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Today@NPS - August 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 MC2 Shawn J. Stewart
NPS JAG is a Leader in Uniform, and on Skates
By MC2 Shawn J. Stewart

NPS Staff Judge Advocate (JAG) Cmdr. Tracy Clark motivates her teammates during a timeout at Marina's Water City Sports Center during a game of roller derby, July 11. Clark's leadership helped lead her team to a blowout win over their opponents, the Unforgiven Roller Girls.

"Being a JAG has really taught me the importance of leadership," said Clark. "There is no one perfect style of leadership, but it's important that the style you practice is genuine. If those that you are leading do not trust you, they will not follow you."

Clark serves as a blocker on The Beast of Eden roller derby team, where she is responsible for protecting the 'jammer' as she works her way through the pack to score. Clark relishes the teamwork that makes a succesful team.

"Although we learn skills individually, we are much stronger on the track when we are with our partners, and even stronger than that when we skate as a team," she said.

Clark's next home bout will take place in Marina's Water City Sports Arena at 7:00 p.m., Sept. 12. The event is open to the public, but Clark says to arrive a bit early to get the 'good seats.'

Posted August 26, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Michael Ehrlich
CNO Strategic Studies Group Director Fellows Announced
By MC2 Michael Ehrlich

Director of the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group (CNO SSG) retired Vice Adm. James P. Wisecup, center, is pictured, Aug. 24, with the recently-selected NPS students who will become CNO SSG Director Fellows. The SSG provides an opportunity for Navy officers to work directly for the CNO on some of the biggest issues facing the Navy.

Wisecup interviewed candidates with NPS President retired Vice Adm. Ronald A. Route and Dean of Students Capt. Matthew Vandersluis. Wisecup, a former Fellow himself, described the "spark" that he was looking for in SSG candidates.

"For me as the Director of the SSG, I want people who aren't afraid to stick their nose into a problem, say this is a problem, and this is how we can solve it," explained Wisecup. "In the end it would be hard for me to lay out a laundry list of qualities, which is part of the reason that I travel out here to meet these people myself. I can meet with them, President Route and the faculty who help us make these decisions."

One of the selectees for this year's SSG is Lt. Andres Otero, studying in NPS' Department of Systems Engineering. He described the impact he is hoping to have on the Navy and how being a Director Fellow will have an impact on his career.

"I think it's a great opportunity to be able to apply real time engineering in a process where the military generally lags," said Otero. "This experience will replace every elevator conversation for the rest of my career. No one is going to ask me about what I did on the Enterprise as a nuke, they are going to ask me about CNO SSG."

This year's SSG 35 Director Fellows (and alternates) from NPS are U.S. Navy officers Lt. Luis Aybar, Lt. Owen Brooks, Lt. James Carbaugh, Lt. Cmdr. Drew Hall, Lt. j.g. Allison Hogarth, Lt. Kyle Kendall, Lt. Karl Kjono, Lt. Andres Otero, and Lt. Cmdr. Nate Robbins.

Posted August 25, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Shawn J. Stewart
Student Contributes His Own Perspective to Panel Discussion on ISIS
By MC2 Shawn J. Stewart

Defense analysis student U.S. Army Capt. John Baker, left, leads with a brief history of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) during a panel discussion titled, "The Islamic State: Remaining and Expanding?" held in Ingersoll Hall, Aug. 20. Baker was joined by several experts for the Naval War College Monterey workshop on the future of ISIS, and potential strategies for countering the extremist group.

"When we think about what ISIS is today, we think about it developing solely out of the organization that was started by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi," noted Brian Fishman, Counterterrorism Research Fellow at the New America Foundation. "The earliest networks al-Zarqawi built in Iraq were regional, and then they extended into Jordan, Syria and Lebanon … Those networks never went away."

Baker agreed with Fishman, expressing among other strategies, the need to break Islamic extremist ideology in the Middle East.

