A rear admiral who began her career as a helicopter pilot has been named the next president of the US Naval War College, the first woman to fill that role, the secretary of the Navy announced Friday.
Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield serves as a commander of the Joint Region Marianas in Guam and previously served as a Provincial Reconstruction Team commander in Afghanistan, the US Navy said in a statement.
“Rear Admiral Chatfield is a historic choice for the Naval War College. She is the embodiment of the type of warrior-scholar we need now to lead this storied institution as it educates our next generation of leaders,” Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer said in a statement.
“As our Education for Seapower (E4S) Study noted, our capacity for critical thinking in an age of increasing complexity will be our most important strategic advantage. Admiral Chatfield will play a pivotal role in leading the War College as it integrates into the new Naval University system we are now establishing to foster a culture of continuous learning in the naval services.”
Chatfield will take over for Rear Adm. Jeffery Harley, who was reassigned June 9 “pending the final report of an ongoing Inspector General investigation,” the Navy said.
Harley would not discuss the investigation, the Associated Press reported last week.
“All the decisions questioned in the allegations were subject to legal review either before or after the fact, and I believe that all of my decisions are within my authorities,” Harley wrote in a campuswide email, the AP reported.
The college’s provost, Lewis Duncan, has temporarily assumed presidential duties, the Navy said.
Chatfield grew up in Garden Grove, California, graduated from Boston University in 1987 and became a naval aviator, earning her “wings of gold” in 1989, according to her military biography.
She was assigned to West Coast Helicopter Combat Support Squadrons, then moved to the Helicopter Sea Combat community. She later deployed in helicopter detachments to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf, her biography states.
Chatfield was awarded the Navy’s Political/Military Scholarship and received a master of public administration from Harvard University in 1997. She worked as an assistant professor of political science at the US Air Force Academy from 2001 to 2004 and earned a doctorate in education from the University of San Diego in 2009.
The Naval War College, located in Newport, Rhode Island, was established in 1884 as an advanced course of professional study for naval officers, its website states.
The college on Friday graduated more than 1,500 students, including people from all five branches of the military, civilian federal employees and international military officers from US partner countries.
“Like the curriculum you all completed, the Naval War College is rooted in tradition but fueled, fueled by your innovation,” Spencer said at the commencement ceremony.