Tuesday, April 25, 2017

USNA Midshipmen Work to Produce Renewable Energy from Everyday Waste

By MCSN Kaitlin Rowell

A class at the U.S. Naval Academy is working to convert what we think of as everyday garbage into usable energy, a project that supports the Navy’s energy independence goals and potentially changes the way we view waste.

The average American throws away five pounds of trash each day which adds up to 258 million pounds of waste each year according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2014 more than 89 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) were recycled and composted, the highest percentage recycled in the U.S. to date. Unfortunately, even with these efforts, 136 million tons of MSW still ended up in landfills.

 But it turns out, through emerging process in which this waste is collected and process, landfills could be a valuable source of renewable energy.

Patrick Caton, a USNA Mechanical Engineering professor, and the students in his Waste-To-Energy Conversion class are attempting to determine just how much energy can be harnessed from everyday waste.

“This class is about engineering systems that can turn anything that we might consider to be waste into a usable energy source,” said Caton. “We try to take a broad view of waste. The obvious thing people think of when they hear waste is trash, but very quickly I hope students learn to view that more broadly.”

They first collect and sort waste into different categories. They then estimate how much energy each category of trash can produce by weighing it. The samples are then sent to an external lab for further testing, where they will be analyzed by first drying the waste to determine its moisture content, and then put into an oven where its mass loss is measured as it burns. With this information, the lab determines how much ash is produced as well as how much energy is released by measuring the amount of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur and nitrogen. The lab will then send the results back to the students to compare with their original estimates.

“We waste a lot of energy with trash,” said Midshipman 1st Class James Shadow. “Most people don’t do a whole lot of composting, and you can get a lot of energy out of that. You can get a lot of energy out of the trash that’s just sitting in the trash cans. That’s kind of enlightening.”

Using trash as an energy source is a gateway to a healthier environment and allows us to limit our use of fossil fuels, as well as reduce the cost of living.

“One of my goals for my students is to leave this class with a mindset … where the things that may have before been considered unusable or just complete waste actually have value,” said Caton. “I think that's a really important part of managing our energy going forward as a people, as an earth.”

Another project the class is working on is experimenting with food waste from King Hall, the dining facility for the Brigade of Midshipmen.

Midshipman 1st Class Scott Davids explained that by taking the food waste, grinding it up, adding some small bacteria to it and removing the presence of oxygen, an environment is created forcing the bacteria to produce gas. That bio-gas is about sixty to seventy percent methane.

The goal of this is to take decomposing food waste and collect methane to be used for energy.

“The benefit of these projects is getting midshipmen involved and showing opportunities for energy generation in the future,” said Davids. “This is something that is not only really applicable here to learn about in class, but also something that could play a part in our roles in the Navy.”

In 2009, then Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus issued several goals directed at transforming the Department of the Navy’s (DoN) energy use. Among them were to increase total energy consumption from alternative sources to fifty percent by 2020 and reduce petroleum use in the commercial fleet by fifty percent by 2020.

This project provides yet another possible method for achieving those goals.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

USNA Chef Wins United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award

The Naval Academy's Deputy Director of Retail Dining and Executive Chef Eric Lindstrom is one of eight foodservice professionals who won the United Fresh Produce Association's 10th Annual Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards.

These awards honor chefs and their companies for their innovative and influential use of fresh produce in the culinary arts. Winners will be honored guests at the United Fresh 2017 convention and trade show, June 13-15 in Chicago.

"I’m honored to be recognized by United Fresh and PRO*ACT as the 2017 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award winner in the 'College & Universities' category and can’t wait to attend United Fresh 2017, see the latest innovations in fresh produce, and bring back new ideas to serve our guests at the Naval Academy," said Lindstrom.

These winners were selected from more than 100 nominations submitted by produce companies and foodservice operations across North America. A panel of produce and foodservice industry leaders reviewed each nominee's incorporation of fresh produce into menu development, use of food safety protocols for proper storage and handling of produce, leadership in produce-related community service and special events, and recognition by their company and industry peers.

The winners, along with an executive from their company, will attend United Fresh 2017 in Chicago. They also will be featured in a panel discussion on the United Fresh 2017 trade show floor in the FreshMKT Learning Center on Thursday, June 15, and will be presented with their awards during the Retail-Foodservice Celebration Dinner that evening.

Monday, April 17, 2017

USNA Wins Annual NSA Cyber Defense Exercise

Congratulations to the Naval Academy's Cyber Security Team for winning this year's annual Service Academy Cyber Defense Exercise (CDX), hosted by the NSA!

Cyber Security Team Members:
MIDN 1/C Lucas Foppe (Captain)
MIDN 1/C  Jordan Wilhelm
MIDN 1/C Danny Flack
MIDN 1/C Dennis Devey
MIDN 2/C John Trezza
MIDN 2/C Lamont Brown
MIDN 2/C Peter Hodapp
MIDN 3/C Anthony Dohse
MIDN 3/C Brandon Sipes
MIDN 3/C Doug Alpuche
MIDN 3/C Kristina Bodeman
MIDN 3/C Sam Teplov
MIDN 3/C Trent Meekin
MIDN 4/C Caroline Sears
MIDN 4/C Kevin Nguyen

The annual Service Academy CDX began in 2001 and is designed to sharpen the skills of the next generation of cyber warriors by having them work against NSA experts. USNA last won the event in 2015.

The Service Academy Cyber Defense Exercise trophy will
return to USNA this year. USNA last held the trophy the CDX in 2015.

For the past several months leading up to the event, these 15 midshipmen and their counterparts from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, Military Academy, and the Royal Military College of Canada have been preparing for the live competition by building and securing their own networks. During last week's competition, experts from NSA attacked each team's networks, while they attempted to detect and recover from those intrusions and attacks.

The USNA CDX victory comes with annual “cyber bragging rights” among the service academies and alumni in the cyber world where this event is recognized for its significance and difficulty, but also comes with an trophy (pictured above), which will return to Annapolis in the near future for a formal presentation.