"The terrorist acts of the 90s and 2000s were a product of Iraqi jihadists being raised under extremist ideology," he said. "If we continue to allow this generation of young Iraqis and Syrians to grow up under that ideology, what fruit that terrorism will bare!"

The panel discussion was presented by the Global Education Community Collaboration Online, or Global ECCO, counterterrorism program, the NPS Department of Defense Analysis, and the Naval War College Monterey. Joining Baker and Fishman on the panel were Dr. Douglas Ollivant, Managing Partner at Mantid International, Dr. Casey Lucius, formally of the Naval War College Monterey and Dr. Haroro Ingram, Research Fellow at Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at Australian National University.

Posted August 24, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya
SSAG Gets Lift in Small Satellite Mission of the Year Competition
By Javier Chagoya

Space Systems Academic Group Research Assistant Wenschel Lan, above, is pictured in NPS' Small Satellite Test Laboratory, Aug. 21. SSAG participated in the Lightsail Spacecraft Test Mission, which was named Mission of the Year by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

"We redesigned the [satellite's] splitter auxiliary device for this mission," said Lan. "NPS plays an integral part in pushing the limits of existing [small satellite] technology and the knowledge base in the aerospace industry."

The Planetary Society's citizen-funded LightSail Spacecraft Test Mission was one of 11 small satellite projects nominated for recognition during the 29th Annual AIAA SmallSat Conference in Logan, Utah, Aug. 13. NPS collaborated with California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and both government and industry representatives on the project.

SSAG has had a hand in putting 33 small satellites into space. This was its first launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Posted August 21, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya
Innovation Cell Explores Big Data, Cyber Capabilities
By Javier Chagoya

NPS Chief Information Officer (CIO) Joe LoPiccolo speaks with Director, Information Technology Management, Naval Reactors Jon Kling in NPS' Executive Briefing Center, Aug. 17. Kling traveled to NPS with members of the Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) Innovation Cell to examine NPS cyber and big data capabilities during a trip to the West Coast to visit the Silicon Valley.  

The PEO EIS Innovation Cell serves as the Navy's enterprise-wide technical leader for bridging the gap between industry innovation and Navy enterprise information technology. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for C4I, Information Operations and Space, Dr. John Zangardi, an NPS financial management alumnus, led the group's discussions with university leadership and faculty.

"We're here because the innovation cell knows that enabling NPS students, NPS professors, and research faculty is a top priority and will pay dividends to the warfighter," said Zangardi.

The PEO EIS Innovation Cell was established in 2006. It oversees a portfolio of enterprise-wide information technology programs designed to enable common business processes and provide standard information technology capabilities to Sailors at sea, Marines in the field, and their support systems.

Posted August 20, 2015

Courtesy photo
Army Cadet Studies Atmospheric Turbulence During NPS Internship
By MC3 Brian H. Abel

U.S. Army Cadet Dan Mauldin verifies operation of the scintillometer he used to measure atmospheric optical turbulence on remote San Nicolas Island off the southern California coast during his recently-completed, three-week summer internship at NPS. Mauldin's measurements are contributing to research at the university that may one day impact Navy shipboard laser systems.

Mauldin's internship was performed under the guidance of NPS Department of Systems Engineering Associate Professors Robert Harney and Doug Nelson.

"Atmospheric optical turbulence has an important impact on imaging and laser propagation systems. A high energy laser weapon system will see its effects in search, detection, acquisition and pointing, impacting multiple sensors and laser systems," said Nelson. "The measurements on San Nicolas Island provide a long term reservoir of data that can be analyzed for diurnal and longer term trends that will assist the warfighter in preparing to use sensors and laser systems. "

Fellow Systems Engineering Senior Lecturer Mark Stevens noted that in order for a laser to be effective, its beam must be tight and focused upon its target, hence the need to understand environmental processes that could lead to laser diffraction, rendering shipboard lasers far less effective. The location on San Nicolas Island, coined Lazer Bay, provided the perfect set of maritime characteristics for the measurements.

