Where you want to be!

The naval postgraduate school: where you want to be!

Richard A. Paquette

Much has been written in the Supply Corps concerning the importance of a master’s degree for continued advancement and how critical a postgraduate education is for successfully leading our Navy and Supply Corps into the future. My hope for this article is to reach out to my fellow career-minded Supply Corps officers who are attempting to decide on their path for an advanced degree.

We are fortunate that the Navy offers many of us a wonderful opportunity to continue our education by attending the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, Calif. A great deal of information has been disseminated regarding the school.

Often times it is from the Chief of Supply Corps, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), retired flag officers or others of similar stature. What has been lacking is a discussion of the merits of this institution from its intended audience, mid-grade Naval officers, who are considering making the Navy a career. As a recent graduate (December 2001), I feel that I am well qualified to speak on the merits of the school to Supply Corps officers looking for that next tour and who have career aspirations.

In the past few years, the Supply Corps has opened up the opportunity to attend NPS to more eligible officers, earlier in their careers. I was fortunate enough to be selected to attend NPS as a mid-grade lieutenant after completion of my department head tour.

My discussion will rest upon three primary points. First, the education that you receive at the NPS is top-notch. Second, the central coast of California is a wonderful duty station that has a high quality of service and provides a great atmosphere for Supply Corps officers’ and their families. Finally, by attending the school, you are given the opportunity to meet, network, and connect with many of your peers from the armed services of the United States as well as many international militaries.


Since the NPS is first and foremost an institution of higher learning. Any discussion of its merits must begin with the education that you will receive there. The school is presently accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools for Business (AACSB).

The Graduate School of Business and Public Policy (GSBPP) and its graduate programs have achieved the distinction of being one of only two institutions in the country earning dual accreditation by AACSB and NASPAA. In short, all tracks of education, be they management or engineering, are accredited by their respective governing bodies.

The faculty and staff at NPS are incredibly distinguished and many have published books and essays in their fields. The professors in the GSBPP writings can be in professional journals such as the Acquisition Review Quarterly, Contract Management, the Army ALT (Acquisition, Logistics & Technology) Magazine and many others.

Over 200 professors at NPS have doctorates in their field and hail from such distinguished institutions as Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Cornell, Johns Hopkins and Princeton. Furthermore, the ongoing research efforts at NPS have the instructors on the leading edge of technology, knowledge, and discovery in their fields of study.

NPS also offers small class sizes and instructors who are truly concerned about their students’ development. both intellectually and personally. The instructors are very accessible and routinely make themselves available after working hours for review sessions and extra instruction for all who are interested.

The laboratories available at NPS are absolutely first-rate and make available a great deal of the newest technology for students to utilize in experiments and research.

The courses offered by the GSBPP are both relevant and full of modern examples of business practices from both the government and private industry. Many faculty members of the GSBPP are continually sought after to help the Department of Defense reshape manpower, financial, and procurement regulations and legislation. You will routinely interface with business leaders from both government and private industry during seminars, presentations, and lectures. This continual feedback and interaction with the business world ensures that the curriculum and training you receive is relevant and evolving in congruence with the most recent trends and ideas generated in the 21st century.

In summary, the master’s degree you receive from NPS will serve you well whether in a wardroom, a staff position, or a boardroom.

Quality of Service

The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), ADM Vem Clark, has made quality of service one of his top five priorities in moving the Navy into the 21st century. The Naval Postgraduate School answers the CNO’s call in this vital area. The quality of service one can expect at NPS is among the best in the Navy.

The Monterey Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places in the United States. Monterey and the surrounding towns of Pacific Grove, Carmel, Seaside, and Marina are alive with recreational, cultural, and family activities on a daily basis. There is a wonderful exercise trail right along the Monterey Bay that goes for miles, allowing for easy wildlife viewing and magnificent views of the stunningly rugged California coastline.

Monterey is also home to a world-famous aquarium and a wonderfully restored “Cannery Row” waterfront, a piece of American history captured in John Steinbeck’s classic novel of the same name.

A short drive takes you to San Jose and San Francisco. These modern metropolitan cities have everything anyone could ask for from professional sports, to world-class entertainment, shopping, night-life, as well as wonderful sightseeing.

If you are more interested in getting away from it all, easy weekend trips to Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe are sure to amaze all visitors with their beauty and natural grandeur.

What all of this means is that a tour of duty in Monterey affords all of us a chance to reconnect with the most important people in our lives, our families. Many of the Supply Corps officers arriving at NPS, myself included, are coming from sea duty. We are all aware of the rigors, challenges, and sacrifices made by our families during these multi-year, multideployment tours. During the time away from home we miss out on many things from birthdays, to holidays, to a baby’s first steps and first words. You are responsible only for yourself and your family. This is a welcome respite after being on sea duty or in a shore billet where you had a great many challenges and responsibilities.

Professional Camaraderie

The final point that I will make in support of the school is the professional camaraderie and networking that are an inherent part of the NPS experience.

Upon arrival at NPS you are immediately immersed in an environment that is full of other professional military officers who are career-minded and seeking to assume higher levels of leadership, education, and responsibility. Many of you will meet old shipmates from college or previous tours in the service.

In addition, there are officers from all the different occupational fields in the Navy. NPS is a wonderful opportunity to meet officers who are sub-drivers, pilots, intelligence officers, medical officers, etc. In addition to all of the Naval officers attending NPS, there are many Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps officers as well as government civil servants. All of these individuals will add to your experience and knowledge about how DoD works. This type of environment cannot be duplicated at any civilian college and is a key component of the NPS experience.

Finally, there are military officers from 33 foreign countries currently enrolled at NPS. Among the nations represented in classes are Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Spain, El Salvador, Brazil, Taiwan, Korea and the Philippines. Their presence adds a wonderful opportunity for the next generation of U.S. military leaders to interact with and generate professional and personal bonds with these outstanding representatives from around the world.

The camaraderie that exists at NPS is a special and intangible benefit of placing so many of our military’s future leaders in one place. The opportunity for all of us to get to know one another, whether in the classroom, on the golf course, or at one of the many fine restaurants, coffee shops, or watering holes in the area will pay immense dividends as we rise to the highest levels of leadership in the Supply Corps and the Navy. The friendships fostered with the international students attending NPS will help cultivate U.S. military relationships around the globe and will lead to more coordination, understanding, and cooperation when we train and fight with our allies overseas.

NPS provides a superior education, an incredible quality of service, and the opportunity to get to know officers from every occupational specialty in the Navy as well as other military services from both in the United States and abroad. The Naval Postgraduate School is all of those things. NPS is a true asset to not only the Navy, but to the nation as well, not to mention being a phenomenal tour for any Supply Corps officer looking to make the Navy a career.

Lieutenant Richard A. Paquette SC, USN

Contracting Officer Naval Air Systems Command Patuxent River, Md.

Contracting Officer Naval Air Systems Command Patuxent River, Md.

LCDR (Sel) Richard Paquette is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1994. He has served aboard the USS Frederick (LST 1184) as disbursing/sales officer and as the supply officer on USS Tucson (SSN 770). He earned his master’s in management (acquisitions & contracts) from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Author’s note: I wish to thank Prof. Gail Fann Thomas, Dr. Gil Howard, Dr. David Lamm, Prof. Shu Liao, Prof. Dave Matthews, Dr. Dave Netzer, and Dr. Cary Simon for their assistance.

COPYRIGHT 2003 U.S. Department of the Navy, Supply Systems Command

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group