NPS Students, Staff and Faculty Build Culture of Volunteerism Off Campus
by Kenneth A. Stewart
Students from the Naval Postgraduate School and nearby Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) joined the regional community in welcoming Army Sgt. Brian Jergens and family to their new home during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Hollister, Calif., Dec. 12.
The home was donated by Homes for Troops, a national non-profit organization founded in 2004, and was built by members of the local community including a cadre of volunteers from both NPS and DLIFLC. Homes for Troops has built and donated 155 homes in the last 10 years to wounded service members.
While deployed to Afghanistan in 2011, Jergens was severely injured by a roadside bomb in the Uruzgan Province. The improvised explosive device that ripped through his vehicle blew off both his legs below the knee, broke his neck, and injured his brain, hearing and internal organs.
Despite the trauma, or perhaps because of it, Jergens remembers nothing of the long road home that took him from field hospitals and medical centers in Afghanistan to Landstuhl, Germany and then to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. In fact, he does not remember Afghanistan at all.
“I don’t remember what happened until I look down,” quipped Jergens with his ever-present smile and infectiously positive attitude.
Jergens and his wife are working hard to reclaim their lives and to raise their young family in Hollister, and the community has welcomed them with open arms. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by the mayor, the chief of police, city council members, a local Boy Scout troop, members of the Patriot Guard Riders, and even Santa Claus himself.
NPS Department of Defense Analysis student, U.S. Air Force Maj. Jeff McMaster of Fort Worth, Texas, was one of many volunteers to work on the Jergens family home.
“It was a great chance to give back to someone who has sacrificed so much, someone who maintains a great attitude and who is such an inspiration despite the severity of his injuries. It was a privilege,” McMaster said.
Army Maj. Alex Williams, also in the defense analysis program, coordinated much of the NPS contributions to the volunteer effort for Jergens.
“All of us have friends, colleagues and comrades who have been injured or damaged in some capacity,” said Williams. “It’s kind of cathartic for us to see that people do get better. The courage of this Soldier and his wife is truly inspiring … it puts your own problems into perspective.
“When all of the fanfare dies down and these people start getting back to their daily lives, things are going to be very difficult. These Soldiers need to know that they have somewhere to turn, that there are people out there that they can contact. We are in this for the long haul,” Williams added.
Naval Postgraduate School Honors NCO with University’s Top Army Student Award
Naval Postgraduate School Defense Analysis student Master Sgt. Jim Monroe was recently the first non-commissioned officer (NCO) to ever be awarded the Association of the U.S. Army, Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell Chapter, Award for Outstanding Army Student.
The award is presented quarterly to a resident Army student who demonstrates exemplary academic achievements and community service. Monroe was also nominated for an outstanding thesis for his work, titled “Deception: Theory and Practice,” and is up for the title of distinction.
“Each of our students brings a unique skill set and background to his or her time here at NPS,” said NPS Dean of Students Capt. Alan Poindexter. “Master Sgt. Monroe’s accomplishments demonstrate that in academia, hard work, above all else, dictates what one can achieve. The NPS mission is to provide a quality defense-based education for men and women across ranks and services. We are proud to call him a NPS alumnus as he moves forward in his career."
After graduation, Monroe is headed to the Fourth Military Information Support Operations Command at Fort Bragg. He had previously served in the First Cavalry Division, and in operational and tactical military information support operations positions at Fort Bragg. He is proud of the support he received from his previous command, as he heard about opportunities to study at NPS.
“To me, beyond the knowledge gained in the classes, the true values of a graduate education lay in the increased understanding of how to process and synthesize information, and in how to approach problem solving,” said Monroe. “As an NCO, the Defense Analysis program has improved my worth to the force – both as a leader, and as a resource for my commander.
“I was just happy to be able to study here in the first place,” he added, “so to be recognized and get the Award for Outstanding Army Student was just a humbling experience.”
Monroe’s thesis, titled “Deception: Theory and Practice,” explored military deception history and practice, an often overlooked but important topic for the military. His work was described by NPS Defense Analysis Senior Lecturer Dr. Hy Rothstein as being of a caliber not frequently seen in his 11 years at NPS.
