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Today@NPS - November 2015

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 MC1 Lewis Hunsaker
Swedish Chief of Staff Talks Maritime Security During Campus Visit
By MC3 Brian H. Abel

Swedish Royal Navy Chief of Staff Rear Adm. Jan Thörnqvist speaks to attendees of the Technologies for Information Operations (TIO) short course, Nov. 17. Thörnqvist detailed current challenges to security in the Baltic Sea, and the benefits of multinational training and cooperation.

"We're working with not only the U.S., but many other countries," said Thörnqvist. "We can create a better understanding from each other, and a greater interoperability among forces, by working on education and training exercises together, which is what I'm looking forward to."

Thörnqvist, once a student at the Naval War College, understands the challenge of higher education and the benefits of sending his service members to the Naval Postgraduate School.

"I'm interested in the courses given at NPS and how my Swedish forces can benefit from attending NPS," said Thörnqvist. "When I first visited NPS in 2004, I was a student at the Naval War College. I looked at the U.S. studies and I must say I was envious.

"The studies, in my opinion, were a little bit more tricky here, more intense, and a little bit higher tempo. What you're doing here is beneficial to all nations," he added.

November 23, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya
DKL Volunteer Archives "The Classmate"
By Javier Chagoya

NPS Dudley Knox Library (DKL) Volunteer Styliani Roussou sits in front of a selection of 40-years of "The Classmate" in DKL's Special Collections and Archives room. Produced by the NPS Officer's Spouses Club, the publication helped chronicle life and culture on the NPS campus for decades, and is now digitally archived forever thanks to Roussou's efforts.

"The Classmate was published for 40 years," said Roussou, who is the spouse of an NPS student in the Royal Hellenic Navy. "In it, you can read about some of the great cultural activities that went on here. It's also clear to see, by all accounts in this document, that military spouses lent invaluable support to their husbands' or wives' academic successes. This segment of NPS life, along with personal stories found in the magazine, will be digitized and become part of the NPS collection," said Roussou.

Recruited by recently retired Special Collections Manager John Sanders, Roussou came with no special credentials or archivist background, but was armed with an eager enthusiasm to learn and help.

"I'm from Greece and our history goes back to classical antiquity," said Roussou. "I've always loved history and that's why I like working in this particular department at the library." To check out "The Classmate" archive, visit DKL's Calhoun.

November 20, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Michael Ehrlich
NPS Professor Appointed to Regional Maritime Security Committee
By MC2 Michael Ehrlich

NPS Department of Information Sciences Professor Alex Bordetsky, pictured inside his Root Hall laboratory, Nov. 16, has been appointed to the Northern California Area Maritime Security Committee, where he hopes to build bridges between NPS' research capabilities and maritime first responders.

"I am honored to be the representative of our students and faculty to this committee, but it is not about myself," said Bordetsky. "This will allow the community of first responders, protectors and defenders of the San Francisco Bay area, to be more familiar with NPS' capability and how much we can offer in every possible way."

Bordetsky says NPS is uniquely equipped to support maritime research in a multitude of subjects through faculty and student research, from smuggling to interdiction to counter-terrorism.

"Since 2007, I have been leading the maritime interdiction operations (MIO) field experimentation program," said Bordetsky. "My colleague, Professor Ray Buettner, runs JIFX [Joint Interagency Field Experimentation], which is a central element in field experimentation. And the MIO is doing more and more joint work with littoral operations studies, and in counter-WMD [weapons of mass destruction] experimentation, which all together brings us very close to the Common Operational Research Environment Lab, and [the Department of] Defense Analysis."

Bordetsky hopes his participation on the committee can serve as a catalyst to advance further participation from these colleagues.

"This board conducts very unique exercises, table top experiments and events, and I will be naturally engaging and informing the NPS community to take part in those events … That will be mutually re-enforcing."

November 19, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya
Staff Sailor Recognized by Santa Cruz Fire Department
By Javier Chagoya

Cryptologic Technician Technical Second Class Gregory Medders, fourth from left, stands with fellow Sailors recognized for their recent achievements during an awards ceremony held on the steps of Herrmann Hall, Nov. 5.

