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A New Era of Enlisted Education

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black

One of the biggest challenges and greatest responsibilities for the Department of the Navy today is getting you — America’s Sailors and Marines — ready for the next fight. The war of the future will likely happen in this generation and it’s not going to resemble what we’ve fought in the last 18 years.

It’s imperative for all of you to be experts in your skill sets and have the mental dexterity to operate in combat environments, so that under high stress in the middle of the night when chaos ensues, you’ll be more capable of taking decisive action to save each other and prevail in combat.

For this reason the Department of the Navy’s 2018 Education for Seapower study could not have come along at a better time, recognizing that tough training combined with the broadened intellectual capability of our Navy and Marine Corps team imbued with a passion for continuous learning will be our foundation. This study fundamentally transformed how we think about and prioritize enlisted education in the naval services by allowing you to focus on your job, while capturing credit for skills learned and performed; confidently helping you achieve your education goals by quantifying the work you’re already doing to cultivate in an accredited associates degree.  

200304-N-PM193-1001 WASHINGTON (March 4, 2020) Graphic created using multiple image sources, photo editing software, and digital design tools to create an infographic highlighting the U.S. Naval Community College. Initial testing of operating capabilities and partnerships are to begin in early 2021. (U.S. Navy Graphic by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alexander C. Kubitza)

To that end, former Secretary Richard Spencer and Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly’s top priority was to create a United States Naval Community College for enlisted Sailors and Marines — an exciting demonstration of our commitment to you. The USNCC provides enlisted personnel from every background an unprecedented opportunity to learn and professionally grow throughout the course of their career.

The USNCC will kick off a pilot program in January 2021 for approximately 500 Sailors, Marines and DON civilians in the information technology and engineering fields.

In partnership with public and private colleges and universities, USNCC intends to offer a select number associate of science and associate of art degrees in fields directly related to the warfighting needs of the Navy and Marine Corps, all at no cost to you — the service member. The opportunity to pursue and even complete an associate’s degree at the beginning of your career will also be transferable to any of our partnered education institutions to further degree programs or certifications.

The USNCC will kick off a pilot program in January 2021 for approximately 500 Sailors, Marines and DON civilians in the information technology and engineering fields. By the end of 2022, USNCC will have more than 5,000 students enrolled and by the end of 2025, every newly accessed Sailor and Marine will automatically be enrolled, which will guide you throughout your military career and beyond.

The tuition assistance program will remain so you can continue your path of learning and pursuing personal growth.

College and a lifelong dedication to learning is incredibly important. Continuous learning helps to develop critical thinking skills, which makes us better Sailors and Marines, better leaders, and ultimately better citizens. The path of military service is a difficult one, education should enhance your role in our national security as well as enable your future goals. The United States Naval Community College will no doubt advance our fleet performance, provide warfighting advantages and ensure that the development of enlisted Navy and Marine leaders remains a critical warfighting capability for our national defense.

191016-N-YG104-0004 WASHINGTON (Oct. 16, 2019) Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps (SMMC) Troy E. Black and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith pose for a photo. SMMC and MCPON met to discuss naval integration and partnership across the Navy-Marine Corps team. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Villegas) U.S. Navy