Now Available to Watch: Panel on Innovation as a Strategic Imperative


Earlier this month, we hosted a conversation on educating the next generation of innovation for leaders in national security. Few communities need to innovate more than those in the national security sector, and none face the deep-rooted challenges of the Department of Defense in accelerating the pace of adoption. The panel included Dr. Steven Blank from Stanford University, NPS Professor of Practice CAPT (Ret.) Jeff Kline and Chief Technology Officer for AFWERX Lt Col Jennifer Snow. Watch now.


Face (Masks) of NPS


Our last issue of Faces of NPS in 2020 wouldn't be complete without some images of NPS students wearing their face masks. Still don't have your NPS-branded mask? Order yours today through our Peacock Shop at


Dr. Dusty Hurd, NPS Staff Member
Physical Therapist for future NPS Physical Therapy Center

Dr. Dusty Hurd, DPT, is an orthopedic and sports-based physical therapist. For the past five years, he has worked exclusively with the military, including supervising physical therapy services at the Presidio of Monterey. Soon, he will move into a new role at NPS with the establishment of the new Physical Therapy Center as part of the HERG, or Human Enhancement Research Group

What is your vision for the NPS Physical Therapy Center? 
NPS students and leadership have long discussed the value of having a clinic on campus. Building a PT clinic on campus would dramatically lessen the obstacles of time commitment and travel and improve access to care. The physical therapy center remains in the early stages of development. One day, I envision NPS hosting similar human enhancement capabilities like an olympic training center. Physical therapy will be one aspect of care; the center would also offer physical performance, social, spiritual and cognitive enhancement. This center would offer a platform for student research and education on all things related to human enhancement.

How will NPS students benefit from the PT Center?
For many students at NPS, their time in Monterey is a unique opportunity to take a knee, and fix the issues they may be encountering after years of military service. I look forward to helping those who may be a little "dinged up" return to their baseline. NPS could be the place that not only prepares minds for a continuation of the military career, but also readies their bodies to return to years of further commitment to our nation.

The new center will "bridge the gap between traditional rehabilitation and performance training for modern-day military athletes." Can you describe what that will look like on a practical level? 
Combining principles of movement and exercise coaching with techniques of dry needling, spinal manipulation and a variety of non-traditional methods is where I find the most success in helping to alleviate pain and increase human performance. The physical therapy we offer will be intertwined with the entire process of overcoming injury to elevation to elite levels of performance. NPS students will be less injured and more successful because of their close relationship with physical therapists and other specialists. The integration of multiple experts in a collaborative effort supports bridging the gap between traditional rehab and performance training. Students should depart NPS more motivated, cognitively and physically fit, and less injured than upon arrival. The military athlete typically embodies traits of professionalism, performance and commitment to service. There is not a more inspiring group of individuals to work with.


Major Celestine Lukshis, Student  
U.S. Air Force 

Prior to coming to NPS, Major Celestine Lukshis served as one of the first 24 Flight Commanders at the Air Force’s Basic Military Training Base, hand-selected by the Air Force to transform the training environment culture. During a deployment to Afghanistan, she served as a Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan Personnel/Human Resource Mentor to the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command Staff. Now at NPS, Major Lukshis is a Foreign Area Officer Fellowship student. She recently presented her idea, "Building a platform that leverages AI for talent and experience management within our Armed Forces" at a Business Executives for National Security (BENS) meeting in Silicon Valley. This group includes executives from several leading technology companies and venture capitalists who are interested in partnering with the Department of Defense wherever possible. 

What was your experience like presenting to the BENS group in Silicon Valley?
I presented my idea, which advocates for a new talent management platform that considers more than basic performance records and job data. With the incorporation of artificial intelligence and machine learning, this platform and data from other human resources systems can help Air Force decision-makers identify the right talent for specific mission sets. My idea seemed to be broadly accepted by the BENS executives as most saw the need for it in our current workforce. They suggested contacts and organizations in our Armed Forces communities to reach out and talk to about my project. Two companies offered me the opportunity to present my idea to their group of researchers and industry professionals. The industry professionals could present ways to make this idea a reality. 