Friday, April 14, 2017

USNA Ethics Team Wins Military Ethics Case Competition

The Naval Academy Ethics Team met with teams from West Point, Colorado Springs, the Coast Guard Academy, and Virginia Military Institute April 8 for the 4th Annual Military Ethics Case Competition.

During this competition, the teams each gave 20-minute presentations concerning the Farsi Island incident from January  2016, in which two U.S. Navy Riverine Command Boat crews were taken captive by Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels. Some crew members behaved contrary to the Code of Conduct during their brief captivity.

The teams crafted curricular proposals, using the incident as case study material, for use at their home schools. These proposals would be used to help prepare junior officers for any such future encounters.  A panel of five judges, two from the USNA Class of 1964, one from Boeing corporation, another from First Command Financial Services, and another from the University of Maryland, considered the presentations and engaged each team in an intensive Q&A session after their presentations.

The Naval Academy team, consisting of MIDN 4/C Jonathan Corbin, 3/C Adam Biethman, 3/C Raymond Gerrety and 2/C Marieme Gueye, took first place for the second time in the four-year history of the competition.  The team from West Point took second place, and Air Force landed in third.

This event wraps a very successful year for the  USNA Ethics Team. They began the year taking first place in the Eller College of Management Business Ethics Case Competition held in Tucson at the University of Arizona, followed up in March with a second-place finish in their first visit to the Stetson University Templeton Business Ethics Case Competition in Deland, Florida, before hosting the Military Ethics Case Competition.

The team is generously funded by the USNA Class of 1964 and is coached by Dr. Shaun Baker of the Stockdale Center.

Video of the competition will be available soon on the Stockdale Center's YouTube page.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

USNA Launches Semester Exchange Program with Korean Naval Academy

Naval Academy Superintendent VADM Ted Carter recently signed a memorandum of agreement for a semester exchange program with the Republic of Korea Naval Academy. 

Annapolis will send its first midshipman on exchange there this fall. This is the first semester exchange program for the ROK Naval Academy and the tenth counterpart naval academy semester exchange partner for USNA. 

These kinds of cooperative program enables our midshipmen to better understand another region of the world and other points of view. Each year we will send midshipmen to the ROK Naval Academy and also have the benefit of hosting ROK midshipmen in Annapolis.

Monday, April 10, 2017

"Old Goat" Decanter Passed on to Oldest Active Duty USNA Graduate

Retired Admiral Cecil D. Haney presented the "Old Goat" decanter to the commander of U.S. Pacific Command Admiral Harry B. Harris Saturday, designating him the oldest USNA graduate still on active duty.

Retired Adm. Cecil D. Haney (right) presents the "Old Goat" decanter
to Adm. Harry B. Harris in Memorial Hall.

The decanter is engraved with the initials and class years of previous Old Goats (which include Admiral Alton L. Stock, former USNA Superintendent Vice Admiral Mike Miller, and former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert.)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

USNA Hosts 2017 Joint Service Academy Cyber Security Summit

The United States Naval Academy (USNA) hosted the third annual Joint Service Academy Cyber (JSAC) Security Summit March 23-24.

The annual JSAC Summit aims to strengthen the ties between industry and government organizations, better secure the internet, share best practices and foster stakeholder partnerships to defend and defeat threats facing the nation. Hosted by one of the military service academies, the summit gives future junior officers the opportunity to interact with influential and experienced members of the cyber community.

“By using the service academies as the platform for this annual event, we try to generate discussion amongst entry level officers and leaders who could then network, meet and discuss with experts in the field,” said Paul J. Tortora, director of the Center for Cyber Security Studies. “Policy, academic, military, industry, government, international and domestic are all topics. We are able to talk about how we are educating our future leaders, but also give a leadership perspective on how cybersecurity is used in the fleet, other services, industry and academia. We bring in premier experts who can talk about cyber from all aspects and all angles.”

The summit bought together more than 200 leading information security space representatives from various backgrounds, including all four military service academies, the Defense Department, civilian industry and academia.

The opening keynote provided by Vice Adm. Walter E. “Ted” Carter Jr., USNA superintendent, stressed the significance of cyber education, cyber awareness, and how all warfighters need to be aware of how the cyber domain transcends all of the other traditional domains of air, sea, land, and space.

“A few years ago when I was president of the Naval War College, when then-CNO Admiral Jonathan Greenert, asked me to write about the future of warfare, I didn’t write about the efficacy of our fighter jets or our carriers,” said Carter, holding up his smartphone. “This phone has two to three times the computing power I had in the F-14 in the 1990s. I wrote about cyber operations and the electromagnetic spectrum. By 2020, we’ll have over 100 billion devices connected around the world through the internet of things. Our midshipmen come in as users of the internet, but they may not understand the vulnerabilities. I think the launch of our cyber major is one of the watershed events of all of our major programs.”

The opening panel of the event brought together four former directors of the National Security Agency, an unprecedented gathering in an unclassified setting. Retired Adm. William Studeman, retired Army Gen. Keith Alexander, retired Air Force Lt. Gen Kenneth Minihan and retired Vice Adm. J. Michael McConnell were on the panel moderated by Distinguished Visiting Professor Chris Inglis, former deputy director of the NSA. Spanning the administrations of President Reagan to President Obama, they each provided perspectives on the foundations of cyberspace and its implications for the future.

“The panel's comments could easily serve as the basis of an entire course in cyberpace history, strategy and strategy with a particular emphasis on the implications for present and future national strategy,” said Chris Inglis, the panel’s moderator. “While most in the audience  were familiar with the broad aspects of the period covered, few had ever enjoyed a ringside seat of a discussion on the thinking and events that informed the creation of a new domain and the attendant strategy policy and organization represented in today's United States Cyber Command and its close partner the National Security Agency.”

"The country must mobilize to deal with the growing cyber and information operations threats, especially in cybersecurity,” said Studeman. “Educating our best and brightest ‘People’ is absolutely strategic to improving overall national cyber resilience, and to working with the public and private sides to secure better defenses.”

