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Today@NPS - April 2013
Today@NPS showcases some of the speakers, conferences, experiments, lectures, and other events that take place at the Naval Postgraduate School on a daily basis.  If you would like more information about any of the highlighted activities please contact the public affairs office at To view more stories visit the Today at NPS archive. NPS' photo galleries and graduation pictures can be found on the Photo Gallery - Collections page.
U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Shawn J. Stewart 

NPS Students, Community Celebrate Naval Submarine Force Birthday
MC3 Shawn J. Stewart

Former commander, U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), retired Adm. Tom Fargo addresses Sailors and dignitaries in NPS’ McNitt Ballroom during the 113th Submarine Birthday Ball, April 20. In addition to serving as PACOM commander, Fargo commanded the nuclear attack submarine, USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716).

The ceremonial cutting of the birthday cake was a highlight of the ball. The cake was cut by the oldest Sailor in attendance, WWII veteran retired Ships Cook 2nd Class Harold Mulnix, youngest Sailor in attendance, Lt. Gregory Syme, and Fargo.

The submarine ball commemorates the anniversary of the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Force. The Navy purchased John Philip Holland’s revolutionary submarine on April 11, 1900 and renamed it the USS Holland (SS-1), America’s first commissioned submarine. Today, submariners patrol the depths of the oceans, while providing maritime security around the world.

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya 

NPS Department of Systems Engineering Ranked 21st in the Nation
Kenneth A. Stewart

NPS Department of Systems Engineering Chair Dr. Clifford Whitcomb is pictured in his office in Bullard Hall on campus. U.S. News and World Report recently released its annual rankings of the top systems engineering (SE) graduate schools in the country, and the Naval Postgraduate School’s own SE department ranked 21st on the list, standing along side prestigious programs from universities like Georgia Tech, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Virginia Tech and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Notably, NPS’ systems engineering program was ranked higher than several older and more established national programs, placing the university’s youthful SE curriculum amongst the strongest in the nation. While systems engineering is not new to the Navy, the current NPS program received its ABET accreditation just three years ago in 2010.

“Systems engineering started as a department in 2002, and we first began educating students in 2006. We went from no resident students in 2005 to over 100 students today … The growth has been phenomenal,” said Whitcomb. “Our current ranking just shows that we are meeting a need that the Department of Defense has. We have been able to adapt to that need with incredible growth while maintaining a quality, accredited program at the same time,” continued Whitcomb.

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya 

Vice Chief Ferguson Holds All-Hands Call at NPS
MC1 Grant Ammon

Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) Adm. Mark Ferguson addressed Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) students, faculty and staff during an all-hands call on the university campus, April 25. During the visit, Ferguson, a graduate of NPS’ computer science program, took part in the semi-annual meeting of the university’s Board of Advisors subcommittee, and shared his vision for the Navy with members of the NPS community.

“We see this next century as a maritime century,” said Ferguson. “A century that will demand our naval forces to be available as the nation’s emergency response force. We’re agile, deployable and able to operate forward without a permission slip. We have to be where it matters, when it matters and we’re positioning the force in order to do that.”

Detailing his own experiences while studying at NPS, Ferguson shared with students the relevance graduate education has had on his military career. “My experience here set me on a lifelong course with a love of learning,” continued Ferguson. “That and the exposure to innovation are the critical components of what this school generates.”

U.S. Navy photo by MCSN Danica M. Sirmans 

Senior NPS, NSAM Leaders Help Campus Celebrate Earth Day 2013
MCSN Danica M. Sirmans

Natural Resource Specialist, retired Lt. Cmdr. Vicki Taber, pictured above, plants a live oak tree with Naval Support Activity Monterey (NSAM) Environmental Program Director Johanna Turner looking on. A total of three new trees were planted in NPS’ cactus garden in honor of Earth Day, April 22.

“Today’s goal was to find a way to commemorate Earth Day with a zero-cost effect,” said Turner.