Posted August 19, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Brian H. Abel
Border Patrol Chief Lectures at CHDS' Executive Leaders Program
By MC3 Brian H. Abel

U.S. Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher speaks to NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) students during CHDS' Executive Leaders Program (ELP), Aug. 12. Fisher was invited to speak to ELP attendees on the major challenges facing the U.S. law enforcement and border patrol communities.

"I was invited to talk to one of the classes that is graduating. They were interested in hearing from someone within the organization about border security and law enforcement challenges," said Fisher. "They are an eclectic group, and I am really dying to have a dialogue with them."

Fisher fielded student questions, helping them navigate the often-competing interests with which border patrol professionals have to contend. He also offered students a window into how law enforcement strategies are formulated and missions are conducted along the border.

"We're thinking about how we can do the national and border security mission better and smarter," said Fisher. "Often times, border security is clouded in the policies and politics of immigration broadly."

Students attending the program come from a variety of complementary public safety and law enforcement agencies whose missions at times overlap, even with those of NPS' traditional student population.

"The Navy has a security mission in terms of making sure our maritime boarders are safe, and the border patrol has a maritime component to it as well," said CHDS Professor Nadav Morag. "I think there's some overlap in terms of the Navy's mission with what the border patrol does."

Posted August 17, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Michael Ehrlich
TRWG Continues Connecting Students to Warfighter Challenges
By MC2 Michael Ehrlich

Lt. Robert Fauci, left, explains the modifications he's made to a circuit board to Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Office Director Marine Corps Col. Jim Caley, right, and NPS Associate Professor ret. U.S. Army Col. Andy Hernandez, center, during a Thesis Research Working Group (TRWG) meeting in the Dudley Knox Library, Aug. 11. Fauci's work in sustainable unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flight is one example of several ongoing efforts at the university started through connections made at the TRWG.

"TRWGs link students and faculty with relevant Marine Corps research topics," said Hernandez. "Sponsors leverage the operational experience of students and their newly-acquired technical skills and apply them to important problems."

Sponsors are able to focus student theses towards enhancing warfighting capabilities and the TRWG structure provides opportunities for students to receive sponsor feedback and support with continued operational relevance to ongoing Navy missions.

In Fauci's case, that means modifying lightweight components that may contribute to the development of sustainable, solar-powered UAVs capable of filling current operational gaps throughout the fleet. Hernandez hopes that student work like Fauci's, and the faculty support that makes it possible, will enhance the educational experience at NPS and provide tangible benefits to the Navy.

"The venue recruits faculty with high interest in these areas. It creates a robust talent pool of researchers and faculty at NPS, which translates into more practicable and practical discussions in the classroom," said Hernandez. "The overall effect is a naval community of officers and civilians who are better equipped to address national security challenges."

Posted August 14, 2015

Courtesy photo
NPS Says Farewell to Longtime Supporter, Alumnus
By Kenneth Stewart

NPS alumnus, former Director of Programs, and government travel specialist retired Navy Capt. James "Jim" Egerton, center, is pictured last year with some of his fellow travel office team members during an office gathering. Jim passed away suddenly, Aug. 4, at the age of 82. Per his wishes, Egerton's ashes will be scattered at sea by his wife Helen and close family.

Retired Vice. Adm. Michael Vitale knew Egerton well, and spoke at length about him and the lasting impression Egerton made upon him during a recent Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture.

"Jim was my second CO [commanding officer] in the Navy aboard the USS Reeves," said Vitale. "He taught me how to drive ships, he taught me how to be a great officer, and he taught me how to take care of people. Most importantly, Jim left me with a legacy of leadership because he taught me to always do your best, to do it with class and style, and to always do what's right no matter how hard it is, how long it takes, or how much it costs.

"I mention him today to honor what he did for me and the success that I have achieved because of him. I hope that all of you have such a man in your life and you can look back one day and thank him," continued Vitale.

