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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.


It 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.[1]

According to Lt. Gen. Leonard T. Gerow, President of the Board which 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 most senior ranks are selected to study at the War College in preparation 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 a number of countries join the student body.

Graduates of the National War College include numerous current and former flag officers, general officers, and U.S. ambassadors. Notable graduates include former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell; U.S. Senator John McCain; former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Wesley Clark; former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace and Hugh Shelton; former National Security Advisor and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe James L. Jones; former U.S Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki; former U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Elmo Zumwalt; retired Air Force General Arnold W. Braswell; U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle; World War II submarine officer and best-selling novelist Edward L. Beach, Jr.; former military aide to President John F. Kennedy, Godfrey McHugh; the late U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens; and U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Norton A. Schwartz.

Roosevelt Hall

Roosevelt Hall (built 1903-07) is a Beaux Arts-style building housing the NWC since its inception in 1946. Designed by the New York architectural firm McKim, Mead and White, it is now designated a National Historical Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

See also

National War College shield


  1. Garry Wills, Bomb Power (Penguin, 2010), p. 68

External links

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

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