U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Carter, Walter E. Jr. (2014) "President’s Forum: [Navy’s Leader Development Continuum] marks a significant starting point for the Navy and . . . full implementation will span generations.," Naval War College Review: Vol. 67 : No. 1 , Article 2.

Available at: https://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/nwc-review/vol67/iss1/2


Th e Naval War College is a multifaceted joint military academic institution, in support of the naval profession, composed of resident education for U.S. and international officers and focused on maritime research, regional studies, distance education, war gaming, and education/ programs at the operational level of war. Each of these intricate areas has unique programs and initiatives, but their common underlying theme is their ability to educate our future leaders and to teach them to think strategically and operationally. Educating leaders is conducted not only at the War College but also at our off-site locations around the country, and the research products generated are world renowned. I would like to bring your attention to a new area of focus to which the War College has significantly contributed. Although it is in its early stages, I would classify this work as potentially the greatest enhancement of our Navy’s professional development since John Paul Jones helped to establish it during the American Revolution—the Navy’s Leader Development Continuum (LDC). In the fall of 2011, shortly after Admiral Jonathan Greenert became our thirtieth Chief of Naval Operations, he tasked the Naval War College (NWC) to help him in executing his vision for a more detailed and involved Leader Development Continuum. Being a visionary leader, he necessitated that the newly formulated LDC encompass all Sailors from E-1 to O-10 and that it become an integral part of a comprehensive lifelong learning strategy, aligning experience, training, education, and personal development during an individual Sailor’s career.

The rigorous process used to develop the strategy was led by the NWC’s College of Operational & Strategic Leadership. Initial analysis by the core group assigned to work this project, aided by faculty from the U.S. Naval Academy and the Center for Personal and Professional Development, found that the Navy was, in effect, on a course with no well-defined plan. There was no published strategy to guide Navy leader development. Subsequent research revealed that while there had been much written on the subject of Navy leadership, the development of individual Sailors as leaders was assumed to be a naturally occurring process and was not deliberately designed to achieve the outcomes desired.