The summit's emphasis on networking gave students and leaders communication opportunities through networking timeslots, luncheons, receptions and a keynote dinner presentation by Congressman Mike Rogers. In parallel with the summit was a cyber “Capture the Flag” competition. This competition included 36 midshipmen and cadets from USNA, West Point, and the U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard Academies, as well as five sailors from NIOC Pensacola's Cyber Protection Team (CPT) and five participants from the NSA. Over the 8-hour competition, participants were able to showcase their offensive cyber tradecraft in an environment that fostered innovation, teamwork, and problem solving.  More importantly, the USNA team took first place in this inaugural event.

Dr. Martin Libicki, USNA’s Maryellen and Richard L. Keyser distinguished visiting professor in cyber security studies, chaired a panel titled "Responding to Unacceptable State Behavior in Cyberspace" to discuss cybersecurity policy by focusing on a particular question: How should the United States have responded to Russia's hack of the DNC and other political targets? Although no panelist took great exception to what was done, one noted that the problem of Chinese hacking of U.S. corporations took five years to resolve, and no one should expect that the problem of Russian hacking of the U.S. political system would be solved much faster. Another offered that the problem of Russian hacking was a subset of protecting the West from a formerly defensive but not increasingly aggressive Russia; it should not be viewed as simply a cyberspace problem. His panel included Dr. James A. Lewis, distinguished visiting professor in cyber security studies at USNA.

“Conferences like these give us an opportunity to lay the foundations for jointness with future generations of officers," said Lewis, who also serves as senior vice president for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

The second day was opened by Mark McLaughlin, chairman and CEO of the Palo Alto Networks and a 1988 West Point graduate. His comments were focused on how to use the collective wisdom of those experts in the audience along with all of the midshipmen and cadets who are at the academic “ground zero” of military professional development to ensure that cybersecurity can be managed and its threats minimized in both the public and private domains, while taking advantage of all the cyber domain has to offer.

“The Naval Academy hosts many large-format conferences and symposia each year, so we're pretty experienced in this area,” said Andrew Phillips, the USNA’s academic dean and provost. “But this was our first time hosting the JSA Cyber Summit, and wow … did this event really exceed all expectations!  It's possible that the JSA Cyber Summit this year included the most impressive set of speakers and panels we have ever hosted in one event. Since our goal at Navy is to be the national leader in undergraduate cyber education, it seems fitting to me that we would – and should – play host to just this kind of event as often as possible.”

On the second day, Carter spoke on a panel along with his West Point counterpart, Army Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, and Air Force Lt. Gen William Bender, the USAF chief information dominance officer and chief information officer. The panel focused on service-specific approaches to cyber education and training, during which each of the distinguished panelists was able to briefly explain the importance each service and service academy places on ensuring that all of our future leaders have a deeper understanding and awareness of how the cyber domain will impact them, regardless of their specific community or operational specialty.

In a panel discussion entitled “The Future of Cybersecurity Regulation,” moderated by Jeff Kosseff, assistant professor of cyber law at USNA, the audience heard panelists’ predictions for the enforcement of cybersecurity laws by federal and state regulators. The panel consisted of Doug Gansler, the former Maryland attorney general; Marc Groman, former privacy adviser to President Obama; Nancy Libin, former Justice Department chief privacy and civil liberties officer; Robert Schoshinski, assistant director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Privacy & Identity Protection; and Emery Simon, counsel to Business Software Alliance, Inc. Among other issues, the panelists discussed the likelihood that Congress would replace the 47 state data breach notification laws with a consistent national standard. The panelists also engaged in a spirited debate about privacy and government surveillance.

The two-day summit brought a total of five panels and five keynote presentations to the C-suite level crowd and young students and professionals. The collaboration-encouraging environment helped to establish a rapport with the broader cyber community which our future leaders here at USNA will enter.

“This was a great collection of cyber geniuses,” said Midshipman 4th Class Rae-Kelly Hamilton. “For the professionals, I am sure it was beneficial to exchange ideas and thoughts. As a young person just stepping into my career in the cyber domain, it was a great inspiration-endowing and thought-provoking experience. I look forward to attending next year!”

The closing keynote address was provided by Mr. Rick Ledgett, NSA deputy director.

"We must strive to harness the knowledge and creativity of our collective workforces and to provide a culture that embraces diversity of thought and ideas and inspires people to think outside of the box when it comes to meeting emerging cyber challenges, said Ledgett.

Ledgett also serves on the USNA’s Cyber Board of Advisors and has been closely involved and engaged in the continued development of cyber education at the academy.

"In a world where technology changes constantly and our adversaries' tradecraft evolves just as rapidly, we have no other choice than to partner to make our critical national security systems and the nation's critical infrastructure more resilient,” he said. “I've seen the incredible things that smart motivated people can do when faced with seemingly intractable problems. We can get there together, and we must.”

“All in all, this was a fantastic, meaningful, and collaborative event for all of the Service Academies,” said Tortora. “The Naval Academy Center for Cyber Security Studies will continue to seek ways such as this to spotlight the great efforts of our staff, faculty, and Midshipmen in leaning forward on this nationally significant field of study.”

Information about USNA’s Cyber Science Dept. can be found at https://www.usna.edu/CyberDept/. Information about USNA’s Center for Cyber Security Studies can be found at https://www.usna.edu/CyberCenter/

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Faculty Promotions & Tenure

Congratulations to our awesome faculty on their promotions!

Granted tenure in their current position of Associate Professor effective mid-August 2017:

Hezi Y. Brosh Languages and Cultures Department

Associate Professor with tenure effective mid-August 2017:

Rajratan Basu, Physics
Justin A. Blanco, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Kostyantyn Medynets, Mathematics
Captain Elizabeth R. Sanabia, USN, Oceanography 
Gavin W. Taylor, Computer Science
Thomas K. Ward, English

Full Professor effective mid-August 2017:
Lori L. Bogle, History
Peter Joyce, Mechanical Engineering
Christopher L. Pettit, Aerospace Engineering
Ryan N. Rakvic, Electrical & Computer Engineering
Robert S. Stone, Languages & Cultures
Vrej A. Zarikian, Mathematics

Friday, March 24, 2017

Mid Attends International Cadets Conference

From the USNA International Programs Office

Midshipman 1st Class Thomas Giornelli attended the International Cadets Conference March 2-6 at the National Defense Academy (NDA) of Japan.

