Navy is dumping millions into education benefits for sailors but there’s a catch

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (Dec. 10, 2019) Monique Rizo-Chavez, Troy University education consultant, shares information with a Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP) staff member. NMCP hosted an Education Fair provided by the Navy College Office on Dec. 10. This opportunity allowed NMCP staff members to talk one-on-one with representatives from 25 colleges nationwide. (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Imani N. Daniels/Released)

The US Navy has put a considerable amount of money towards higher education, ushering in a new era where such credentials will play a large part in the promotion process.

Over $300 million in new funding will be part of next year’s budget proposal, and a chief learning officer John Kroger, has been appointed.

Sailors are expected to take advantage of the new funding, as the Navy will now factor in education levels with the promotion system.

According to the Federal News Network, Kroger stated that the education system overhaul was brought about following feedback by Navy and Marine personnel.

“One of the very revealing conversations I’ve had was with the head of naval aviation. I think in the past a conversation about education and aviators would look something like this: ‘I need to send 10% of your pilots to a year of graduate school.’ And the head of aviation would say, ‘I can’t spare the pilots. It’s too expensive to produce them, I need them deployed, and if they spend a year away from the cockpit, their skills degrade.’ But when I met with the air boss, that’s not the conversation we had,” Kroger said on Friday. “Because I don’t need his folks to go to a year of in-residence, graduate education. I’ll take your F-35 pilots and send them to executive programs for three days a month at Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, the Naval Postgraduate School. They’ll get the education they need and we will maintain their operational tempo. That’s the revolution in education we’re seeing.”

The funding will push towards enhancing Sailors to better serve their country and have new opportunities when they get out.

“Trying to educate 40-or-50,000 students a year on a brick and mortar scale is cost prohibitive. But the revolution in online education makes that possible,” Kroger said. “Ten years ago, the quality wasn’t that great because we were figuring this stuff out, but it’s outstanding now. And reality is pushing us in this direction. If we do not take our intellectual capital more seriously, we will not be the world’s greatest Navy and Marine Corps. We have to be able to out-think our opponents if we’re going to out-fight them. I believe that profoundly.”

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