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Today@NPS - April 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 Stewart
Energy Seminar Focuses on Critical Infrastructure Protection
By Kenneth A. Stewart

NPS Department of Operations Research Professor David Alderson addresses students and faculty during a scheduled Defense Energy Seminar in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Auditorium, April 17. Alderson is an expert in the field of critical infrastructure defense, a focal point of his research here on campus.

"NPS has a unique perspective and capability. We have been studying infrastructure defense for decades," Alderson said.

"We cannot stop every possible attack and we cannot stop Mother Nature either, so what can we do?" asked Alderson. "We can focus on the resilience of the system as a whole … how assets work together to function even in the presence of disruptive events."

To this end, Alderson works with his students utilizing game theory to anticipate possible threats and to devise methods of hardening potential targets before adversaries, or the elements, are able to exploit weaknesses to critical infrastructure.

"We have conducted over 150 red-team analyses to plan for attacks against [U.S.] infrastructure," said Alderson. "We invoke a game theory construct where the players choose how to attack or defend a system."

Alderson is head of NPS' Center for Infrastructure Defense where he leads a group dedicated to improving the operational resilience of critical energy infrastructure in order to protect them from either deliberate threats or non-deliberate hazards.

Posted April 20, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Shawn Stewart
Students, Faculty Explore Ethics of Unmanned Combat Systems
By Kenneth A. Stewart

NPS Associate Professor Ray Buettner, far left, discusses the ethical considerations associated with the deployment of Lethal Autonomous Robot Systems (LARs) and other autonomous or semiautonomous unmanned systems during the Robo Ethics seminar in Root Hall, April 14. Buettner leads the Consortium for Robotics and Unmanned Systems Education and Research (CRUSER), which organized the event.

“Should a machine be able to decide to kill and if so, what does ‘decide’ mean?” Buettner asked assembled students and others joining via video teleconference from the U.S. Naval Academy and elsewhere. “We are interested in exploring the boundaries of robotic systems …  [But] so far, no country has declared an intent to deploy a totally autonomous lethal system that decides who to kill and when.”

NPS Assistant Professor Timothy Chung had questions for the group as well. He is a pioneer in the area of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) swarms.

“How do we take revolutionary changes in UAVs and use them to achieve revolutionary effects?” asked Chung.

In addition to exploring the ethics of unmanned combat systems, Buettner and Chung showcased ongoing CRUSER initiatives, many of which were born of NPS student research. Current projects include the use of QR Codes in network-deprived environments and the feasibility of wireless underwater computer networks.

At the direction of the Secretary of the Navy, CRUSER leverages its long-standing experience and expertise in the research and education of robotics and unmanned systems to support naval operations. CRUSER also works to bring together disparate research efforts by integrating academic courses across disciplinary boundaries.

Posted April 17, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Shawn Stewart
Leading Defense Finance Expert Addresses Navy Senior Leaders Symposium
By Kenneth A. Stewart

Retired Vice. Adm. Stanley R. Szemborski addresses participants at the NPS Center for Executive Education (CEE) Navy Senior Leader Symposium in Ingersoll Hall, April 14. Szemborski, the former director of the Navy's Financial Management and Budget office, offered a candid presentation exploring current fiscal realities and their effects on strategic planning.

Szemborski discussed, among other things, current and past national security strategies and the budgetary decisions that supported them. He also discussed the challenges presented by current regulatory and oversight mechanisms, and the resulting effects they have on the acquisitions process, noting the innovation-killing effects of bureaucratic red tape, particularly in areas that require government and private sector partnerships.

"I firmly believe that if we can get through some of the regulations, and foster cooperation between industry and government, that we can really accomplish something," said Szemborski.

As the director of the Navy's Financial Management and Budget office, Szemborski had direct financial responsibility for the Navy's operations, maintenance and military personnel appropriations. Szemborski is a 1972 graduate of NPS' electrical engineering program.