Giornelli, from 26th Company, was selected to participate in this event due to the three years he spent studying the Japanese language at the Naval Academy.

The International Cadets Conference is week-long conference that the National Defense Academy has hosted since 1998. Cadets from countries all around the world are invited to the conference to discuss global security and build mutual understanding.

The topics discussed at this year’s International Cadets Conference related to leading in the changing battlefields of today’s wars: Leadership in Joint Operations, Multinational Operations, Cyber Security, and Anti-Terrorism. Giornelli was assigned to the session discussing leading in joint operations.

“We were required to discuss how our academies prepare us for leading these operations, but before this conference I really didn’t know too much about them,” said Giornelli.

Giornelli was the only student from his group who came from a non-joint academy.

“I ended up talking a lot about how our school prepares us to work in an environment with both Sailors and Marines, like a Marine Expeditionary Unit. I think it’s the most likely joint operation an academy graduate would be assigned to.”

The conference also provides opportunities for foreign cadets to experience the Japanese culture. On their first day at the conference, all cadets and midshipmen took part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, performed by the Tea Ceremony Club of the NDA.

The tea ceremony is a way Japanese hosts welcome guests into their home that dates back Muromachi period (1336-1573). The host ceremoniously brews a cup of green tea, called matcha, and serves it to his guests.

The next day, the cadets and midshipmen experienced a traditional form of Japanese comedy called Rakugo. It is similar to western stand-up comedy, where a single performer called a rakugoka tells humorous stories while kneeling politely in the seiza on stage using only a single fan as a prop.

The visiting midshipmen and cadets also participated in sports and club activities every day.

“After the conference work was over for the day, we were given free reign to workout with whatever club or team we wanted to,” said Giornelli. “I am actually the president of the Navy Judo club back at the academy, so I got to work out with their Judo team. Everyone there was so kind to me, letting me walk in on their practices and work with them. They had some intense workouts. In fact, I got to work with one of their best players, who’s the current collegiate champion in Japan.”

He also visited the Sensoji Temple, a Buddhist temple in the Asakusa district of Tokyo that serves as a large tourist attraction while remaining an operating temple. It is famous for its incense burning around the area, which according to legend, can make those who breathe it in smarter.

Giornelli’s Japanese hosts then took him to the city of Yokohama, just south of Tokyo. Yokohama is a famous port city in Japan, and one of the first to open its doors to all westerners after the arrival of Commodore Perry in the 1850s. As such, the Japanese consider it to be a very westernized city, in contrast to the traditional Asakusa district. They visited the Japanese Coast Guard Museum there, where the remains of a captured North Korean spy ship is held.

“This conference was one of the best experiences of my life. I made friends from around the world, and learned a great deal about other services around the world,” said Giornelli. “I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to participate in the International Cadets Conference, and I hope to work with my new friends in future operations someday.”

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Family, Intensity, and Loyalty: How Navy Women’s Hockey is Breaking Molds and Heading to Nationals

By MIDN 2/C Jack Thoene

The Navy Women’s Hockey team is a program less than a decade old and boasts a roster where less than 50% of the team ever stood on the ice before their freshman year. This year, for the first time ever, the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s National tournament has the Navy women on their radar. The team advanced to nationals in February and will compete next week in Columbus, Ohio.

Upon their arrival, more than a few heads are going to turn - not because of their hockey style, but because of their lifestyle. Simply put, the soon-to-be junior officers in the United States Navy and Marine Corps don’t put the game of hockey at the top of their priority list. That spot is reserved for each other.

They are a family, through and through, headed by their team captain MIDN 1/C Claire Clark.

“The defining element of this program is the team culture. Our success on the ice this season is a direct product of a team environment where selflessness and loyalty are valued above all else," said Clark. "The game itself is infinitely more fun when we just get out there to play for each other and nothing else."

MIDN 2/C Liz Cameron turned down a walk-on varsity soccer team position.

“I grew up playing soccer and the thought of playing hockey never crossed my mind," said Cameron." When the captain of the hockey team my plebe year, a 1/C in my company, offered to throw me in skates, I was hesitant. The instant I walked into the locker room I knew something about this team was different. It wasn’t about the hockey. Sure, the hockey brings the group of girls together, but we are a team of sisters because we care about the person under the gear.”
When observing the team from the sidelines and bleachers, the program is clearly a strong regional competitor despite the fact that the majority of the players have skated less than three years. The team only recently made “club” status, and only two years ago they dressed out in an industrial concrete back room with no place to store their cold, wet gear.

They soon graduated to a conference room, eventually finding a home in the locker room they have now. At first glance, this team’s rapid development and competitive successes are hard to believe; they shouldn’t be the nationals-bound team they are. Yet here they are, establishing their legitimacy as a high-caliber team by putting up fights and even defeating women who are quite literally twice their size.

What makes them different, of course, is what happens on the benches and in the locker rooms, and even back inside Bancroft Hall. The team fosters a nurturing atmosphere, one of mentorship and benevolence, bestowing hard-won wisdom upon the underclass midshipmen as they mature. When each woman gets on the ice, she doesn’t have to worry about what’s going on in her personal life. No matter what, her teammates have her back. It’s not about hockey; it’s about learning life and basic leadership through hockey.

The unique thing about them is that their competitive drive already governs their behavior on and off the ice, thanks to the selection process of the Academy. The team culture need only mold, not forge, the women to create intense loyalty to one another and their team, fostering a teamwork mentality coaches can only hope for. These women may be loud, vivacious, compassionate, and unassuming - and if you step on the ice on any given day, they’ll show you the Navy Women’s Hockey way.

