President Woodrow Wilson determined amidst the repeated incidents with Germany during the First World War to build "incomparably, the greatest Navy in the world" over a ten-year period with the intent of making the U.S. Navy able to defend itself against any European power. The resulting legislation, the Naval Act of 1916 called for the construction of ten 42,000 ton battleships, six battlecruisers, ten scout cruisers, fifty destroyers, and sixty-seven submarines. The plan was to start construction in 1919 and have the fleet completed by 1923.  The legislation was not to prepare the United States for entry into World War I, but rather to guarantee the security of the United States in what seemed increasingly dangerous times.

Join us as Major Alex Beckstrand, USMCR, presents his research related to Wilson’s thinking on U.S. naval supremacy and his insights into the creation of his Naval Act of 1916.  Beckstrand is a recipient of a scholarship from the Naval History and Heritage Command for the study of naval history.

This program is being presented in collaboration with the History and Archives Division, Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, DC.

Register through Eventbrite or email David Barker at

About the Speaker:  Alex Beckstrand is a Major in the Marine Corps Reserves, a PhD Candidate in history at the University of Connecticut, and works in the aerospace industry.  He is an adjunct professor at Central Connecticut State University and the University of Connecticut.  His doctoral work focuses on Woodrow Wilson's civil-military relations.  He is also a podcast host on the channel “New Books in Military History.”  His work has appeared in the Journal of Military History, Marine Corps History, H-Net, The Strategy Bridge, and The Washington Post.

Mask Guidelines: A mask is not required while inside the museum or while attending any programs. A mask is not required anywhere outside on the Washington Navy Yard grounds.

Parking Option: Harris Teeters underground parking garage (401 M Street SE). Parking is free for 90 minutes.  Once you park, you will need to go into the store and validate your ticket.  Keep your ticket since you will need it to exit the garage.  After validating your ticket, exit the store and walk to the 11th and O Street entrance of the Navy Yard.  Be at the entrance by 11am and wait on the sidewalk outside the entrance gate.  Have your driver’s license or other form of government issued I.D. with you.

A museum educator will be at the gate at 11:00am to escort you onto the base and to the museum. 

A second and final pick-up from the gate will made at 11:20am.

Note: Note: Due to security requirements at the Washington Navy Yard, you will need to be escorted onto the base then to the museum building. If taking Metro, exit the Navy Yard/Ballpark stop.  Exit the metro then walk to the base entrance at 11th and O Street SE (about 10 minutes). Plan to arrive at the entrance one hour before the start of the program. Be at the entrance by 11am and wait in the area adjacent to the Visitor Center.  A museum educator will be there to bring you onto the base.  If you need to contact the museum on the day of the program, call our front desk at 202.685.0589.

Major Alex Beckstrand, USMCR  Photo courtesy Naval History and Heritage Command

Major Alex Beckstrand, USMCR  Photo courtesy Naval History and Heritage Command