Members of Egerton's travel office team have equally fond memories of him.

"Jim was the one who first trained me in DTS [Defense Travel System] matters about four years ago," said Travel Assistant Jon Lim. "Since then, I've had the good fortune of working alongside him on a daily basis. He has been, and always will be, a significant part of the travel office family. Whenever anyone needed help on a complicated travel matter, he was the man to consult. I will remember his dry sense of humor and work ethic."

"Our office meetings will never be the same without Jim. Whether he intended to or not, he always gave us a good laugh," added Passport Agent Monique Resquir.

Deputy Comptroller Jack Shishido worked with Egerton for 11 years.

"The first person to introduce me to NPS was Jim. He's how I got here," said Shishido.

Over the years Shishido and many others have relied upon Egerton's in-depth knowledge of defense travel regulations, which he often quoted on demand while answering difficult questions or training members of the travel office.

"Jim was our go-to-guy. He was the travel subject matter expert, no bones about it," said Shishido. "He not only taught us the rules, he wrote many of them."

Jim's connection to NPS spanned nearly half a century. He first came to NPS as a student and lived in one of the cottages next to Herrmann Hall. He was the Dean of Programs [now Dean of Students] from 1985 to 1987, and returned to Monterey after retiring from the Navy to work in the travel office.

Posted August 13, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Lewis Hunsaker
NPS Alumnus, Retired Vice Admiral Talks Innovation During SGL
By MC1 Lewis Hunsaker

NPS alumnus and retired Navy Vice Adm. Michael C. Vitale discusses innovation with NPS students during a Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture (SGL) at King Auditorium, Aug. 11. During the SGL, Vitale received NPS' Distinguished Alumni Award from President retired Vice Adm. Ronald A. Route.

"It's been 26 years since I've been here. I see a lot of things have stayed the same, and a lot have also changed," said Vitale. "We used to have seven or eight peacocks; we now have Canadian geese, very innovative."

Vitale became interested in innovation while serving as the commander of Navy Installations Command.

"I was trying to get my organization motivated. I knew where I wanted the organization to go. I had the vision. I had the ideas. I thought I had motivated the organization, but after two years, I realized I had not.

"All of you officers are going to be leaders, and at some point in time you will take command. In order to command, you have to build a successful team. In order to build a successful team, you have to have good tools in your toolbox. Today, I would like to add innovation to your toolbox," continued Vitale.

Advocating a particular brand of innovation that recognizes the need for hard work and testing, Vitale calls it, "Innovating with intent." Innovating with intent requires innovators to focus on five distinct steps: visualize/imagine, ideate, test/experiment, lead the change, and educate.

"You have to become the expert in innovation. You have to constantly study. This is not something you are going to do tomorrow," noted Vitale. "When you get back into your commands you are going to try and figure out a better way… don't be afraid of failing.

"At your current level, you are not going to command the culture in your organization. The commanding officer or executive officer may not be into innovation, your challenge is to change that mindset," said Vitale.

As students look toward future SGLs, and the opportunity to submit nominations, President's Student Council Chair Lt. Colleen McDonald encouraged her colleagues to step up and participate.

"SGLs can broaden horizons by presenting ideas not typically covered by NPS coursework or other military requirements," said McDonald. "The goal is to have students get involved, nominate future speakers, and become an active part of the SGL program."

Posted August 12, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Michael Ehrlich
NPS Establishes Foreign Disclosure Program
By MC2 Michael Ehrlich

NPS Foreign Disclosure Officer Lt. Cmdr. Robert Kerchner, pictured outside the International Flag Garden, Aug. 11, along with Senior Intel Officer Capt. Daniel Verheul, have reached the end of a two-year effort to establish an on-campus foreign disclosure program.

"The Foreign Disclosure Program gives international government agencies, students and military officers at NPS the ability to access information that may be considered sensitive," said Kerchner, a 2013 graduate of NPS.