Back to the basics: selflessness, loyalty, intensity. NWH is a family through and through.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

USNA Holds Submarine Service Selection Dinner

By MC2 Tyler Caswell

The Navy's top submarine commander welcomed the future submariners of the U.S. Naval Academy's Class of 2017 to the fleet at a dinner and reception Feb. 27.

Commander, Submarine Forces, Vice Adm. Joe Tofalo addressed the 134 first-class midshipmen who were selected to be submariners about the current and future capabilities status of the submarine community.

"You are the future of the submarine community, and we need you to ... step up to be part of this legacy we have," said Tofalo. "If you think about a submarine, there is not one single defensive weapon on a sub. We are all teeth."

Tofalo said that during World War II submarines made up less than 2 percent of U.S. Navy forces but were responsible for about 55 percent of maritime losses.

"Now submarines are responsible for over 50 percent of our nation's nuclear weapons," he said.

The assignment dinner is an annual event and represents a unique opportunity for the midshipmen to meet fleet submarine officers and be welcomed into the community.

"All of these senior submarine officers are here tonight, because they want to be here with you," said Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter. "I am thrilled you are here tonight. This is a special community. The past warrior spirit of the Navy is here, and I believe the future of warfare is here in this class of 2017."

Midshipmen were greeted by senior submarine officers including Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Integration of Capabilities and Resources Vice Adm. Joe Mulloy, Director of Strategic Systems Programs Vice Adm. Terry Benedict, Director of Innovation, Technology Requirements and Test & Evaluation Rear Adm. David J. Hahn, and Program Executive Officer for Submarines Rear Adm. Michael E. Jabaley.

"It’s exciting because we are offered a perspective at the highest level," said Midshipman 1st Megan Hartman. "We get an overall view of what the submarine community is doing as a whole. It’s really valuable to have them here giving an overarching picture of the community they are welcoming us into."

The Naval Academy Class of 2017 received their service assignments Nov. 17, 2016, and will graduate May 26.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

U.S. Naval Academy Hosts Dinner Honoring Future Marine Corps Officers

The Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps visited the U.S. Naval Academy Feb. 16 to participate in a service assignment dinner and reception at Dahlgren Hall honoring the Class of 2017’s future Marine officers.

Gen. Glenn M. Walters addressed 267 first-class midshipmen who were selected for service assignment in the Marine Corps. Walters spoke about new implementations of platforms and technologies, but insisted the Marine Corps’ most valuable assets are the young men and women who lead Marines into combat.

"You are our real competitive advantage," said Walters. "The young men and women who are trained in an institution like this, who will raise your hand in one hundred days, are our greatest advantage. You are our center of gravity.”

Senior leaders from the Marine community and academy faculty celebrated the heritage, responsibility and camaraderie the midshipmen will inherit as members of the Corps.

“The opportunity you have that lies before you is an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Commandant of Midshipmen Col. Stephen Liszewski. “It is the chance to live a life of substance and a life of consequence. I am excited for your future, and even more than that, I am excited to serve with you in our great Marine Corps in the years ahead.”

The Naval Academy Class of 2017 received their service assignments in November. As they get closer to graduation, they have the opportunity to celebrate their future service with their peers and mentors during the annual community dinners.

“It feels great to have an event like this,” said Midshipman 1st Class Kerri Haller. “Everyone is here to help us and give us guidance. All of us are starting a new career path, in a new service, and this welcoming support makes the transition much easier.”

“It’s really quite an honor to be here with all of the current and future Marine aviators of my class,” said Midshipman 1st Class Cori Caggiano. “It feels like a culminating event that really celebrates everything we have been working towards the past three and a half years.”

After graduation, the newly-commissioned second lieutenants will head to the Basic School in Quantico, Va. to prepare them for duty as company grade officers in the operating force.

“Here at USNA, we have the rare and amazing experience to have leadership from the communities we are entering teach and guide us throughout our time here,” said Midshipman 1st Class Elizabeth Field. “Even tonight, we have the opportunity to speak with some of the highest-ranking officers who hold the job or position that we could possibly have one day. It’s a very humbling experience.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Spring Semester Brigade Commander Encourages Midshipmen to “Be Worthy”

No one was more surprised than Naval Academy Midshipman 1st Class Isabel Krause when she was selected for the brigade commander position for spring semester 2017. 

"There are people at this institution who are very amazing, who are ten times more qualified than I am for this billet," said Krause. "I'm fortunate most of them are on my staff so I get to work with those people every single day."

A self-proclaimed "Navy brat," Krause has lived in a lot of different places, so claiming a hometown is complicated. She graduated high school in Naples, Italy. Her parents - both '93 grads - now live in Davidsonville, Maryland. Her father, Cmdr. Jeff Krause, is a naval aviator currently working with Foreign Area Officers at the Pentagon.

Though the daughter of USNA alumni, she never seriously considered attending the academy until her junior year of high school. She had always been attracted to military service, but thought she wanted to do something like the Reserve Officer Training Corps and attend a civilian college.

"I grew up surrounded by people who dedicated their lives to service, but I didn't think that path would take me to the Naval Academy. I thought I wanted something different. I was wrong."

She's grateful she made the decision. 

"This place is amazing," said Krause. "Everybody's very like-minded. Everyone really buys into the bigger picture. Everybody's driven to be a part of something bigger than them. That binds us all together."

The experiences and relationships she has built here make for a special connection between her classmates, she said.

Only about six weeks into the job of running the brigade staff (which in turn runs the entire 4,400-strong Brigade of Midshipmen), Krause has already learned a lot about practical leadership.

"Learning how to empower my regimental commanders" has been an eye-opening experience, she said. Understanding how to motivate people with very different leadership styles themselves has been an interesting challenge for her. 

"How you deliver tasks or how you deliver your vision to different people is going to get you different results," she said. "It's probably been one of the coolest things so far about the job."

Krause, a systems engineering major with a minor in Spanish, always expected she would be an aviator, but after spending time in the submarine community during summer cruise, she changed her mind. She found the same drive that attracted her to the Naval Academy among the officers and enlisted on the submarine and was hooked. 