Medders was recognized with a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Award and Medal for his professional and immediate response in moving civilians to safety after a fire erupted from an overheating dryer at a Laundromat in his Santa Cruz neighborhood. He then quickly found a fire extinguisher and smothered the flames before local authorities arrived on the scene.

"My firefighting training kicked in as I moved people who were using the Laundromat to calmly exit the building, then I got to putting out the fire – it was that quick," said Medders.

City of Santa Cruz Fire Capt. Steve Parmley, who represented a thankful community, said that Medders' outstanding performance and courageous act to stop and help others was exemplary and worthy of recognition.

"He went above and beyond what many others might have done, and it really shows the caliber of what our military members are made of," said Parmley.  

Pictured with Medders, from left to right, are fellow NPS staff Sailors who were also recognized for their own recent achievements. Each earning their second Navy Good Conduct Award are Information Systems Technician Second Class Moua Xiong, Culinary Specialist Second Class Michael Ponce and Information Systems Technician Third Class Ward Winekauf. Aviation Electronics Technician Second Class (AW) Joshua Anderson earned NPS' Junior Sailor of the Quarter, and Seaman Erica Schulte earned NPS' Blue Jacket of the Quarter, for the Fourth Quarter of 2015.

November 18, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Shawn J. Stewart
Google Executive Talks Analytics During Guest Lecture
By MC2 Shawn J. Stewart

Joe DeMike, Head of Google's Customer Experience Lab, shares insight on effective data visualization during a presentation to NPS students in Glasgow Hall, Nov. 5. In his position at the technology giant, DeMike serves as a key figure in Google's efforts to improve advertising and marketing products through data.

"It's been nine years since I got out of the Army and coming back to an active military environment was a bit intimidating," DeMike said of his brief time at NPS. "But everyone was very friendly and they were interested in what I had to say."

DeMike's presentation served as a crash course into the psychology behind the presentation of information. Visual content elements like charts, colors, word choice, page layout, and even font usage, seem simple, but can be quite strategic when utilized effectively.

"I know students will be creating data that will be useful to decision makers, but they have to take that information and turn it into really strategic, pointed insights," said DeMike. "These insights have to be focused in a way that helps the decision makers. But be careful not to put in too much data, as it can overcomplicate."

Lt. Cmdr. Marina Witwer, an operations analysis student in attendance, had high praises for the presentation.

"It was very exciting to see the psychology behind data visualization," said Witwer. "Joe was very engaging with us, and really helped to shed light on the thought processes behind getting data in front of people.

"The biggest takeaway for me was the 'less is more' approach. It shows that simple doesn't mean bland, and can be more effective than dumping a sensory overload of data on decision makers," she continued.

Prior to joining Google in 2010, DeMike founded and led a successful content marketing agency. He also served as a U.S. Army officer for eight years, leading an Armored Cavalry Division in Baghdad, Iraq.

November 17, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Lewis Hunsaker
NPS Staff Honored With Length of Federal Service Awards
By MC1 Lewis Hunsaker

NPS President retired Vice Adm. Ronald A. Route addresses several recipients of the Length of Service Award during the latest President's Council meeting in Herrmann Hall, Nov. 10. Recognized during the meeting for their long careers in federal service were Mary G. Cabanilla (35 years), Regina V. Panis (35 years), Alan E. Pires (35 years), Tamar Neta (30 years), Josephine M. Pasadilla (25 years) and Sean P. Harrigan (25 years).

"You have all made an important contribution to this school," said Route. "Thank you for your dedication and everything that you have done."

The Length of Federal Service program recognizes employees of the federal government at five-year increments, starting at 10 years of service. At each increment, recipients are awarded a certificate and lapel pin in recognition of their service.

"I'm very grateful to be recognized with this award and to be part of NPS," said Pasadilla. "I would like to thank the school [NPS], and my past and present department chairs for taking me in, supporting me, and trusting me to work for them over my 21 years here at NPS."