NSAM was recently awarded the Secretary of the Navy’s Cultural Resource and Environmental Stewardship awards. Natural resource specialists, like Taber and Turner, are charged with educating the NPS and NSAM communities about the importance of the environment, conservation and cultural stewardship.

This year's events mark the fifth consecutive Earth Day commemoration held on the NPS campus. Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22 by more than 192 nations around the world in order to encourage environmental protection and conservation.

U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Shawn J. Stewart 

DRMI Honors Its Latest IDMC Graduating Class
MC3 Shawn J. Stewart

International Defense Management Course (IDMC) class leader, Slovak Republic Brig. Gen. Lubomir Svoboda, right, presents a plaque to Defense Resources Management Institute Executive Director, Dr. Francois Melese during a graduation ceremony for the latest IDMC, April 19. The graduating class consisted of multi-national service members and dignitaries from 19 allied nations.

“We hold two 11-week courses each year exclusively featuring international students,” said Defense Resources Management Institute Executive Director Dr. Francois Melese. “These classes are comprised of civilian and military personnel from all over the world.”

Course participants evaluate the relationships among national security objectives, defense strategies, program alternatives, capabilities, and budgetary resource requirements.

U.S. Navy photo by MCSN Danica M. Sirmans 

CHOMP Blood Drive Returns to NPS Campus
MCSN Danica M. Sirmans

Blood drive volunteer Kathleen Swift restocks the high-sugar snack supplies on the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP) Blood Bus, parked in front of Glasgow Hall for one of several annual campus blood drives, April 18. The snacks are given to donors to raise their blood sugar levels after donating.

Melissa Taylor, a Monterey-native and registered nurse with CHOMP for 11 years, says the hospital hosts mobile blood drives three times per week to maintain the community blood supply needs.

“We are always looking for donors,” Taylor said. “We pride ourselves on collecting blood that is solely used for this community. We take all types of blood; we don’t turn any one type away. Anyone who is willing and eligible to give is welcome.”

Photo courtesy INFORMS 

Operations Research Department Wins Prestigious INFORMS Award
Amanda D. Stein

Members of the NPS Department of Operations Research, above, are presented with the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) 2013 George D. Smith Prize, April 8.

The distinguished award is presented to the OR department that demonstrates the “effective and innovative preparation of students to be good practitioners of operations research, management science or analytics.” NPS’ selection was announced at the INFORMS 2013 Franz Edelman Awards Gala in San Antonio, Texas.

The Smith Prize, now in its second year, is named in honor of the late Chief Executive Officer for UPS, a strong supporter of operations research. The award is intended to support the collaboration between industry and academia to further OR practices. For more information on this prestigious honor, read the full story on the

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya 

NPS Participates in Annual Cyber Defense Exercise
Kenneth A. Stewart

NPS Senior Lecturer, retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Eagle, above, stands before a screen upon which a simulated cyber-attack is unfolding. The attack, part of the annual National Security Agency hosted Cyber Defense Exercise, pits members of U.S. and Canadian service academies against each other in a battle to defend against a cyber threat.

“The object of the game is to keep the adversary out,” said Eagle. “The NSA attacks us using all of their network tools.” Exercise participants must establish a working network and then defend it from multiple cyber attacks. While defending their networks, students must also ensure that network confidentiality and integrity are maintained.

“This exercise is a great chance to apply some of the things that we have learned in the classroom to a real-world, time sensitive environment,” said Navy civilian Ryan Craven. As a graduate institution, NPS is not allowed to compete against the service academies in the exercise, but according to Eagle, it’s the experience not the competition that counts. “This is not a competition for us, it’s a learning opportunity,” he said.

U.S. Navy photo by Kenneth A. Stewart 

Systems Engineering Students Evaluate Unmanned Undersea Forces
Kenneth A. Stewart

Navy Lts. Stephen Szachta, left, and Jeramy Brux, right, participate in a student-led analysis of unmanned undersea vehicles at NPS’ Reed Hall. Szachta and Brux are part of a systems engineering analysis team that recently presented the preliminary results of a multifaceted evaluation of unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs).

