National Defense AcademySchool of System Engineering
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

About the Department

Greetings from the Dean

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the National Defense Academy has a long history and tradition. It was established as the Civil Engineering Department when the National Safety Academy, the predecessor of the National Defense Academy (reformed into the National Defense Academy in 1954), was founded in 1952 as one of the indispensable fields for the education of the executives of Self-Defense Forces, who are responsible for National Defense Academy. Owing to the importance of global environmental issues in recent years, the National Defense Academy Education System was reformed in 2000, and the name of the department was changed.

Similar to the civil engineering departments of other national universities, the education provided by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering includes everything related to the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of social infrastructure facilities that are indispensable for a comfortable and convenient civic life, such as roads and railways, bridges and tunnels, ports and airports, rivers, power generation, water supply, and sewerage. In the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of National Defense Academy, considering the diversity of the functions of the Japan Self-Defense Force, where graduates play active roles, with the objective of maintaining the high standard of education and research, we have established three engineering pillars: structural, geotechnical, and water and environmental engineering. In addition, we have been actively conducting research by enhancing the experimental facilities related to impact forces, disaster prevention, and the soil/environment in particular.

In general, there is no direct link between the majors in the National Defense Academy and the post-appointment occupations of their graduates. However, we attempt to nurture in them a solid backbone for rational thinking ability, positive sensitivity to the big picture without being misled by insignificant differences, and kindness, as human beings that care for the natural environment and the people living there, which will be beneficial to the graduates in any field, for example, on land, the sea, or in the air. We are working tirelessly, with an old saying in the civil engineering world as our compass: “do not be a general to soldiers, but a general to generals.”

Educational Policy

Civil Engineering, the core of education in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, refers to the study on the technology for realizing a better living environment via the planning, construction, and maintenance of social infrastructure facilities on the ground, and by devising methods for environmental conservation. In other words, it is a comprehensive engineering field that creates the foundation for a rich and cultural social life. Its history is as old as the construction of pyramids, and it has evolved while being researched and developed from global and social perspectives, based on science and culture.

There are a wide variety of structures available to be managed: bridges (e.g., the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge), dams (e.g., the Kurobe Dam), tunnels (e.g., the Seikan Tunnel), highways (e.g., the Tomei/Meishin Expressway), railways (e.g., Tokaido/Tohoku Shinkansen), airports (e.g., Narita/Kansai Airport), ports (e.g., Yokohama Port), and marine structures used for oil field development, as well as lifeline facilities such as gas, electricity, water supply, and sewerage. Furthermore, these structures are individually made-to-order, and are public. Therefore, in addition to realizing their individual functions, it is necessary for the structures to be in harmony with the surrounding environment, in terms of economy and aesthetics. In particular, recently, the importance of actively conserving and improving the environment is being recognized. Hence, the department is given the name “Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering” to indicate that education is provided with an emphatic consideration of the environment.

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering provides a wide range of education in civil engineering that includes the theorical and practical approaches to the construction of roads, bridges, and harbors, city planning, disaster prevention engineering dealing with the protection of human life from natural disasters (tsunamis, earthquakes, and rock-falls), and environmental engineering dealing with environmental issues related to human social life. In other words, via a comprehensive engineering education related to structures, soil, water, and environmental issues, students will acquire the knowledge and skills required to secure a prosperous social life, while maintaining harmony with nature. Furthermore, we have prepared a curriculum that will enable the students to further understand the correlation between the knowledge acquired in the classroom and actual cases, via factory and field tours.

Furthermore, in their graduation research, which is the general summary of the learning program, students target themes that require the latest knowledge and technology, such as issues related to disaster prevention against earthquakes, tsunamis, and rock-falls, as well as environmental/design issues related to soil, rivers, and oceans. In addition, they address these problems together with their instructors.

After graduation, students of the department will be engaged in a wide range of occupations in the service Ground/Maritime/Air Self-Defense Forces. In particular, because they are expected to make technical contributions to domestic disaster relief operations and international peacekeeping operations (PKO) via civil engineering and construction, we provide education that emphasizes both the acquisition of knowledge and technology, as well as the development of human resources that scan contribute to social activities.