November 16, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Shawn J. Stewart
TIO Short Course Integrates CRUSER’s Innovation Continuum
By MC2 Shawn J. Stewart

NPS Professor of Practice retired Navy Capt. Jeffrey E. Kline introduces students to the Maritime War 2030 scenario during a session of the Technologies for Information Operations (TIO) short course held in Ingersoll Hall, Nov. 3. Held nearly every year since 1996 by the Center for Joint Services Electronic Warfare, the TIO course details current research and development in information operations technologies, and the fundamentals of information operations.

This year, NPS’ Consortium for Robotics and Unmanned Systems Education and Research (CRUSER) partnered with TIO organizers to integrate the concept of their current Warfare Innovation Continuum into the program.

“The TIO course is handling a particularly difficult element of this scenario, one in which the adversaries use hybrid war elements, state and non-state resources, cyber and social media to create confusion and uncertainty,” said Kline. “The students’ task is to apply the information technologies they learn in their three weeks here in a final two-day workshop that might help in this scenario.”

Attendees for this year's three-week TIO course include a core group of 19 students from the Swedish Defense University (SEDU) as well as a Pakistani officer, and four officers from the Indonesian Navy.

"The TIO course is a real opportunity to engage allies and create informal professional alliances that may aid future cooperative operations," Kline added.

November 13, 2015

Photo courtesy the National Cyber Security
Hall of Fame
Distinguished Professor Cynthia Irvine Inducted Into Cyber Security Hall of Fame
By MC1 Lewis Hunsaker

NPS Distinguished Professor Cynthia Irvine, center, holds the plaque presented to her in honor of her induction into the National Cyber Security Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland, Oct. 29. Irvine joins Distinguished Professor Dorothy Denning and former Associate Professor Roger Schell as the third NPS faculty member to be honored with the prestigious designation.

"It's a great honor to be inducted into the Hall of Fame," said Irvine. "I'm thrilled to have been chosen. This award is based on many opportunities that were given to me over the course of many years."

Irvine briefly worked for NPS in the 1970s, and later returned in 1994. Her research is focused on developmental security applied to the creation of trustworthy systems, and more recently, on cyber operations.

"There are plenty of opportunities in this area for young people to make a big difference," said Irvine. "NPS is one of the first schools to have the Scholarship for Service program that is funded by the National Science Foundation."

The National Cyber Security Hall of Fame is comprised of individuals who collectively invented technologies, created awareness, promoted and delivered education, and influenced policy addressing cyber security issues. NPS master and doctoral graduate Ron Ross was also a member of the 2015 class of inductees.

November 12, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Michael Ehrlich
Assistant Commandant Joins NPS Marines in Celebrating 240 Years
By MC2 Michael Ehrlich

Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. John M. Paxton offers his thoughts on the "Eternal Spirit of the Corps" during the Marine Corps Birthday Ball in Herrmann Hall's McNitt Ballroom, Nov. 7.

"This week in 1915, [Maj. Gen.] Smedley Butler had been recognized with his second Medal of Honor… and [Sgt. Maj.] Dan Daly had been notified that he was going on a seven day patrol, and that would result in his second Medal of Honor," said Paxton. "They were the only two Marines in uniform to earn two Medals of Honor, and they represent the legacy of our Corps that animates our eternal spirit."

The Second Continental Congress officially established two battalions of Marines on Nov. 10, 1775, recognized as the official birth of today's Marine Corps. Paxton described modern day Marines as "small, special, tight knit and forged in combat," and he urged all of those in attendance to honor the lasting legacy of the Corps.

"We are proud and privileged to have wingmen, shipmates, battle buddies, and allies and partners with us here tonight," said Paxton. "We all have a place in history, ours is to keep the eternal history alive and keep the legacy of our Corps alive."

