First female commander takes helm of Naval War College

Julia LeDoux
August 02, 2019 - 9:45 am


Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield has officially assumed command of the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

Chatfield became its 57th president and the first woman to lead the institution. 

A helicopter pilot, Chatfield flew the SH-3, CH-46D & MH-60S and deployed in helicopter detachments to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf supporting Carrier Strike Group and Amphibious Ready Group operations. She is also a former squadron commander who led a provincial reconstruction team in Farah Province, Afghanistan. Most recently, she was commander of Joint Region Marianas.

According to her biography, Chatfield's personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal and various unit awards.

Chatfield holds a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a doctorate in education from the University of San Diego.


A traditional change of command ceremony was not held for Chatfield because her predecessor, Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley, was removed from command after The Associated Press reported he was under investigation for allegedly spending excessively, abusing his hiring authority and otherwise behaving inappropriately. He also allegedly had a margarita machine in his office.

Navy picks first female as new War College leader after removing president

The Naval War College awards Master of Arts degrees to military officers and civilian national security employees in a one-year in-residence program focused on strategic studies and national defense. It also provides other professional military education on campus and through distance-learning programs, in addition to conducting research on defense topics.

Chatfield’s new command includes 375 military and civilian faculty and a staff of 312.

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