“Today’s doctrine, does not say much about deception. It’s an undervalued and underappreciated tool in war,” said Rothstein. “Jim shows very clearly that the benefits of deception, historically, have been remarkable. The return on investment – in training, education and material necessary for deception – have almost always produced benefits that far outweigh the investment.”
“My thesis had a few different parts,” Monroe noted. “For the first part, I surveyed deception within U.S. Army doctrine, and looked at reasons why the level of emphasis of deception has fluctuated over the years. In the second half of the thesis, I surveyed and synthesized the various civilian and military works on deception theory and practice. And I finished up with an overview of U.S. Army use of deception from the Revolutionary War to the present.
“Currently there is a void in unclassified deception guidance in the U.S. Army,” he continued, “so I tried to go over theory and practice and create an overview designed to be used as an unofficial handbook for deception practitioners.”
While Monroe is humbled by the recognition he has received, he and Rothstein agree that the topic of his research is one of importance to the defense community, and one that has not had the attention it deserves.
Monroe was one of 17 enlisted service members to graduate in the Spring quarter. Although the majority of NPS’ military students are officers, senior military leaders have demonstrated a commitment to providing all qualified and eager officers, commissioned or otherwise, with advanced education opportunities. And, as Monroe and his fellow NCOs have demonstrated, the classroom provides everyone a level playing field from which to excel.
“Of course our job at the Naval Postgraduate School is to educate the people that the services send us, so it’s really the services that have made the decision that education is valuable for non-commissioned officers. And I think that’s a good decision,” explained Rothstein. “This type of education is not for every non-commissioned officer, but it is very important for those NCOs who are going to ultimately serve on higher level staffs and for senior commanders.
“Those who will be the ones that provide advice to senior military officers need to be capable of providing thoughtful and well reasoned advice, and advanced education is one way to ensure that their advice is thoughtful, relevant and well reasoned,” Rothstein continued. “This ultimately helps commanders make decisions, because they have senior enlisted folks around them whose advice is well packaged, well thought out and on target.”
DA Student Wins JSOU Essay Contest
Major Dave Kenney, a U.S. Army Special Forces officer who is attending the Naval Postgraduate School, accepts his second place essay award from Dr. Brian Maher, President of Joint Special Operations University (JSOU). His essay was titled “The USSOCOM Trinity: Refining Special Operations Commitment to 21st Century Warfare.” Major Kenney received his award during the 2012 National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC) Division Symposium Banquet, on 7 February 2012 in Washington D.C. The first place award was presented to Ms. Eva Shinagel, a U.S. foreign affairs officer with the Department of State who is attending the National War College. Her winning essay was titled “Hearts and Minds: Islam and Afghanistan’s Moral Center of Gravity.” The annual essay contest is co-sponsored by JSOU and the NDIA SO/LIC Division and is open to students attending, or recently graduated from, professional military education programs. The first place winner is presented with a $1000 award and the second place winner is presented with a $500 award. The winning essays will be published in an upcoming JSOU monograph.
By MC1 Leonardo Carrillo
The Commanding General of the esteemed ‘intellectual center’ of the Army, the Combined Arms Center, Lt. Gen. David Perkins visited the Naval Postgraduate School for a series of briefings and meetings with faculty, staff and students, Jan 10.
The briefs represent the continuation of an exploratory visit by the Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Raymond Odierno, this past September, as the Army continues to support and potentially expands interest in different programs offered at the university. Perkins expressed interest in the abilities education provides his soldiers, and discussed his educational goals with leaders at NPS emphasizing the need for training programs to adapt to a changing world.
“Advanced schooling is a critical element of the professional development of our soldiers,” said Perkins, “because it gives them technical skills and problem solving skills that I think are critical to operate in this increasingly ambiguous environment.”
The department of Defense Analysis currently houses about half of the total number of Army officers studying at NPS. Perkins was briefed in full on the program, but also explored other curricula and research currently underway within the Graduate School of Operational and Information Sciences, and the School of International Graduate Studies (SIGS).
SIGS’ Department of National Security Affairs (NSA), which specializes in the study of international relations, security policy and regional security studies, presented Perkins with a comprehensive overview of the department’s programs. NSA curricula represent an intricate part of the educational requirements of Foreign Area Officers, a discipline the Army holds in high regard.
Although NPS is a naval institution, its joint, multilateral research and educational programs have been held in high respect by Army leadership for many years. And in the same way, NPS has enjoyed a significant presence of Army personnel in its student body.