"The mission and the people are 100 percent exactly what I'm interested in."

She'll start her career by attending Nuclear Power School after graduation this May with the goal of becoming a submarine officer, but until then she has a big vision for the brigade. Her overarching theme for her peers is "Be worthy." She wants to encourage other midshipmen to not just put the checks in the box to get to graduation but to actively develop themselves into future leaders.

There are three areas of focus she emphasizes: integrity in all things, by which she means not just do the right thing, but hold others to a higher standard; 360 degree leadership, which means providing leadership up and down the chain of command and also to one's peers; and ownership, being all in.

"Inspirational leadership shouldn't just come from a first class midshipman," said Krause. "You can inspire your peers as well. A lot of times people think inspirational leadership is only top-down."

In addition to serving as the highest-ranking midshipman this semester, Krause keeps herself busy as a member of the USNA Gospel Choir and as a high jumper on the Women’s Track Team. Her younger sister, Victoria, is a member of the Class of 2018, currently studying abroad in Spain.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Brigade Boxing: MIDN 3/C John Makiling

The 76th Annual Brigade Boxing Championships will take place Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. in Alumni Hall. We reached out to the midshipmen involved in this year's boxing program to get some insight into the lessons boxing provides them as future officers.

MIDN  3/C John Makiling, competing in the 165-lb division: "Boxing is a way of life. Everyone fights for some type of success in their own way. I love boxing because it gives me a simulation of combat that I will encounter in my military career. I hope to inspire others to battle anything with perseverance, determination, and heart. It has developed me by instilling discipline through training and the willingness to win during a fight."

As part of the academy’s physical education program, all midshipmen are required to participate in boxing, and boxing is also offered as a club sport at the Academy. The boxing team participates in invitational competitions in the fall and spring, as well as in ongoing intramural bouts. The Brigade Boxing Championship showcases the most elite midshipmen boxers, each performing in three-round matches within their weight class.

Friday, February 10, 2017

USNA Hosts Annual Astronaut Convocation

By MCSN Kaitlin Rowell

The United States Naval Academy hosted its annual Astronaut Convocation Feb. 9 in Alumni Hall.

This year’s theme focused on the future of human space exploration to Mars. The Brigade of Midshipmen had an opportunity to engage in a panel discussion with four USNA graduates who went on to become astronauts and leaders in field of space exploration.

The panel members took turns discussing various topics including NASA’s role in commercial space travel, as well as speaking to the midshipmen about the importance of their future roles as military leaders.

“You will be wearing the uniform of the most powerful military in the world,” said retired Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr. (USNA '68), former NASA administrator. “You’re training to lead it. You’re training to lead young men and women who have to believe in you. You learn something here in your core values training that is not just words; it is really important. You are the leaders of the world and people look to us wherever we go.”

Capt. Chris Cassidy (USNA '93), chief of the NASA Astronaut Office, spoke about the training cycle NASA uses for preparation and the how crews assigned today are the ones that will be performing missions beginning in 2019.

“It takes about two and a half years of training to get to the point of launch,” said Cassidy. “Much like a pre-deployment work up cycle that we all experience or you guys will experience in the Navy.”

Capt. Michael Lopez-Alegria (USNA '80), and Capt. Bruce McCandless (USNA '58) also sat on the panel. Additionaly, eight more of the Naval Academy’s 53 astronaut graduates were in attendance.

The annual astronaut convocation is designed to provide a unique and valuable interaction for the midshipmen as they look ahead to their own careers.

“I’ve been interested in space for a long time,” said Midshipman 4th Class Brendan Finn. “I thought it was really neat hearing the different perspectives from each of the astronauts, especially since each had a different job at NASA.”

Air Boss Welcomes USNA’s Future Naval Aviators

By MC2 Tyler Caswell

The U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) held its annual aviation community assignment dinner and reception Feb. 8 at Dahlgren Hall.

Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker (USNA ’82), commander, Naval Air Forces, addressed 310 first-class midshipmen who were selected to serve in the Navy aviation community about the status of current and future platforms and the state of naval aviation.

"Across our community, there is no better time to be a naval aviator," said Shoemaker. "There are plenty of opportunities to fight, fly and lead.”

Shoemaker emphasized that the training the midshipmen received during their four years at the Naval Academy will prove to be the backbone of their careers.

"The principles you have learned here, the work ethic you have developed and your commitment to something bigger than yourself will guide you and sustain you in the fleet," he said. "I have every confidence in each and every one of you.”

Senior leaders from the naval aviation community – including Adm. Bill Moran, vice chief of Naval Operations; Vice Adm. Joseph Rixey, director, Defense Security Cooperation Agency and Vice Adm. John Aquilino, deputy chief of Naval Operations for Operation, Plans and Strategy – joined representatives from aviation commands worldwide to celebrate the midshipmen’s choice to fly.

“I’m excited that I get to hear about other officers' fleet experiences,” said Midshipman 1st Class Olivia McQuade, class of 2017’s highest ranked naval flight officer selectee. “It really helps put us in a mindset of what to expect after graduation. It’s an in-depth look at the community we are joining.”

The Naval Academy Class of 2017 received their service assignments last November, marking a milestone that puts them one step closer to joining the fleet and Marine Corps as commissioned officers.

“It’s really quite an honor to be here with all of the current and future aviators of my class,” said Midshipman 1st Class Scotty Davids, class of 2017’s highest ranked pilot selectee. “It feels like a culminating event that really celebrates everything we have been working towards the past three and a half years.”

After graduation, the newly-commissioned ensigns will head to Pensacola, Fla. for flight training.

“When you take in our Marine Corps brothers and sisters, there are over 400-strong that will go into naval aviation from your class,” said USNA Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter. “Over 40 percent of your class will wear naval aviation wings of gold. Congratulations on your choice. The future is bright.”

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

In October, three midshipmen and one professor from the U.S. Naval Academy joined approximately 14,000 women and 1,000 men from more than 80 countries at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, in Houston, Texas.