“We were tasked to design a system of unmanned undersea vehicles that will provide an operational undersea force available for tasking over a range of missions by 2024,” said NPS student and project manager Lt. J.P. Kish.

Preliminary findings suggest that UUVs may be both cost and operationally effective in several key naval mission sets, especially in high-risk areas where traditional naval platforms may fall victim to anti-access area denial warfare. Team members found that UUV operations were particularly well suited to intelligence, anti-mine warfare, and both information and offensive operations.

U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Grant Ammon 

Students Test QR Code as a Tactical Communication Method
MC1 Grant P. Ammon

NPS students, Lt. Cmdr. Andy Lucas and Lt. Phil Richter, are pictured in front of a nearly 121-square meter Quick Response (QR) Code on the roof of NPS’ King Auditorium. They painted the code as part of their thesis project examining the use of QR codes as communication tools in tactical environments.

“What we’re going for is the ability to communicate between tactical units in an emissions controlled environment,” said Lucas. “Essentially, we could use this technology to ensure stealth communication that will not pinpoint our location to an adversary.”

QR codes are machine-readable matrix labels that contain encoded information; airborne assets will fly over the painted code to test the ability to glean encoded information from various altitudes. Lucas and Richter also hope to test the ability of orbiting satellites to read information from the auditorium rooftop. “This QR code essentially points to a link that is associated with the CRUSER lab,” said Lucas. “What we’re trying to test is whether or not airborne assets, whether they are aircraft or satellites, are able to get a successful image of the [QR Code] that we are able to decode. Hopefully we’ll get a QR message sent to space.”

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya 

NPS Hosts 3rd Annual Robots in the Roses Research Fair
MCSN Danica M. Sirmans

Retired Navy Capt. Jeff Kline, director of NPS’ Consortium for Robotics and Unmanned Systems Education and Research (CRUSER), welcomes attendees to NPS’ third annual Robots in the Roses Research Fair, Apr. 11. The annual event showcases research across campus associated with robotics and unmanned systems.

Researchers displayed robotics platforms large and small – everything from bird-like bots that seek out and ride upon thermals, to small-unmanned watercraft capable of sensing threats in harbors.

“It’s on one-hand very useful for the students to come out and see the variety of the things that are going on, but it’s also very good for the faculty to see what other faculty members are doing in order to find opportunities for collaboration,” said Kline.

CRUSER provides a collaborative environment and community of interest for the advancement of unmanned systems education and research endeavors across the Navy, Marine Corps and Department of Defense. Along with Robots in the Roses, the group coordinates several innovation workshops in addition to regular campus meetings and consistent communications to a broad community of interested stakeholders.

Photo courtesy Dr. Douglas Hensler 

University Announces the Appointment of New Provost
Kenneth A. Stewart

Dr. Douglas A. Hensler, dean of the Wichita State University business school, was named NPS’ 14th provost, April 11. Hensler is an accomplished academic and industry leader with deep ties to education, the global business community, and the Navy.

“Serving as Chief Academic Officer at NPS is a true honor and Janie and I are looking forward to our move and the challenges to come,” said Hensler. “NPS is a very unique graduate institution and the opportunity to serve in a role supporting our national security is one that we cherish.”

Hensler holds a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Washington, an MBA from the University of Portland and a BSE in Aerospace and Mechanical Sciences from Princeton University. He comes to NPS from Wichita State University where he has served for the past five years as dean of the W. Frank Barton School of Business.

U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Grant P. Ammon 

Marine Corps Holds Security Cooperation Planner’s Course for Enrichment Week
MC1 Grant P. Ammon

Marine Corps Maj. Ryan Crais, above, a security cooperation advisor with the Marine Corps Security Cooperation Group (MCSCG), addresses Foreign Area Officers (FAO) and Regional Area Officers (RAO) at a MCSCG-led course for future security cooperation planners during NPS Enrichment Week, March 25-28. Crais is an NPS graduate and a South Asia FAO.