November 10, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Shawn Stewart
Local WWII Veteran Shares His Navy Story
By MC2 Michael Ehrlich

Sonarman Petty Officer First Class Noel Van Bibber emotionally recounts his most memorable moments of combat while serving on the USS Chincoteague (AVP 24) from 1943 through 1946, from his home at the Carmel Hills Care Center, Nov. 6. During its World War II service, the Chincoteague received six battle stars, the purple heart, the combat action ribbon and many more medals and awards.

"They thought they had us. We were out of power, filling with water, full of bullet holes, and the ship was tipped about 30 degrees," described Van Bibber, who shared his story with NPS thanks to efforts of staff at the Central Coast Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice. "We didn't know what to do, we were bailing water out mostly, and pretty soon we started closing hatches down below… we got through the day."

The Chincoteague had suffered a direct hit, a bomb had dropped down the smoke stack, through the mess hall and exploded in the engine room killing 13 Sailors. Van Bibber describes how this event did not break the spirit of the crew.

"That night, we were dead in the water, but we sat there on the deck with a guitar and sang songs until midnight… one group sang songs while the other group was bailing water, then they switched. They were the good times," said Van Bibber. "In my four and a half years in the Navy, the only time I really cried was that night."

With the annual Veteran's Day holiday around the corner, Van Bibber offered his own thoughts on how he celebrates and commemorates those who have served.

"I think that the average man that fought for the U.S. Navy was without a doubt the bravest person I ever knew," said Van Bibber. "They stepped into the line of fire, and did everything they needed to do to fight for their country."

November 9, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Michael Ehrlich
NPS Associate Chair Honored with ACM SIGCOMM Test of Time Award
By MC2 Michael Ehrlich

NPS Department of Computer Science Professor and Associate Chair Dr. Geoffrey Xie has been awarded the Test of Time Award by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Data Communication (SIGCOMM) for his contributions to the paper, "A Clean Slate 4D Approach to Network Control and Management," written more than 10 years ago. The ACM SIGCOMM Test of Time Award recognizes papers published 10 to 12 years ago whose content is still a vibrant and useful contribution today.

"I co-wrote the paper in 2004 with eight other researchers from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and AT&T Research Labs while spending a one-year sabbatical at CMU," said Xie. "This paper led to a resurgence of interest in the topic of separated data and control planes to better manage networks that developed into software defined networking."

Computers and networking have grown in staggering ways over the past 10 years in their versatility, complexity and application. Through it all, Xie explains how his co-authored work still remains relevant today.

"The paper is a summary of our insights, and more importantly, it presents a new network architecture laying the foundation for software defined networking, which has had a lasting impact on the design and control of enterprise networks, as well as emerging cloud technology."

November 6, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya
Commandant Visit Sheds Light on Specialty Program
By Javier Chagoya

U.S. Army Cyber School Commandant Col. Jennifer Buckner, front right, and Chief of Military Personnel (Structure and Plans), U.S. Army Col. Andrew Hall, front left, are pictured in front of Herrmann Hall with future Army cyber professionals, Oct. 30. The Soldiers are among the first cohort of officers to come to NPS from the newly established Army Cyber School.

"I have to tell you that the success of this program is very high-visibility. We are not looking at this approach as an experiment in training, but more like a petri dish in the education of our Soldiers. What we want to grow is a Soldier with critical thinking skills, who will eventually lead our expanding force of Army cyber warriors," said Buckner.

In addition to the Army Cyber School, the Army recently approved the creation of its own cyber branch, establishing a career field specialty that will focus on the development and management of cyber professionals. A handful of those future cyber professionals are pictured above behind Buckner and Hall. Above from left to right are Army 2nd Lts. Bijesh Shrestha, Braxton Musgrove, Warren Barksdale and Thomas Knuth beside 1st Lts. Brian Weaver, Austin Harris and Marcelo Presa.

November 5, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya
NWC Monterey Graduates Honored for Academic Achievement
By Javier Chagoya

Naval War College (NWC) Monterey students earning academic honors during the fourth quarter of Academic Year 2015 are pictured following a brief ceremony in their honor near the NWC Monterey Program Office in Halligan Hall, Oct. 27.

