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Shake Up at Naval Postgraduate School

Doug McKnight

A Navy investigation at the Naval Postgraduate School has led to a shake-up in the school’s top leadership.    

The investigation at the Naval Post Graduate School was launched over a year ago after accusations that both the President Daniel Oliver and provost Leonard Ferrari constantly disregarded federal and Navy rules and regulations. Oliver has resigned and Ferrari was removed from his position as provost and is on administrative leave.  In a hastily called news conference, Undersecretary of the Navy Robert Work sought to reassure that the investigation and shake up is not threatening the future of the school.  “There was nothing in the IG report or the senior leader investigations which cast any doubt on the quality of the education that’s being provided to our officers here, the quality of the research or anything like that,” said Work.  Former President Oliver is accused of improperly hiring a vice president of finance in order to get around salary limits on the position. And former Provost Ferrari is accused of improper use the school’s nonprofit foundation and money it raised. There is no allegation that Ferrari used the money for his personal gain.  “The inspector general is the conscious of the Navy.  It visits every single command and every single area throughout the Navy and its job is to tell us hey when are their problems, what do we have to do to fix it.  Sometimes those problems raise to the level where we have to remove the leadership,” said Work.

The most far reaching effect of the shakeup may involve the future direction of the school. The report emphasized the role of NPS is to provide instruction and research opportunities for officers of the Navy.  But in the past few years NPS has expanded its programs to include civilian and community partnerships including the City of Salinas and Cal State Monterey Bay.  It has also expanded a homeland security curriculum involving educated civilian first responders. Now the whole curriculum and purpose of the school is being reassessed.  “So I can’t speculate what will happen exactly in every case, but I can say this if the relationship materially benefits the school and students we will do everything we can to keep that intact,” said Work.  

Determining  which programs will continue and which will be ended is the job of the new interim president of NPS Rear Admiral Jan Tighe. At the news conference she stressed her confidence in the future of the school and strong ties to the community.  “This will be my third assignment on the Monterey Peninsula so it feels like home to me.  I was a student at the defense language institute and a masters and doctoral student here at NPS, so I have a deep connection to this peninsula and this region and this school in particular,” said Tighe.   In a region still recovering from the closure of the former Fort Ord, both Tighe and Work expressed their commitment to the community.  “I just want to ensure, I mean I love Monterey.  In fact my wife if we could retire someplace this is where she would like to retire. We’ve just enjoyed our place here and the way the community treats us and the school.  I cannot tell you how much the secretary and I appreciate it,” said Work.   Under Secretary Work expects the school will have a prioritized list of what needs to be work on within the next two months. 

Naval Inspector General Reports