The appropriate sharing of information is critical to the university's diverse campus given the high number of international officers attending resident academic programs, in addition to short course and workshop attendees. Kerchner says the Foreign Disclosure Program will help students and faculty determine what unclassified and classified materials may be shared or released to the public.

"There is a misconception that internally generated material, as long as it is unclassified, doesn't have to go through the same procedures, but it does. Unclassified does not mean releasable," explained Kerchner.

Posted August 11, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Brian H. Abel
Summer STEM Interns Show and Tell
By MC3 Brian H. Abel

NPS intern Eva Miller explains her research project during the STEM Intern Research Showcase in the Glasgow Hall courtyard, Aug. 6. The showcase gives interns, at both the high school and college levels, the opportunity to present their research to NPS students, faculty and staff.

“We have dedicated faculty from all of the different schools who work with our interns,” said NPS STEM Internship Coordinator Alison Kerr. “Our interns have a variety of study options, some of which may lead to opportunities to co-author peer-reviewed articles that may be presented at international conferences.”

Interning at NPS allows students to participate in academic projects and to contribute to scientific research in a manner that Kerr hopes will build confidence and inspire future exploration into the STEM fields

“Being here was pretty amazing,” said intern Lucas Roberts. “I love how all of the interns did all of these different projects, had their own experiences, and achieved so much over the last two months. It’s pretty amazing.”

Posted August 10, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Lewis Hunsaker
DOD's Chief Financial Officer Helps DRMI Celebrate 50th Anniversary
By MC1 Lewis Hunsaker

Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer, the Honorable Mike McCord, left, listens to a question from Senior International Defense Management Course (SIDMC) student Humphrey Okpala in the Quad Auditorium, Aug. 4. This was the 46th annual SIDMC course offered by the Defense Resources Management Institute (DRMI) at NPS.

"Talking about resources, which is what I'm in charge of, is never the right place to start. You have to start with what you are trying to accomplish. What are your ends? What are your goals?" said McCord. "At the Pentagon, Gen. Dempsey reminds us that if you really want to have a true conversation about priorities, you need to start with the ends."

During his visit to NPS, McCord met with senior leaders, toured DRMI facilities, and was the guest speaker for the DRMI 50th Anniversary celebration at the Hilton Garden Inn.

"Many things have changed over the last 50 years, from the Cold War to a man walking on the moon and the fall of the Berlin Wall," said McCord. "For DRMI to stay relevant over this period of incredible change is a remarkable testament."

Since 1965, DRMI has taught more than 35,000 professionals from over 160 countries.

Posted August 7, 2015

Photo courtesy the Graduate Writing Center
GWC Helps Students Wield a Mighty Pen
By Dale M. Kuska

Graduate Writing Center (GWC) Coach Michelle Pagnani accrues a lot of fans through the course of a quarter here at NPS – she's pictured, center, with several of them. Pagnani has been a coach at the GWC since September 2013, essentially since it opened for business, and has personally helped hundreds of students improve a critical skill for success in academia.

"My colleagues and I act as mentors, helping individuals translate their subject matter expertise onto the page," said Pagnani. "Through both one-to-one coaching and interactive workshops, we encourage students to gain new knowledge, to practice new skills, and to gradually hone their voices in a supportive atmosphere. Our role is to make the writing process less painful and maybe even a little fun.

"Writing is increasingly important in the workplace, as is having the cognitive ability to analyze a text and to extract its key ideas," continued Pagnani. "We encourage people to become not only skilled writers but also, independent problem solvers."

And the center's help is working. GWC appointments and drop-in attendance numbers have risen nearly every quarter since its establishment. One such student who applauds the center's efforts is Lt. Christopher Cedros, a Surface Warfare Officer in NPS' homeland security and defense curriculum who turned the GWC's help into his selection as winner of the Hans Jones Award for Excellence in Thesis Research in Special Operations and Irregular Warfare.

