A rising threat of China’s naval presence and the U.S. Navy’s determination to meet the challenge with a bigger, modernized fleet is in turn resulting in intense pressure on Naval installations across the country to cut costs, including at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. According to sources within NPS who provided the Weekly with emails and verbal accounts of virtual meetings, the school could be facing more than $15 million in budget cuts for the 2022 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
It goes deeper, with NPS facing a potential reorganization to meet the Navy’s shifting priorities, according to emails from NPS President Ann E. Rondeau to employees sent March 25 and 31. Rondeau, a retired vice admiral, said the school is being looked at by the Navy under new lenses “of cost and value and outcomes toward capability” and the school could be facing a 15-percent reduction in direct funding. NPS officials issued a written statement saying they could not comment until a budget request is submitted to Congress later this year.
A source who attended virtual meetings tells the Weekly that NPS officials said they are considering merging the Graduate School of Defense Management with the Graduate School of Information and Operational Sciences, resulting in the elimination of potentially as many as 60 tenured and untenured professors within the defense management school.
In emails, Rondeau called the Navy’s overall shift “potentially tectonic as when [the] Navy began the transition from steam and diesel power to nuclear power. Frankly where we are in the strategic calculus of competition and conflict makes change toward new relevance an imperative,” she said. Elsewhere she wrote, “failure to adjust to such transformations may jeopardize those activities’ [like NPS’] very existence” and asked staff to see the situation as a chance to lead and become stronger.
U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel Valley, says he is not aware of specific cuts or layoffs being discussed at NPS but confirms the Navy’s focus on investing in a bigger fleet is causing budgets to shrink and “unfortunately may be to the detriment of a couple of programs at NPS.” Panetta serves on the House Committee on Armed Services and says he will work during the budget process to make sure the Pentagon is aware of the importance of NPS to the education of officers and senior enlisted personnel.