  17. Rear Admiral John F. Addams (1986–1989)
  18. Major General Gerald P. Stadler (1989–1992)
  19. Major General John C. Fryer Jr. (1992–1995)
  20. Rear Admiral Michael McDevitt (1995–1997)
  21. Rear Admiral Thomas Marfiak (1997–1999)
  22. Rear Admiral Daniel R. Bowler (1999–2000)
  23. Major General Reginal G. Clemmons (2000–2003)
  24. Rear Admiral Richard D. Jaskot (2003–2006)
  25. Major General Teresa Marné Peterson (2006–2007)
  26. Major General Robert P. Steel (2007–2010)
  27. Rear Admiral Douglas J. McAneny (2011-2013)[4]
  28. Brigadier General Guy "Tom" Cosentino (2013-2015)[5]
  29. Brigadier General Darren E. Hartford (2015-2017)[6]
  30. Brigadier General Chad T. Manske (2017-2019)[7]
  31. Rear Admiral Cedric E. Pringle (2019–2021)
  32. Brigadier General Jeff H. Hurlbert (2021-present)[8]

Source for commandants up to 2010.[9]

Alumni and influence[edit]

American graduates of the National War College include a secretary of state and a secretary of defense, national security advisors, a senator and congressman, and a White House chief of staff, in addition to chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff and numerous other current and former flag officers, general officers, and U.S. ambassadors. No other graduate institution of national security policy in the world has had more impact in the development of the United States senior cadre of national security leaders. Graduates from other countries include prime ministers from nations as diverse as Iran and Bulgaria, as well as many national military leaders from every continent on earth except Antarctica. Notable graduates include:









  • James L. Jones, 32nd Commandant of the Marine Corps, 14th NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, 21st National Security Advisor






  • Robin Olds, brigadier general, "triple ace" in World War II and Vietnam







Roosevelt Hall[edit]

Roosevelt Hall (built 1903–1907) is a Beaux Arts–style building housing the NWC since its inception in 1946. Designed by the New York architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, it is now designated a National Historic Landmark. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ Garry Wills, Bomb Power (Penguin, 2010), p. 68
  3. ^ Gregg Martin and John Yaeger, "Break Out: A Plan for Better Equipping the Nations Future Strategic Leaders," Joint Force Quarterly (April 2014), pp. 39–43.
  4. ^ "Rear Admiral Douglas McAneny". United States Navy.
  5. ^ "National Defense University: Board of Visitors and NDU Senior Leadership" (PDF). National Defense University. November 2014. p. 25.
  6. ^ "Brigadier General Darren E. Hartford". United States Air Force.
  7. ^ "Brigadier General Chad T. Manske". United States Air Force.
  8. ^ "Brigadier General Jeff H. Hurlbert". United States Air Force.
  9. ^ "National War College Commandants". Archived from the original on 2012-03-22.
  10. ^ West Point Association of Graduates
  11. ^ At 105, Colorado veteran is West Point’s oldest living graduate
  12. ^ West Point Magazine Spring 2023

External links[edit]

38°51′48″N 77°01′01″W / 38.86333°N 77.01694°W / 38.86333; -77.01694