MIDN 2/C Hanna Urbaczewsky, MIDN 2/C Svetla Walsh, and MIDN 3/C Sarah Barkley all earned scholarships to attend the event, together with Assoc. Prof. Adina Crainiceanu from the Computer Science Department.

“I had a phenomenal experience,” said Urbaczewsky, a computer science major. “Attending this conference improved my confidence as a leader and as a woman studying computer science. While the sessions were not designed specifically for military leaders, I was able to take away many of the lessons and apply them to my career as a future naval officer.”

Named for computer science pioneer RDML Grace Hopper, this event brings together people from across the computer science community for three days of technical talks, career mentoring, networking, and recruiting.

“The Grace Hopper Conference was one of the most empowering and informative experiences I have had during my short tenure in the field of computer science,” said Barkley. “I was able to attend a number of relevant and poignant panels on current technological innovations such as machine learning, as well as further discussions on being a woman in this traditionally male-dominated industry.”

The conference included a large expo, featuring hundreds of companies and organizations spanning all levels of industry, government, and academia. The list of keynote speakers at the conference included Ginni Remetty, IBM’s president and CEO; Dr. Latanya Sweeney, Harvard professor and director and founder of Data Privacy Lab; and Megan Smith, chief technology officer for President Obama’s administration.

“Going to the Grace Hopper Conference only inspired and pushed me to take on challenges that the tech field offers. It is where I observed and learned how an idea can become a reality with code and that data is the ‘new fossil fuel of the 21st century,’” said Walsh. “I am excited for the future of technology and want to continue to be part of the forefront of pushing the boundaries of what being able to program allows us to do. Grace Hopper's influence has definitely inspired me to not back down when faced with a programming challenge.”

Prof. Crainiceanu said that attending Grace Hopper Celebration is one of the most empowering and exciting events for women in computing.

“Seeing thousands of women in computing, all in one place, hearing about their accomplishments, attending the talks, energizes you and gives you a sense of community,” she said. “I hope that USNA will continue to support midshipmen and faculty attendance at this wonderful event.”

RDML Hopper received her PhD from Yale in 1934 and her commission in the Navy in 1943.  Her contributions to computer science were immense, influencing computer scientists even today.  Perhaps her biggest contribution was the creation of the compiler, which greatly eased the work needed to write software, opening programming up to a much larger community of developers.  After a career featuring several congressional and presidential exceptions to mandatory retirement, RDML Hopper was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and retired for the final time in 1986.  On November 22, 2016, RDML Hopper was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  She is the namesake of the Naval Academy’s new cybersecurity academic building, Hopper Hall.

Monday, February 6, 2017

USNA Debate Team Hosts Annual Tournament

The Naval Academy Debate Team recently hosted its 58th annual debate tournament, now called the Crowe- Warken Debates, in Annapolis.

Boasting more than 250 attendees from 27 different universities across the country, the tournament asked college students to debate the following resolution: “The United States Federal Government should establish a domestic climate policy, including at least substantially increasing restrictions on private sector emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States.”

The tournament is named after Admiral William J. Crowe, who founded the debate team as a midshipman in 1946 and whose estate is one of its significant donors, and Dr. Phillip Warken, who was the director of debate at the academy for 35 years, from 1964-1999.

The varsity division was won by the University of Georgia’s Johnnie Stupek and Nathan Rice, who beat Cornell University in the final round.  The junior varsity division was won by Liberty University and the novice division was won by George Mason University.  Navy’s junior varsity team of Midshipmen 3rd Class Campbell German and Andrew Yu participated in the quarterfinal round. Navy’s team captain Midshipman 1st Class Alex Mueller and the rest of the squad provided logistical assistance to attendees.

“The University of Georgia has always enjoyed participating in the Crowe-Warken debates, and this year was no different. We've been lucky enough to enjoy some success in Annapolis over the years,” said University of Georgia Assistant Director of Debate Hays Watson. “It's a wonderful place, a wonderful tournament, with wonderful competitors.  We're excited to defend our title next year.”

Navy’s debate team has had a successful season with multiple elimination round appearances, including novice finals at Georgia State University and junior varsity semifinals at the University of Miami.  They will round out their season with appearances at James Madison University, the District Seven NDT Qualifier, the American Debate Association National Tournament at George Mason University, and, if they qualify, the National Debate Tournament at Kansas University.

Friday, January 27, 2017

U.S. Naval Academy Holds Ship Selection for Class of 2017’s Future Surface Warfare Officers

Two hundred forty-four U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) midshipmen selected the ships they will serve on after graduation during Ship Selection Night Jan. 26 in Alumni Hall.

During Ship Selection, first class midshipmen assigned to the surface warfare officer (SWO) community choose their first ship and homeport.

“For SWO selects, this is the single biggest moment of their time at USNA other than commissioning,” said Lt. Nick Driscoll, Ship Selection Coordinator for 2017. “This is a unique opportunity for these Midshipmen to hand select their ship and homeport. From now on, their time in the Navy will be spent putting in preferences and crossing their fingers that they get what they requested.”

The midshipmen Overall Order of Merit is used to organize the order for selection. The factors that go into Overall Order of Merit include each midshipman's academic, military, and athletic performance.

“No matter what ship everyone chooses, we are all here to support the overall mission of sea control,” said Midshipman 1st Class Jacob Wirz, who made the night’s first selection of USS Porter (DDG 78) homeported in Rota, Spain. “It’s a great fun-filled night, but this is just the beginning. We are still continuing to prepare and train for the challenges we will face when we arrive at the ships we’ve chosen.”

Senior leaders from the surface warfare community – including Commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command Adm. Philip S. Davidson and Commander of Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden – joined representatives from fleet ships around the world in welcoming the first class midshipmen into the SWO community.

“Give it everything you’ve got,” said Rowden. “The men and women you will be leading will look to you for guidance. The Naval Academy has given you the best training and the best foundation you can be provided. You have all the tools in your tool kit to do the best you can at your job.”