U.S. Army Capt. Matthew Wood, far left, earned "With Highest Distinction" honors and is one of four students who completed the Naval War College's fourth quarter Joint Professional Military Education program in the top five percent of his class.

"I didn't feel I did any better than the others in my class, I just focused on the readings and advice of my professors," said Wood.

Of the many things Wood learned as a student at NWC Monterey, he found opportunities to study joint operations particularly valuable.

"It's a chance to see how the other services work, and how we can cooperate to achieve better effects throughout our respective areas of operation. Being provided with such an opportunity here at NPS ensures us that the first time we encounter other services will not be in an emergency or combat situation," said Wood.

Wood shares "With Highest Distinction" honors with Lts. Forrest Crowell, Jason Marks and Lt. Cmdr. John Sprague, not pictured.

Graduates earning "With Distinction" honors by completing the program in the top 15 percent of their class, pictured with Wood above from left to right, are Army Capt. Simon Sanchez, Lt. James Carbaugh and Majs. Ryan Gladding and Sean Coffman. With Distinction graduates not pictured are Lts. Kyle Bachman, Aurel Dehollan, Jonathan Greenberg, Megan McCulloch, Judson Thomas, Army Maj. Sean McQuade and Marine Corps Capt. Daniel Katzman.

November 4, 2015

Photo courtesy retired Chief Aviation
Structural Mechanic Robert Taranto
NPS Student Tops List of Female Runners at Marine Corps Marathon
By MC2 Shawn Stewart

NPS Graduate School of Business and Public Policy student U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Christine Taranto, left, is pictured with the 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller at the finish line of the Marine Corps Marathon, Oct. 25. Taranto finished 2nd overall among all women runners and 1st overall within the U.S. Armed Forces Marathon Championships, which ran parallel to the event.

"I passed first place close to mile 19 and I just kept going strong," she said. "I think most Marines are type-A personalities, so we love a good competition."

While Taranto is ecstatic about her individual performance, she is just as enthusiastic for her coach Joe Puleo and three of her All-Marine Running Team teammates that ran with her, Staff Sgt. Sarah Pacheco, Capt. Danielle Pozun and Capt. Angelica Valdez, who collaboratively made history as the first female Marine Corps team to earn first place.

"For me, the best moments of the day were shaking the Commandant's hand and standing on the podium with my teammates," said Taranto. "The fact that the Marine Corps women's team took first place for the first time in history says a lot ... because we are all required to do our regular jobs and are making sacrifices to train."

Dubbed, "The People's Marathon," the Marine Corps Marathon is a 26.2 mile race featuring more than 20,000 international runners on a single course through rural Arlington, Virginia. Taranto says she will be taking a short break, then will continue to train and improve herself on the course, in the classroom, and in uniform.

November 3, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Lewis Hunsaker
NPS Initiative Aims to Empower Those with Disabilities
By MC1 Lewis Hunsaker

Graduate Writing Center and Thesis Processing Office Director Dr. Sandra Leavitt, above center, addresses NPS faculty and staff during a disability awareness meeting in Herrmann Hall, Oct. 29. October marked 70 years since the first observance of Disability Awareness month and was the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"What is a disability?" asked Deputy Equal Employment Opportunity Manager Deborah Baity. "Disabilities can be physical, like those we are used to seeing, but what about hidden disabilities which are harder to discern?"

After seeing students struggle in various areas, NPS faculty, the Graduate Writing Center, NPS' Equal Opportunity Office and NPS' Dean of Students Office began an initiative to help students with disabilities.

"Disabilities affect students' ability to learn," said Leavitt. "Students often don't like to talk about these things; however, once they gain a rapport with someone they trust, they may talk about sleep disorders, trouble concentrating and other things."

According to Baity, offering a reasonable accommodation for a disability can be as simple as ordering ergonomically designed furniture or bringing in members of the Safety Office to evaluate a workspace. The current initiative is expected to be released within the next few months.

November 2, 2015


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