"When officers arrive at the Naval Postgraduate School, the majority of us haven't been in a collegiate environment for years," said Cedros. "The Graduate Writing Center provides mentorship through the span of everyone's time at NPS in order to enhance the skills to become a better writer."

While both Pagnani and Cedros were excited about the award, the student says he is equally appreciative of the new skills he'll depart NPS with.

"The GWC helps you develop the ability to be a successful academic writer," he said. "The ability to be an effective writer is vital for the military and I believe the practices I have developed at NPS and the GWC will be necessary for my future endeavors."

Posted August 6, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Michael Ehrlich
Space Systems Academic Group Receives Piece of Space Shuttle Wing
By MC2 Michael Ehrlich

Former astronaut and National Reconnaissance Office Chair Professor retired Navy Capt. Daniel Bursch, right, and Space Systems Academic Group (SSAG) Chair Dr. Rudy Panholzer, left, stand with a recently-acquired piece of the leading edge of a space shuttle wing, Aug. 3. The piece, one of only a few that can be viewed outside a museum, will soon be included in SSAG's Space for Space display in Bullard Hall.

"What we have is RCC panel number 11 from the right side of the leading edge of a wing from a shuttle similar to the Columbia," said Bursch. "The leading edge of the wing and the nose are made to take upwards of 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit."

Although not from the Columbia, the piece acquired by SSAG would be located very near the piece that NASA experts say led to the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster in February of 2003. With NPS alumnus Cmdr. William J. McCool on board, a suitcase-sized piece of foam is believed to have dislodged and struck panel number eight on the shuttle's left side, with tragic consequences.

This newest artifact from the space shuttle era is one of several pieces of memorabilia acquired by SSAG in hopes of honoring the university's lengthy legacy in space. NPS boasts more than 40 graduates that have gone on to NASA's astronaut program.

Posted August 5, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Lewis Hunsaker
FFSC Hosts Family Fun Day for NPS Families
By MC1 Lewis Hunsaker

Parents, children and new NPS families enjoy the festivities at the 4th Annual Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) Family Fun Day at La Mesa Housing Community, July 31. Naval Support Activity Monterey FFSC supports military operational readiness by providing a wide range of services and assistance that positively impacts the quality of life of service members and their families.

"The theme for the event was awareness," said Tricia Williams with FFSC new parent support. "This event lets people know that we are here, and showcases the many services available to them."

With many FFSC employees on hand to answer questions, Family Fun Day offered a cakewalk, face painting, chalk-drawing contest, an arts and crafts table and a baby center. Presidio of Monterey firefighters also provided an equipment demonstration.

"As a new military parent to this area, I'm very happy to see all the services that Fleet and Family provides here in Monterey," said Jeanine Garcia.

For more information about the FFSC, please visit

Posted August 4, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya
Naval War College Monterey Graduates Honored for Academic Achievement
By Javier Chagoya

Students completing the Naval War College (NWC) Monterey program with academic honors this past Spring Quarter are pictured following a brief ceremony in their honor near the NWC program offices in Halligan Hall, July 28.

The graduates who earned the 'with Highest Distinction' honors by completing the program in the top five percent of their class include Army Maj. Steven Crowe, Army Maj. Jonathan Lipscomb, Lt. Garold Munson, Army Maj. Anton Soltis, and Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Webb.

Graduates earning 'with Distinction' honors by completing the program in the top 15 percent of their class include Lt. Emily Allert, Army Maj. Juan Carleton, Lt. Justin Dragon, Marine Corps Capt. Mark Fitzgerald, Lt. Thomas Freismuth, Lt. Anthony Grusich, Lt. Corwin Hardy, Lt. Cmdr. Richard Hartl, Lt. Richard Jordan, Lt. Cmdr. Robert Marsh, Army Maj. Jamie Nasi, Army Maj. Benjamin Spera, Lt. Kyle Sullivan, Army Maj. Jacob Sweatland, and Army Maj. Christopher Townsend.

Posted August 3, 2015


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