During summer cruises midshipmen embark upon Navy ships to get more experience as junior officers. Commanding officers of those ships can offer “blue chips” to midshipmen who especially impress them, which give them an automatic spot in that wardroom if they choose to take it. Midshipman 1st Class Samantha Young was offered one for USS America (LHA 6) out of San Diego, Calif.

“I’m beyond excited I was able to select the ship I wanted,” said Young. “USS America is deploying in July, and I’m excited to get there and try to make a positive impact on the crew.”

After choosing their ships, future junior officers continue to hone and develop their leadership and professional knowledge to prepare for their first duty assignments.

“I’m going to take a little time to be around my friends and classmates. It’s coming down to the last time we will all be together,” said Midshipman 1st Class Taylor Kipilli, who selected USS Port Royal (CG 73) out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. “But I’m still honing my leadership skills so I can bring the best me to the ship when I get out there.

The Class of 2017 will graduate and receive their commissions May 26.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Midshipman Receives MLK Drum Major Award

By MC2 Brianna Jones

Naval Academy Midshipman 1st Class Megan Rosenberger, chief of staff for the Midshipman Action Group (MAG), received the 2017 Drum Major Award for her distinguished service at the 29th Annual Anne Arundel County Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Dinner Jan. 13.

Rosenberger is the first midshipman to receive this prestigious award as well as the youngest recipient in Anne Arundel County.

Founded in 1988, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee was designed to honor Dr. King’s legacy in Anne Arundel County. The MLK Drum Major Award is a way to celebrate those who perform extraordinary everyday acts of service with reliability and commitment but seldom receive recognition.

The award was inspired by King’s famous sermon about the drum major instinct. According to King, people with this trait desire to be out front, leading others. 

King asked to be remembered as one who tried to live his life serving others. He implored his congregation to remember his attempts to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort prisoners.

‘‘Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice,’’ said King in a 1968 sermon. ‘‘Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter."

Through MAG, Rosenberger has been involved in  numerous outreach projects for Annapolis and surrounding communities including the Harvest for the Hungry food drive, the Arbor Day Park Clean-up, 9/11 Day of Service, Toys for Tots, Linda’s Legacy, Asbury Methodist Church Food Pantry, Saint Luke’s Church Clean-up, and Special Olympics.

“To me, Harvest for the Hungry was the most memorable and the most inspiring event of 2016 because of the amount of midshipmen that got on board and wanted to help,” said Rosenberger. “I was honored to be there and just watch all of it happen.”

Rosenberger has been a member of the Harvest for the Hungry team all four years she has been at USNA and has overseen the collection efforts the past two years as project manager. Since she became involved with the program in 2013, USNA has collected more than 250,000 pounds of food for the Anne Arundel Food and Resource Bank. This past fall, Megan and her team collected a record-breaking 80,000 pounds of food for Harvest for the Hungry. 

Even with a rigorous course load and the military demands of being a midshipman, Rosenberger has always made giving back to the community a priority. Growing up, her grandfather was involved in his local community in any way he could be, which instilled a sense of service in Rosenberger from a young age.

“Growing up and seeing him be so selfless brought about a culture of service in our family,” said Rosenberger.  “To come to the Naval Academy and continue different service projects and get involved in MAG just seemed right, because my family always made that a priority.”

“From her very first days at the Naval Academy,  Megan has been caring for our greater Annapolis communities by tirelessly doing for others and by building hope with every step of her impactful community engagements,” said Miriam Stanicic, USNA community relations director and former recipient of the MLK Drum Major Award. “We could not be prouder of her resounding leadership.”

Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others.”

For Rosenberger, the answer to this question is impacting and encouraging peer leadership, teamwork and goodwill towards others through her tireless devotion to her local community.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Midshipman Awarded Navy and Marine Corps Medal for Heroism

A U.S. Naval Academy midshipman received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal Jan. 10 in front of the entire Brigade of Midshipmen assembled in Alumni Hall.

Midshipman 3rd Class Jonathan Dennler received the medal, the highest non-combat decoration awarded for heroism by the U.S. Department of the Navy, for heroic actions while leading a Boy Scout troop in July 2016.

While camping in Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, the troop experienced a major storm with up to 80 mile-per-hour gusts and lightning strikes. Two trees fell on the campsite, killing a scout and an adult volunteer and severely injuring others.

When Dennler couldn't contact anyone on the radio for help, he canoed more than 1.5 miles at night in 60 mile-per-hour winds to a ranger station to bring back help and medical supplies.

The Navy and Marine Corps Medal falls in order of precedence just below the Distinguished Flying Cross and above the Bronze Star. It was first bestowed during World War II, to then Lt. j.g. John F. Kennedy. Only about 3,000 have been given since. To win this award, there must be evidence that the act of heroism involved very specific life-threatening risk to the awardee.

The award came as a surprise to both Dennler and his classmates, who listened in silence while academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter read the award citation then gave him a rousing standing ovation.

“It was an incredibly humbling and unexpected experience,” said Dennler. “I'm very thankful to everyone who helped to make that happen and for the support of my family and friends.”

The award wasn’t a surprise to his parents, who also attended the award presentation. Dennler’s mother, Monica Dennler, described her son as “persistent and tenacious.”

“He knows how to persevere and has a kind heart,” she said. “He was the only one who knew what to do back in high school when a classmate broke their leg at a basketball game, because he was an Eagle Scout.”

“He is a quiet young man who would not want a big fuss, but rightfully deserves it,” said 20th Company Senior Enlisted Leader Chief Electronics Technician Nicholas Howell. “Out of his classmates, he is the one who has the level head to think clearly and decisively act to contain the situation and help bring about the best possible solution.”

Dennler is a political science major and member of 20th Company. He completed two years of college at George Washington University before transferring to the Naval Academy.

“USNA has taught me how to work and think in environments where many things are out of my control, and I think the academy helps to create mindsets that put others first,” said Dennler. “I am incredibly thankful for those lessons.”

An active member of the academy's Semper Fi Society, he hopes to serve in the Marine Corps after graduating from the academy in 2019.