As Perkins wrapped up his visit, he praised the school’s international and joint environment that exposes soldiers and other service members to a similar environment they would see in the real world, an experience that would prove crucial to the formation of any leader.
“NPS has a great academic reputation,” said Perkins. “It has a unique capability to focus on problems that the military is particularly concerned about. It’s very difficult to see everything in one day but I think I was most impressed by the enthusiasm and dedication of the faculty, staff and students. Obviously, they are very renowned for their academics but their commitment, and in many cases sense of service, were outstanding.”
By Amanda D. Stein
On Nov. 4, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno visited NPS to learn firsthand about the education and research programs underway at the university. Specifically, he was briefed by several faculty and students in the school’s Defense Analysis department, which enrolls approximately half of the Army students studying at NPS.
Odierno began his visit to NPS with a command brief offered by Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Operations and Information Sciences, Army Col. Robert Burks, providing an overview of the university’s mission, programs and research. Odierno then attended a Defense Analysis brief presented by department Chair Dr. John Arquilla.
“I was very impressed with the depth and utility of the program of instruction at the Naval Postgraduate School,” Odierno said. “Guided by a dedicated and expert faculty, the students are receiving a first-rate education that will serve them well as our nation’s future senior leaders.”
“Beyond special operations and information operations, I think the Army has been interested in the larger questions of Defense Analysis, which is what I think our department is all about,” Arquilla explained. “When you think about which of the curricula at our school are specifically, operationally oriented, this is one that seems to fit very neatly into the needs of the Army.”
With an opportunity to see specific research projects in action, Odierno was briefed by Defense Analysis students Lt. Deak Childress and Lt. John Taylor on project Lighthouse. For the students, it was a unique opportunity to directly brief a service chief on their thesis research, which utilizes social network analysis to identify and illuminate potential improvised explosive device networks. Childress and Taylor hope that their project will have lasting real-world military applications.
“We were … both extremely impressed with how quickly Gen. Odierno was able to pull the value out of a very brief discussion, and the understanding he showed of the analysis we are doing, as evidence by a couple of very pertinent questions he asked,” explained Childress.
“It is absolutely vital to keep DoD senior leadership abreast of the different types of research ongoing here at NPS,” he continued. “I think it shows them that the investments they are making by sending folks here is paying off, and the time spent here at Monterey is definitely not wasted. We are both Navy guys, so we didn’t approach this project with any one service in mind, but our research is definitely geared more to ground operators.”
At the completion of the briefing, Odierno complemented the students on their project, and encouraged them to continue the research.
“The wide variety of research and analysis that the NPS students are conducting is extremely relevant to today’s complex and uncertain strategic environment,” Odierno said. “I am also impressed with their enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity, attributes that will serve them well in the future as agile and adaptable leaders.”
NPS Students Stabilize Shark Attack Victim
by MC1 Rob Rubio
On a crisp Saturday morning, Oct. 29, local resident Eric Tarantino, 27, was bitten along the right side of his neck and shoulder by an estimated 15–20 ft. shark while surfing at Marina State Beach in nearby Marina. As Tarantino and his friend struggled to paddle back to shore, they were fortunate to find two NPS students — Army Maj. Jonathan Bleakley and Master Sergeant Garric Banfield — who just happened to be on the beach, getting ready to paddle out and hit the waves themselves.
The two active duty service members, and NPS Defense Analysis students, with advanced training to treat acute trauma like this immediately knew something was wrong, and jumped into action. “We could tell something was going on when these two were paddling to the shore and then ran up onto the beach,” Banfield said. “Someone said that he was bit by a shark, and we knew what was obviously going on. Even before we got there, we were yelling for first aid kits and one of our friends went to his vehicle to get one. With our Army training, the combat life saver training kicked in and we were calm and able to assist the victim.”
After what seemed like an eternity for both the victim and rescuers, paramedics arrived in just eight minutes to take over. The students knew the victim was experiencing significant blood loss, and their quick response limited this, but they take little credit for their actions.
Bleakley remarked, “I take no credit for it other than having the Army training that I did. I was very impressed with how my training turned to him. I’m thankful that we have that training.” Army officers get advanced trauma care training at Fort Bragg, Banfield added. “We’re not medics by any means, but we have been trained in Tactical Combat Casualty Care, which is similar to the Army’s combat life saver training with some more advanced trauma care thrown in.”