“What we’re teaching them are the fundamentals of security cooperation, particularly the legal authorities and the funding sources available to conduct exercises, events and programs with foreign security forces,” said MCSCG representative, Marine Corps Lt. Col. Robert Hunter. “We teach them how to prioritize and assess foreign forces and how to plan engagements to build their capabilities in support of U.S. interests.”

MCSCG representatives offer the course at NPS due to the high number of FAO and RAO representatives in the Monterey area. The MCSCG executes security cooperation programs as well as training, planning, and other activities to support Marine Core security cooperation efforts.

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya 

Former NPS Aeronautics Professor Named AIAA Honorary Fellow
Amanda D. Stein

NPS Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Dr. Allen Fuhs, a former chair of both the aeronautics and mechanical engineering departments, will soon become the first NPS faculty member to be named an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), one of the highest honors bestowed in the aerospace profession.

On May 8, at the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala in Washington, D.C., Fuhs will be recognized as an AIAA Honorary Fellow, joining late astronaut Neil Armstrong; first Honorary Fellow, aviation pioneer  Orville Wright; and former Associate Administrator for the NASA Office of Manned Space Flight George Mueller, among others. Fuhs is the first member of the Naval Postgraduate School to receive this distinguished honor.

AIAA President, former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, noted the prestige of honorary fellowship is awarded based on contributions to the aerospace community.

U.S. Navy photo by MCSN Danica M. Sirmans 

All-Volunteer Del Monte Brass Continues NPS Tradition
MCSN Danica M. Sirmans

NPS Research Associate, retired Navy Capt. Carol O’Neal, leads the Del Monte Brass band as they perform during the Winter Quarter Graduation in King Auditorium, Mar. 29. The Del Monte Brass is an all-volunteer band comprised of NPS students, faculty, staff, retirees and community members.

Along with NPS graduations, the brass and percussion band performs at retirements, funerals, and other campus and community events.

“What I love most about the band is the opportunity to get to know people from the different cultures represented in the Monterey community,” said Juka. “It gives me the chance to talk to people that I may not have encountered otherwise. We come from different backgrounds and have different skill sets, but we all speak the same language – music.” 

With the motto, “Semper Music,” the band welcomes musicians and vocalists of all skill levels to participate in their program.

U.S. Navy photo by MCSN Danica M. Sirmans 

Distinguished Commander Retires after 33 years of Service
MCSN Danica M. Sirmans

NPS Chair of Applied Systems Analysis, Cmdr. Douglas Burton, far left, is honored in a retirement ceremony at the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Auditorium, Apr. 5. Burton, an NPS alumni, returned to NPS in 2006.

Capt. Charles Denman, III, a senior advisor to the U.S. State Department, served as the guest speaker at Burton’s retirement.  Denman was Burton’s roommate at the U.S. Naval Academy.

“Doug’s career has impressed me,” said Denman, “There are guys who are more comfortable back in Washington behind their desk.  They don’t want to be the ones picked to go to war. Doug is the type that raises his hand and volunteers to go, he went to where the fight was, and he never chose the easy job.”

Burton began his career as a helicopter pilot. He deployed in support of operations Desert Shield, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and earned numerous awards and decorations. He retires after 33 years of service.

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya 

Renowned Inventor Talks Alternative Energy with NPS Students
Kenneth A. Stewart

Tesla Motors co-founder Martin Eberhard speaks to NPS student Army Maj. Andrew Johannes in front of Eberhard’s 2008 Tesla Roadster. The renowned inventor and electric vehicle advocate was on campus, April 3, to deliver the latest presentation in the Defense Energy Program Lecture series, which provides a forum for students to learn about innovative ways to meet the Navy’s energy requirements.

“Martin Eberhard’s presentation was well presented and insightful,” said Army Maj. Andrew Johannes, a doctoral student at the university. “His focus on outcome, not a specific technology or chemistry, when coming up with solutions to energy-related problems, was my biggest take away.” Johannes said.