Posted April 16, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Shawn Stewart
Students Break-In New Cyber Battle Lab
By Kenneth A. Stewart

NPS Department of Computer Science Senior Lecturer Chris Eagle “engages the enemy” during a virtual game of capture the flag in the Cyber Academic Group’s newly constructed Cyber Battle Lab in the basement of Glasgow Hall, April 13. The lab provides an unclassified venue for students and researchers to collaborate in the realm of cyber warfare.

According to Eagle, the competition brought together international teams with varied levels of expertise. The students participating from his class were relatively new to cybersecurity; in fact, they had only been in his class for two weeks when the exercise commenced. But Eagle is hopeful that they will gain important perspectives from the experience.

Professor Cynthia Irvine leads the NPS Cyber Academic Group and the lab in which Eagle’s students were both fighting off and attacking competing cyber teams.

“It's a great experience for them, by the end of the quarter they will be much better at [defeating cyber threats],” she said.

Irvine also discussed the important contributions that the lab will allow NPS students and faculty to make toward advancing the DOD’s cyber warfare mission.

“We have both classified and unclassified segments of the lab and we will have a node on the Joint Information Operations Range, which will allow us to participate with other DOD entities to defend and attack networks in an isolated, virtual environment,” said Irvine.

Posted April 15, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Lewis Hunsaker
Business School Renews Prestigious AACSB Accreditation
By MC1 Lewis Hunsaker

Graduate School of Business and Public Policy (GSBPP) personnel, from left, Dean Bill Gates, Executive Assistant Theresa Rea, Faculty Associate Valentina Palazzetti and Professor Keith Snider are pictured with GSBPP's accreditation certificate, April 14. GSBPP recently reaffirmed its accreditation with the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.

"AACSB is the flagship and most widely-recognized accreditation program for business schools," said Snider. "This accreditation recognizes us as one of the top business schools.

"Since our last accreditation we added an assurance of learning program," he continued. "This program helps our ability to create new curricula on short notice, modify current programs to meet the demands of the defense community, and use evolving technology to advance research and scholarships."

Rea adds that the current reaffirmed accreditation is part of a continuous process that began years ago, an effort that serves NPS' business school and its 600 plus students well.

"GSBPP has some 300 students enrolled in its MBA programs, and an additional 300 distance learning students," Rea said.

GSBPP offers world-class graduate education programs and professional development opportunities to U.S. and allied military officers, as well as select Department of Defense civilians.

Posted April 14, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Shawn J. Stewart
5K Run Raises Sexual Assault and Prevention Awareness
By MC2 Shawn J. Stewart

Cmdr. Mike Gussenhaven crosses the finish line at the Fleet and Family Support Center's (FFSC) Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention 5K Fun Run, April 10. Event organizers held the competition to raise awareness about sexual violence in the military and DOD civilian workforce.

"The run was intended to be a fun way to create awareness on an important topic that can sometimes be difficult to talk about," said Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) Heather Ruppert with the FFSC. "The more we talk about it, the more we can help get the word out about the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response [SAPR] program."

Ruppert noted that sexual assaults can happen anywhere, and that anyone can be a victim of sexual violence.

"NPS isn't immune to this happening – it can happen to anyone, and students and staff need to be aware," she said. "[Sexual assaults] occur in both our society and our military, but there are resources in place to support those affected."

In addition to the 5K run, FFSC has planned additional events on campus to help build awareness within our community. On April 22, for an event titled Flag Day in the Quad, 120 flags will be placed on the campus Quad representing each individual who is sexually assaulted over a 12-hour period in the United States, a staggering one every six minutes. And on April 29, the campus will participate in the statewide Denim Day California. Initiated by the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Denim Day encourages individuals to wear jeans on April 29 to raise awareness about sexual assault and show support for victims.

For more information about the DOD's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response programs, visit To connect with local resources, contact the Victim Advocate line at (831) 760-2329 or the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) at (831) 656-3175.

Posted April 13, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Shawn J. Stewart
TechCon, Robots in the Roses Return to NPS
By MC2 Shawn J. Stewart

NPS systems engineering student Lt. David J. Cummings discusses the viability of an open-source unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) software package to university students, faculty and staff during the Consortium for Robotics and Unmanned Systems Education and Research (CRUSER) 4th Annual Technical Continuum (TechCon) in Ingersoll Plaza, April 8. Cummings was one of 29 presenters invited to share their thesis work with the NPS community.