What are some highlights from your time at NPS?
I started at NPS in March 2020, so I have never experienced what the school was like before COVID-19. My highlights are when we, students and faculty, can get together and connect. Through the NPS Foundation, we have found new ways to connect. Whether it's a socially distant scavenger hunt on campus with the International Club, online tournaments with the Chess Club, or a Zoom wine tasting with the Wine Club, the highlight is connecting with members of the NPS community.

Why did you initially decide to join the military?
I decided to join the military because of the opportunities and communities that the military could offer. When my family and I immigrated to America from Papua New Guinea, my father enlisted in the U.S. Army. Our first experiences included involvement in the Family Readiness Groups (FRG). The FRG helped our family assimilate into a new culture and provided us opportunities to improve our lives. During high school, I was offered an Air Force ROTC scholarship to the University of Miami. I saw it as a way to give back to a community that had given a lot to my family and me.

What are some of the most significant moments in your military career thus far?
Any moment I could make a difference in someone else's life. As a Captain in Afghanistan, my Special Operations Forces Army Commander allowed me to serve as a Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP) project manager. With that opportunity, I coordinated the movement of $25,000 worth of humanitarian aid to local civilians in the Kunduz province. 

Any goals or aspirations for your future career?
In terms of future goals after NPS, I want to retire as an officer who has helped others. I don't have a specific rank or target job in mind for my future career. The only goal I have is to leave the organization better than it previously was and set my people up for success in their future careers and lives.


Lieutenant Samuel Royster, Student
U.S. Navy

Lieutenant Sam Royster earned his bachelors in Nuclear Engineering from Oregon State University in 2012. As a participant in the Nuclear Officer Propulsion Candidate program, he received his commission from Officer Candidate School shortly after graduating. His first tour was aboard the Los Angeles Class fast attack submarine USS CHARLOTTE (SSN 766), based out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Four years later, Lieutenant Royster transferred to Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center, Sea Combat Division in San Diego where he served as the training lead for the Advanced Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer course. He now serves as an Engineering Duty Officer and is pursuing his degree in mechanical engineering at NPS.

Your research focus is on robotic-assisted hull husbandry for Navy ships and submarines. What inspired your interest in this topic? 
When you see pictures of submarines in movies, their hulls are a smooth, sleek, and torpedo like. In reality, they quickly grow thick algae. And because speed is one of the primary advantages afforded to a nuclear submarine, hull fouling is a major problem. It slows us down, makes us less efficient and makes hull inspection more difficult. Moreover, the existing process for correcting hull fouling is dirty, dull and dangerous work. These factors make hull-husbandry a prime candidate for autonomous system intervention, and I’m hoping that my thesis work can help the Navy move towards a future where ship and submarine hulls are always clean.

What was your experience like presenting this idea to the BENS group in Silicon Valley? 
It was a great capstone-type event for the Sense 21 Innovation Leadership Course at NPS, where I got to solicit feedback on my idea, envisioning story, and the way ahead for my project from some very smart and powerful people I would not normally have networked with. Following the event, I was put in touch with personnel at iRobot, Flir Corporation, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and several other research institutions at the leading edge of unmanned underwater systems development, which will certainly help to provide direction while moving forward with my thesis research.

What have you gained from your time at NPS?
When I arrived at NPS, I had just left the submarine community to join the EDO community, so my professional peer and mentor network shrank drastically. NPS has afforded me the opportunity to interact with my new peer group and network with senior mentors in the community.

What have been some highlights of your military career thus far? 
I was fortunate enough to participate in a Western Pacific deployment when I was onboard the USS CHARLOTTE. As I was nearing the end of my 36-month tour on the CHARLOTTE we were chosen as one of the host boats for the Submarine Commanders Course (SCC), which meant I got to participate in the planning and execution of a lot of rarely executed submarine missions including under-hull periscope reconnaissance, mine field navigation, and a close aboard acoustic intelligence gathering maneuver called an SPL. Also, as CHARLOTTE’s peacetime safety officer, I facilitated the safe launch of 42 MK-48 ADCAP torpedoes during SCC and a preceding exercise, which was a record for junior officers on the waterfront.


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