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Research Report: An inside look into the research we fund at NPS
Neutralizing Competitor Power in Africa Using
“The Influence Tracker”

Thanks to initial seed funding from the NPS Foundation in 2018, NPS Associate Professor Dr. Rachel Sigman is studying the power competition between the U.S., China and Russia as it relates to Africa. Her project has since been elevated to "seedling" level and given additional funding in order for her to develop her "influence tracker" tool. Her continued research will help:

  • Ensure countries say “No” to Russia and China when U.S. interests are threatened.
  • Understand and monitor competitor activities and influence.
  • Pursue programs and policies that strengthen U.S. partnerships and deter competitors.

But in order to accomplish those objectives, decision makers in the Department of Defense require analytics to inform our nation's competitive strategy. Sigman's "influence tracker" will meet that need. The web-based tool leverages "big data" to compile and code data from open sources, aggregate that data to create annual influence scores, and analyze trends and changes in those scores.

Sigman's goal for the end state of her research is that it will guide prioritization of Department of Defense programs and investments. Her influence tracker tool can also be applied to other countries and regions of interest.

NPS News: Researchers Aim to Answer 'Could Heavier Set of Curtains Improve Shipboard Sleep?'

Sailors relax in their bunks on board the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis in 2003. A team of NPS researchers is exploring how rack curtains affect quality of sleep. Photo credit: Navy Times via Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Jayme Pastoric/ Navy

Following a pair of deadly warship collisions in the Western Pacific in 2017, the Navy issued formal rest guidance for sailors at sea.

Now the sea service wants to know more about the quality of the sleep sailors are getting.

In a recent study, a Naval Postgraduate School team replaced the standard issue rack curtains on the San Diego-based guided-missile destroyer Paul Hamilton and outfitted its entire berthing with thicker sets. The curtains use a magnet to hold them together in an effort to minimize movement and light infiltration while adding privacy.

Researchers also gave sleep watches to 50 volunteers of varying rates scattered across the ship. Light and temperature monitors were also installed inside and outside of their racks to track environmental changes.

The study is led by Nita Shattuck, a behavioral scientist at the Naval Postgraduate School who has been studying sleep across the fleet since 2002.

“The whole premise is to improve the quality of life of sailors on the ships,” Shattuck told Navy Times in a phone interview.

Read more of the Navy Times article.

Other NPS News Highlights:

NPS Explores Next-Generation Acoustic Detection

Naval War College President Visits NPS

NPS Colloquium to Expand Horizons of Maritime Air and Missile Defense

NPS Experts Help Boy Scout Troops Earn Stem-Based Merit Badges During Campus Visit

Retired Colonel Todd Lyons Joins NPSF as Vice President

Retired Colonel Todd Lyons has joined the NPS Alumni Association and Foundation as Vice President. In his new role with the foundation, he will focus on developing a research portfolio for NPSF fundraising efforts and donor stewardship. Colonel Lyons will serve as the primary liaison between the foundation and NPS in regard to NPS research, and also work closely with the NPSF Funding Committee and NPSF Board of Trustees.

"Given Colonel Lyons' unique perspectives and knowledge of both government and private industry, he will ensure our research funding propels the most strategic projects and ensure that funding is being applied to the greatest effect," says Rich Patterson, CEO of the NPS Foundation. "He will also help coordinate important partnerships and collaborations between NPS and industry contacts."

Prior to beginning his role at the foundation, Colonel Lyons was the Senior Marine Representative and the Associate Dean of Research at NPS during his final assignment in the Marine Corps after 30 years of service. He continues to serve as volunteer lecturer for the Innovation Leadership course at NPS.

During his time in the Marine Corps, he spent significant time in the Middle East, serving as a Marine and Naval Attaché in Qatar, Israel, and Oman. As an attaché, he led strategic planning teams that integrated political, military, informational, and economic efforts to accomplish national policy objectives. Following his tour in Oman, Colonel Lyons served as the Chief of Operations for the Defense Attaché Service, managing a global portfolio of 140 offices including aircraft and maritime platforms. As the Chief of Operations, he planned and directed operations in crisis areas on every continent around the globe.

He is a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School, with a degree in National Security Affairs.

Navy's Chief Learning Officer Visits NPS for Strategic Discussions

Department of the Navy Chief Learning Officer (CLO) John Kroger, right, and Vice Adm. Stuart Munsch, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Development (OPNAV N7), engage with NPS leadership during discussions of the Naval education strategy.

The Navy's Chief Learning Officer John Kroger and Vice Adm. Stuart Munsch, newly-established Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Development (OPNAV N7), visited NPS in February for a series of discussions with leadership and faculty, focused on further implementation of the Education for Seapower (E4S) study and report. According to Kroger, the implementations stemming from the E4S study will impact NPS in a number of ways. The nearest impact involves lab recapitalization, updating research facilities to meet today’s needs, accelerating the capabilities of the broader research enterprise. He also discussed the beginnings of a plan to renovate the central core of the campus to modernize and upgrade buildings.

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Registration and Sponsorship Opportunities Still Open For Golf Tournament

Since 2005, golfers have traveled from across the country to attend our annual America's Heroes Charity Golf Tournament on two of the most exclusive golf courses on the West Coast. Players enjoy 18 spectacular holes of golf with gorgeous coastline views while raising money for wounded veterans and their families. Register today for our 2020 tournament on June 9 at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club.

We have several sponsorship opportunities available for both individuals and corporations. If you're interested or would like more information, email Valerie Jensen at or call the foundation at 831-656-2339.

Did You Know? You Can Buy a Brick on our "Pathway to the Future"

The "Pathway to the Future" project started in 2002 as a fundraiser for the NPS Foundation. The marble bricks are located on Menneken Loop at the end of Spanagel Hall on the NPS Campus.

Make your mark on the NPS campus with a custom brick on our “Pathway to the Future.” These bricks serve as memorials for parents, grandparents, and colleagues, or a way to honor special events, people, and family members. For $100, it’s a unique, lasting way to remember and mark your connection to NPS.

*NPS students and alumni can purchase a brick at the discounted price of $75.

Design Your Brick

Alumni Event Brings Grads Together in the Aloha State

Last month we hosted an alumni gathering in Honolulu, Hawaii for NPS graduates to reconnect and network with each other, and hear from Retired Colonel Todd Lyons, former Senior Marine Corps Representative at NPS. Thank you to all who attended! Our next alumni event will be in Annapolis in May. Stay tuned for more details.


When you give to the NPS Foundation, you help shape our nation's next generation of military leaders and fund essential defense research that protects our troops and our country. Thank you for your generosity!


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