News | July 10, 2024

NPS Accepted into USSPACECOM Academic Engagement Enterprise

By Naval Postgraduate School Public Affairs

MONTEREY, Calif.—U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) has accepted the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) into its Academic Engagement Enterprise (AEE), a select partnership of 48 colleges and universities throughout the United States.

The AEE is an alliance of public and private academic institutions contributing to current and future USSPACECOM domain superiority by collaborating with academic institutions for workforce professional development, increased space-relevant research, expanded space-focused partnerships and strengthened space dialogue.

USSPACECOM announced the establishment of the AEE in September 2022.

Acceptance within the AEE marks yet another major milestone for NPS and its Space Systems Academic Group (SSAG). For more than four decades, the SSAG has coupled NPS space-related research with the graduate education of military officers. 

“Space Systems at NPS is pleased to join the AEE to ensure that we stay abreast of the rapid developments in the space arena as it becomes, once again, a geopolitical symbol of technological accomplishment and capabilities—and for the first time, a contested environment that has significant defense advantages for the countries that are able to operate there, from low earth orbit to geosynchronous orbit to cislunar orbit,” said Dr. Jim Newman, SSAG chair and a former NASA astronaut.

NPS, which was accepted into the AEE in October 2023, joins 47 other civilian and military academic partner institutions. In addition to NPS, AEE partners include the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), the Army War College, the Army Space and Missile Defense School and the Marine Corps War College.

Through its participation in the AEE, NPS faculty will receive defense-level space learning outcomes, competencies and behaviors that will enhance curricula, student programs and collaborative applied research. Additionally, NPS will benefit from discussions with USSPACECOM subject matter experts, participate in AEE symposiums and senior leader discussions, technology integration, student internships and exercise integration. AEE members will also gain from NPS, including student operational experience and faculty insights to help understand and support naval needs in space, and can leverage NPS’ long history and expertise in CubeSat miniature satellites for defense applications, with the next two NPS CubeSats due for launch in the spring and fall of 2024.

NPS has a long and distinguished history with our nation’s military and civilian space programs and its most senior leaders—including the current Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, who as a young Navy officer graduated with a master of science degree in Space Systems Engineering. Other Space Systems graduates have gone on to great success in leadership and service positions throughout the Department of Defense, from flag and general officers to the Deputy Secretary of Defense.

In March 2023, Del Toro hosted the inaugural Naval Space Summit at NPS, giving senior leaders from throughout the DOD a venue to examine the challenges, needs and opportunities of space operations unique to the maritime domain.

Additionally, as of 2023, 44 NPS graduates have gone on to become NASA astronauts—more than any other postgraduate institution in the U.S.

From Naval Postgraduate School Public Affairs.