CRUSER Concept Generation Director Lyla Englehorn organized this year's events, and described how research, like that being done by Cummings and his colleagues, is critical to current naval operations.

"When you build something through the acquisition process, it takes a very long time. The system is geared toward big things, like aircraft carriers, not mission critical, [emerging] technologies like unmanned systems and robotics," said Englehorn. "Technology is changing at a rate faster than the system can accommodate. The work done by NPS students here will help the Navy to employ unmanned systems throughout the fleet to meet current operational demands."

CRUSER's annual series of events culminated with the 5th Annual Robots in the Roses Research Fair, April 9. The fair has become an NPS tradition, allowing students, faculty and the local high school community to showcase unmanned systems research and engineering in a venue that is as informative as it is entertaining.

Posted April 10, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Lewis Hunsaker
Space Systems Team Prepares CubeSats for Next Launch
By MC1 Lewis Hunsaker

Faculty Associate Wenschel Lan secures a power and data harness to a CubeSat launcher in preparation for a final shakedown test in Bullard Hall, April 1. Over the past decade, NPS' Space Systems Academic Group (SSAG) has been instrumental in the development and application of several experimental CubeSat systems with Navy and DOD applications.

"This is the fourth [batch of] CubeSats to be launched within the last six years," said former NASA astronaut and Space Systems Academic Group Professor James Newman. "These small, less expensive satellites leverage continuously changing technology to provide for future needs and new capabilities in space."

SSAG graduates must be prepared to manage the technical aspects of a space system's life cycle, Newman says, including among other things, their requirements definition and analysis, design, development, installation, maintenance and operations.

"The Navy needs well-educated officers that can speak about their needs in space, especially since the Air Force is the primary agent in this domain," said Newman. "This program keeps NPS and the Navy at the forefront of emerging space technologies."

NPS' next group of CubeSats are scheduled for launch in August of 2015.

Posted April 9, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Lewis Hunsaker
Naval Research Working Group Connects Students, Sponsors
By MC1 Lewis Hunsaker

Students and faculty meet with Department of Defense sponsors to collaborate on research ideas at a breakout session during the combined Naval Research Working Group (NRWG) and Thesis Research Working Group event in the Dudley Knox Library, April 1. This was the fourth NRWG event at NPS, and included some 950 people discussing potential collaboration on more than 350 different research topics.

"The working group brings like-minded people together with common passions to help solve a variety of problems in the Navy and Marine Corps today," said Navy Research Program Manager, U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Mark Raffetto.

Sponsors presented students and faculty with a series of research challenges designed to enhance naval operations. Students were then given the opportunity to share ideas one-on-one with the presenters at a series of working groups.

"The working groups were the best part. Students could talk directly with sponsors and faculty to collaborate on topics," said Raffetto, who added that students have the opportunity to link up with sponsors via an online portal.

Posted April 8, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Lewis Hunsaker
Latest MMOWGLI Looks to Solve Navy's Data Dilemma
By MC3 Michael Ehrlich

A team of researchers supporting the Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet (MMOWGLI) monitors the launch of the latest game, April 6. Titled the Data Dilemma, the game challenges users to come up with innovative ideas on how the Navy can adapt to maintain an advantage in the information age.

"Data science is evolving fast, " said Dr. Don Brutzman, Professor in NPS' Department of Information Sciences. "The Navy must adapt to maintain its information advantages and rethink how they are valued in order to accelerate into the information age."

MMOWGLI is an interactive, crowdsourcing game, utilizing the web to connect large numbers of users to ideate and innovate across a broad set of Navy/DOD security issues. Dr. Maura Sullivan, Chief of Strategy and Innovation for the Under Secretary of the Navy for Management, discussed the value of advancing the Navy's ability to manage information in a recent interview.

"As the rate of change in the global environment accelerates and the landscape of potential threats increases in complexity, the DON must adapt," said Sullivan. "We're hoping for an extremely diverse set of players including experts from academia, industry, military, government, non-governmental organizations and global citizens to compete in this MMOWGLI."