“I’m glad that I was able to do it. I’m glad that I had the training to be able to do it,” Bleakley noted. “I feel privileged that I was able to help him out … and was able to use my training when it was needed.”
Kiwanis Outstanding International Student Award
Congratulations to Ronnie Kristofferson, Norwegian Navy Coastal Ranger Command…2011 Kiwanis Outstanding International Student Award winner! Each year in September, the Kiwanis Club of Monterey recognizes two International students in appreciation of his/her academic achievements and community involvement while at NPS. The student receives a Certificate of Achievement and a plaque at the September monthly meeting of the Kiwanis Club. Additionally, their plaque is presented again at the time of their graduation from NPS.
BBC World Service Interview with DA Professor Bradley Strawser
New The National Interest article by John Arquilla
The Coming Cyberwar
Despite having had decades to absorb the implications of a range of advances in information technology, the U.S. government remains largely unprepared for cyberwar. Read the full article here.
New Book--The Sovereignty Solution
In The Sovereignty Solution: A Commonsense Approach to Global Security (Naval Institute Press, 2011) Professor Anna Simons and Department of Defense Analysis graduates LTC Joe McGraw, USA, and LTC Duane Lauchengco, USA, propose a foreign policy emphasizing every nation's responsibility--including America's--to control security and the social fabric within its own borders.
Simons and her Special Forces coauthors argue that the U.S. has never articulated the clear position on national defense, "respect our sovereignty and we will respect yours." The Sovereignty Solution is a radical, yet sensible, approach to global security and world order that doesn't require the U.S. to engage in global policing or nation building.
The book's goal is to provoke heightened awareness of the gaps and disconnects between what the U.S. says and what it does, how it wants to be perceived and how it is perceived. Without leaning left or right, the authors hope to initiate a serious debate and to force Washington to rethink what it sends servicemen and women abroad to do.
The Sovereignty Solution grew out of the Long Term Strategy Seminar at NPS (2006), sponsored by Andrew W. Marshall and the Office of Net Assessment. Ten officers in the DA department participated in the study and were instrumental in pulling the overall argument together.
New Foreign Policy Article by John Arquilla
DA Department Chair John Arquilla's new article takes on Francis Fukuyama's view of history. Read the full article here.
Defense Analysis Welcomes Its First NCOs
The Department reached another milestone last month when it welcomed its first-ever enlisted students to both the Special Operations/Irregular Warfare curriculum and the Information Operations curriculum. Army MSG James Monroe (PSYOP) and Marine Gunny Sgt John Wear (Intel) will spend the next 18-months with their US and international officer counterparts working toward their graduate degrees in Defense Analysis and Joint Information Operations, respectively. These exceptional NCOs have already hit the ground running, and will help set the conditions for the continued presence of seasoned leaders from our NCO corps!
Meet DA's First MILFAC
Meet LTC Mike Richardson, an Army Special Forces officer and DA’s first official MILFAC (military faculty member). While DA has hosted two Senior Service fellows since 1994 and more recently has added an O-6 SOF Chair to oversee the program on behalf of SOCOM, LTC Richardson is the first officer assigned to the Department with the sole purpose of teaching. This new billet is part of an agreement between USASOC and NPS that underscores ARSOF’s commitment to the Special Operations /Irregular Warfare graduate program. Having finished his PhD work at UCLA, LTC Richardson will teach six sections a year and complete his dissertation during his 3-year assignment to NPS. LTC Richardson’s previous job was with the Asymmetric Warfare Group.
New Course Offering
Dr. Leo Blanken has developed a new course entitled “The Scientific Study of War.” This course asks the question: "can the hard sciences be a useful model for studying war and warfare?" He begins by tracing the debate over the scientific analysis of war through the history of military thought, focusing on the debate over logical-positivism. The course then looks at various methodological approaches to understanding organized conflict and assesses their strengths and limitations. These will include generalizable theory, rational-choice theories, hypothesis testing using quantitative and qualitative approaches, as well as simulation/modeling. The substantive issues covered include the outbreak of war, the economic and technical aspects of war, as well as the execution of wartime policy at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels. This course was recently approved by the NPS Academic Council. You can contact Dr Blanken at ljblanke (at) nps.edu for more details.