Eberhard began looking into electrical vehicles (EV) in the 80s due to environmental and geopolitical concerns tied to the proliferation of combustion engines and fossil fuel usage. “Wars in the Middle East and global warming became an undeniable problem … In 1980, there were 500 million cars in the world. There are 950 million cars on the road now, and there will be 2.4 billion by 2050. Can we really expect to power all of these cars with petroleum?” asked Eberhard. “I was not an EV advocate when I started Tesla, however, I did some math to determine what was the best choice and became convinced that electric was the solution.”

U.S. Navy photo by Kenneth A. Stewart 

Army Civil Affairs Leader Challenges NPS Students
Kenneth A. Stewart

Commanding General of the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), Army Reserve Maj. Gen. Jeffrey A. Jacobs, is en route to a meeting with students in the Stability, Security and Development in Complex Operations (SSDCO)  program, an innovative certificate tailored to meet the graduate education needs of civil affairs and psychological operations professionals.

Jacobs discussed the importance of advanced civil affairs education to military operations and its inherent value to combatant commanders.

“What you are doing here is critically important, this is about education over training,” said Jacobs. “You have to figure out how to get the knowledge that you are learning here, injected into your commander’s planning cycle … It is our job to get them to think about civil affairs.”

Jacobs called upon SSDCO students to apply the advanced concepts that they are studying and to become agents of change within their own organizations. “You are the agents of change for civil affairs in the Army,” said Jacobs.

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya 

Philanthropy, Campus Interests Top NPS Student Council Agenda
Amanda D. Stein

NPS President’s Student Council (PSC) members, above, gather on the Quarter Deck at Herrmann Hall. The PSC works to engage members of the campus community, ensuring that student questions and concerns are heard.  

“Many students may not really know what the council can do for them. If students have any issues that they want to bring up, anything they feel can be improved at NPS, we are here to address those issues and make things better,” said Yost. 

Among the initiatives most recently on the PSC’s agenda has been an effort to bring attention to a little-known website where students can buy and sell their used textbooks. Students can now access the book exchange website through the PSC page on the NPS intranet.

The PSC is also actively involved in making a difference beyond the gates of NPS. A growing number of students have been pitching in to help the Veterans Transition Center (VTC) through donations of clothes and household goods. 

U.S. Navy photo by MCSN Danica M. Sirmans 

EMBA Program Welcomes FBI cohort
MCSN Danica M. Sirmans

NPS Graduate School of Business and Public Policy, Assistant Professor Susan Hocevar leads a team management course with participants from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mar. 13. NPS recently welcomed a contingent of FBI employees into the Executive Master’s of Business Administration (EMBA) curriculum.

EMBA participants include service members from San Diego, Norfolk, Va., and FBI employees from Washington, D.C. The 24-month, hybrid EMBA program exposes students to real-life scenarios that require them to combine career experience with advanced management techniques.

“Comingling with people from Department of Defense has shone a light on problems that I don’t necessarily come across working for the Department of Justice,” said Rachele Salvo, a budget analyst.  “It’s interesting to learn about what they experience, to share ours experiences, and to compare how things match up.”

The EMBA program was recently featured on CNN Money. The program is available to both service members and civilians.

U.S. Navy photo by MCSN Danica M. Sirmans 

MOAA Gives Tips for Success in the Civilian Sector
MCSN Danica M. Sirmans

Retired Capt. Patricia Cole gives a presentation on behalf of the Military Officers Association of America during Enrichment Week, Mar. 27.  Cole shared tips and lesson-learned regarding the successful transition from military service to civilian life.

The “Marketing Yourself for a Second Career” presentation was designed to prepare transitioning service members for success in the civilian sector.

“I received an e-mail promoting the MOAA presentation and thought it’d be a great opportunity to learn about our service members’ options,” said Kelly.

During the presentation, Cole described the anxiety she felt after retiring from the Navy. She served as an active duty naval officer for 30 years.  “Military life was all I knew,” Cole said.  “I was extremely nervous about my transition from service member to civilian … that’s normal, but the antidote to fear and anxiety is information.”

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