For more information on the current game or to play, check out the MMOWGLI website.

Posted April 6, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Lewis Hunsaker
Vice Chief of Naval Operations Shares Lessons in Leadership During SGL
By Dale M. Kuska

Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michelle Howard is welcomed to the Space Systems Academic Group's CubeSat laboratory by Professor Jim Newman and Chair Rudy Panholzer during a visit to campus, April 3. Howard spent a day at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) to offer a Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture and to learn first-hand about select university programs and research initiatives.

"This is Adm. Howard's first trip to NPS since becoming VCNO back in July 2014, and we could not be more pleased that she was able to dedicate a full day on campus," noted NPS President, retired Vice Adm. Ronald A. Route. "Her time here provided not only an opportunity to address our student body on the challenges presented to leadership by rapid technological change, but to also see first-hand how our current educational and research initiatives can help the Navy advance warfighter capabilities in critical areas such as cyber warfare."

Howard's SGL focused on the advancement of technology, offering history's examples of how rapid change left an indelible mark on the battlefield. The cyber domain of warfighting, she said, presents a number of complexities to leadership given the adversaries' ability to exert impact at the speed of light, around the world. A challenge, the VCNO added, that the students in attendance are required to overcome.

Adm. Michelle Howard is the 38th Vice Chief of Naval Operations, and has been a pioneer in her ascension to senior leadership positions as both an African American, and a woman. She became the first African American woman to command a ship when she assumed command of the USS Rushmore in 1999, and is a past winner of the Navy League Capt. Winifred Collins award for outstanding leadership.

Posted April 3, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Michael Ehrlich
Students Explore Life-Cycle Cost Analysis During E-Week
By MC3 Michael Ehrlich

Retired Rear Adm. Wendi B. Carpenter provided Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) students with a window into her career of logistical expertise and life-cycle cost analyses during an NPS Enrichment Week seminar on “The Importance of Cost” in Halligan Hall, March 24.

Carpenter drew from her years of experience in the areas of logistics, training and aviation in fleet, joint and coalition operations to inform university students on how their education will influence not only their careers, but also the leaders and decision makers they will advise.

“My expectations of the quality of the education and thought that comes from here is very high,” said Carpenter. “Whenever you can put someone into a situation where they have the opportunity to grow intellectually, the person that you end up with when they go back out to the fleet will be equipped for tactical operations as a strategic thinker.”

During her presentation, Carpenter delved into her own research into the field of unmanned systems in a concept called ‘Leveraging the Undersea Environment;’ she described how costs could potentially overshadow benefits.

“Even though it may look like unmanned systems are going to give us this great new capability, the cost may be so high we can’t afford it,” she said. “There is a lot of data you can develop through modeling and simulation, and hopefully we are going to make very wise decisions going forward to get these systems out there rapidly, so they can help us in our quest to maintain undersea dominance.”

Posted April 2, 2015

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya
Assistant Secretary of Defense Honored With Distinguished Alumni Award
By MC1(AW/IDW) Lewis Hunsaker

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict the Honorable Michael D. Lumpkin was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award during a visit to NPS, March 26.

"I am honored and humbled to have been selected for this award," said Lumpkin. "NPS is a world-class institution that provides our future strategists and leaders a world-class education. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to attend NPS, and appreciate the school's leadership and faculty for their advice, mentorship and encouragement when I was student."

Lumpkin has more than 20 years of active duty military service as a U.S. Navy SEAL and has held every leadership position from platoon commander to team commanding officer. He has participated in numerous campaigns and contingencies throughout the world, and is a graduate from NPS' National Security Affairs program.

"My time at NPS prepared me in tremendous ways, most importantly was how to think about and approach our national security challenges differently; a skill that continues to serve me well," said Lumpkin.

The NPS Distinguished Alumni Program recognizes any alumnus or alumna who has made distinguished contributions to a branch of learning associated with national security, has rendered distinguished service to some aspect of national security, or has made a distinguished professional achievement that reflects great credit on the recipient and on NPS.

Posted April 1, 2015


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