New Faculty Book Dives Into Iraqi Conflict
Heather Gregg, Assistant Professor with NPS’ Department of Defense Analysis (DA), teamed up with senior DA faculty Hy S. Rothstein and John Arquilla to co-edit and publish the book, The Three Circles of War: Understanding the Dynamics of Conflict in Iraq. Three Circles is a comprehensive analysis of combat operations in Iraq, introducing the concept that the conflict in the Middle East nation lies in three separate and distinct 'circles.'
Noting the three circles as interstate conflict, civil war, and insurgency, the book delves into complex issues such as Iraqi culture, theatre stabilization efforts, legal and ethical issues, and processes for measuring war and victory. While each circle, or segment of the conflict, shares similarities and distinct characteristics, they are also both intertwined and complementary, and the authors suggest U.S. national policy and military strategy should focus on addressing each circle on individual levels.
“We have articles from a half-dozen experts from different fields,” said Gregg. “The book explores our efforts in Iraq from a variety of perspectives. It’s a big advantage to bring together different scholars and authors to create a work like this. We, as editors, were able to draw from a huge range of experiences.”
Lighthouse Goes Viral
The recent combat evaluation of CORE Lab methodology and Lighthouse (formerly OpenFIST) technology in Afghanistan proved very effective in mapping the human terrain. The pilot program employed eight smart phones, in three villages over a 90 day collection effort. This marked the first time relational data had been captured in the field and quickly exploited for tactical and operational use. This technology married with CORE Lab advanced analytical methods (eg., social network analysis) allows commanders to visualize the social space and illuminate social networks in order to craft intervention strategies. The SOF community has requested the CORE Lab to expand the effort in support of village stability operations in Afghanistan. The CORE lab will also expand support to other SOF elements in the Arabian Peninsula and Law Enforcement Agencies like the Salinas Anti-gang Taskforce. An expanded overview is included in the NPS CORE Lab/Lighthouse Executive Summary (click here for more).
95th CA Brigade Commander Visits Defense Analysis
Army COL Jay Wolff, commander of the Army’s only Civil Affairs (CA) brigade and a DA alumni, spent the day at NPS on Jan 24 to get an update on the Special Operations/Irregular Warfare (SO/IW) curriculum and visit with CA officers currently attending the program. After getting an update brief on the curriculum and listening to CORE Lab presentations, COL Wolff had lunch with students and faculty. COL Wolff affirmed his support for the SO/IW program and stated he will try to make sure the CA community gets the right folks in the right numbers into DA. But he noted that both the demands of standing-up a second active duty CA brigade under FORCECOM and the continuing PERSTEMPO of his officers deployed around the world will prevent him from sending the numbers he would like.
ADM McRaven, SOLIC Co-founder and First Graduate, Takes USSOCOM
Adm. William H. McRaven assumed command of U.S. Special Operations Command from Adm. Eric T. Olson during a change of command ceremony here today at the Davis Conference Center.
New Journal--Combating Terrorism Exchange
This is the very first journal built from the ground up exclusively for the CTFP community, which has grown to over 160 countries, and has thousands of participants serving in the military, government, and private and academic sectors. Read the first issue! Second issue available here.
DA Fellow Takes 27 SOW Command
Col. Albert M. "Buck" Elton II, former 1st Special Operations Group commander at Hurlburt Field, Fla., took command of the 27th Special Operations Wing in a change of command ceremony July 8.
|Monterey Herald article examines impact of DA faculty's work on Salinas gangs.|
|Dr. John Arquilla proposes cutting costly defense programs that add little to the National defense... read the full article here in the New York Times.|
New Book Out
Numerous DA Faculty have collaborated on a book entitled Gangs & Guerrillas: Ideas from Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism. Edited by Michael Freeman and Hy Rothstein (read more) ...
Can't wait for the book? Download the PDF here.
DA Grad Lt Col Onufer Makes History
With little to no fanfare, the 16 SOS recently underwent its biennial change of command ceremony Feb. 22, 2011, in the AFSOC Quiet Professional manner. Yet, this was not your typical change of command ceremony. For after the guidon passed to Colonel Onufer, AFSOC then had only the second female in its legendary history commanding an operational flying squadron.