Newport, Rhode Island - Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley relieved Rear Adm. P. Gardner Howe III to become the 56th president of the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, during a change of command ceremony, July 25.

"For more than 130 years, the Naval War College has been the birthplace, the cradle and the home of naval strategy," said guest speaker Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson. "It's clear that this role has been enhanced in the last two years by Howe's leadership. The college is now an absolutely fertile environment for new ideas."

During the ceremony, Richardson noted Howe's accomplishments in implementing the educational components of Richardson's own program, "A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority," as well as the fleetwide Navy Leader Development Strategy.

"Despite keeping the joint professional military education solidly intact and advancing our wargaming to be more responsive, the thing I am most impressed with is the work by Howe and the team to advance the concepts of leader development," Richardson said. "We are at the dawn of the next period in the college's history, in which the Navy will be challenged. More than anyone else, Howe understood this complexity and took the initiative to lead this great institution into our future."

Howe departs NWC following his nomination for appointment to the rank of vice admiral and assignment as associate director for Military Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency in McLean, Virginia.

"Today's ceremony is bittersweet for me," said Howe. "Newport and the Naval War College have connected with me in ways that were totally unexpected. The importance of graduate-level education in the profession of arms has never been clearer to me in my career. This is a superb command, and I am proud to have been a member of it."

Howe took command of NWC as the 55th president and first Navy SEAL to hold the position. As president, Howe strove to instill all Sailors with the mindset of recognizing a military career as a profession requiring ethical leadership in addition to technical competence.

"I can think of no other officer in the United States Navy that is more excited or well prepared to take over the reins at the college than Rear Adm. Harley," Howe said. "He has a diverse operational and intellectual background, and experiences that are perfect for guiding an educational institution focused on a complex world."

In addition to being a NWC graduate, Harley received a Bachelor of Arts in political science at the University of Minnesota and a Masters of Arts from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He reports from his most recent assignment as assistant deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans and Strategy in Washington, D.C.

"I am truly humbled to become the 56th president of the United States Naval War College, and I am honored to join a great team in its critical mission," said Harley. "I am especially grateful to Gardner Howe for his tireless leadership and extraordinary accomplishments during his tenure as president. I am delighted to carry on the extraordinary work and contributions of this institution.