Special Operations Forces (SOF) Spotlight


On September 3, NPSAAF hosted an online discussion focused on Special Operations Forces (SOF) and their evolving role. Admiral Eric Olson, USN (Retired), Colonel John Crisafulli, USA, and CDR Justin Davis, USN, discussed, “U.S. Special Operations Forces – From Counterterrorism To Great Power Competition.” Attended by Defense Analysis alumni and current students, the conversation ranged from the role of SOF in the broader U.S. military to the Human Enhancement and Research Group in development at NPS.

View the recording.


In August, NPS President VADM (Ret) Ann Rondeau was the closing speaker at a two-day virtual conference on the relationship between U.S. Special Operations Forces and Silicon Valley. The event focused on connecting national security leaders with founders, executives, investors, and academics in Silicon Valley. President Rondeau spoke to the importance of a cooperative effort in the development and deployment of cutting-edge technologies. Read more.


Students in the Naval Postgraduate School Defense Analysis Department apply their unique operational experience to relevant research topics in support of the mission of Special Operations Forces. Recent theses from the department can be viewed here.


First American Woman to Walk in Space Speaks to NPS Students

Astronaut and aquanaut Dr. Kathryn Sullivan shared her experiences as one of the first women in the U.S. Astronaut Corp and from her expedition to the depths of the Marianas Trench in the August Secretary of the Navy Guest Lecture (SGL). Dr. Sullivan became the first American woman to walk in space, and her submersible dive this June made her the first person to both orbit the earth and dive to its deepest point. Dr. Sullivan also answered questions from students in both the Oceanography and Space Systems departments. Read more.

View the lecture.


Save the Date

On Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 3:00 PM PDT, the NPS Alumni Association & Foundation will host its next speaker event. The focus will be on the adoption of autonomy across every domain and how we can drive the adoption of the enabling technologies responsibly. The interaction of autonomous systems across the various domains is accelerating with both purpose-built autonomous systems and more traditional defense platforms with autonomous features. The operational environment is becoming more complicated as autonomous systems are networked into hyper-enabled swarms that can operate across multiple domains simultaneously. Disturbingly, the United States may not even be in the lead in adopting these systems. Please join Paul Scharre, author of Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War and Dr. Ray Buettner of the Naval Postgraduate School as they talk about their efforts to understand and develop the advanced capabilities in autonomy to maintain the competitive edge of the United States.


Summer Quarter Awards


Each quarter, NPSAAF awards select NPS faculty and students based on exceptional leadership and academic abilities. While the summer awards ceremony was prevented by safety restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, each recipient will still receive their award. Congratulations to each of our five most recent foundation award recipients:

The Outstanding United States Air Force Graduate Award, Department of National Security Affairs - Capt Kira Carpenter, USAF

The International Student Award for Excellence in Regional or Security Studies -

LtCol Oleksandr Lavrynovski, Ukraine Army

The Louis D. Liskin Award for Excellence in Regional Security Studies -

Major Robert Wallace, USMC

The Richard w. Hamming Award for Excellence in Teaching -

Dr. Rachel Sigman, Assistant Professor, National Security Affairs

The Gary Kildall Award for Computing Innovation - Capt Brandon Hee, USMC


Meet the NPSAAF Advisory Council

We wrap up this month with profiles of our final three advisors


Admiral Eric T. Olson, USN (Ret), served as Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command from July 2007 to August 2011. His other assignments include Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, and SEAL Platoon Commander. He was inducted to the NPS Hall of Fame in November 2012. Read more.


Mr. Bill Warner is co-founder and former Vice President of Sales and Business Development of CacheFlow, now Blue Coat Systems. He previously held executive positions at Silicon Graphics and Sperry-Univac. Mr. Warner was President of the NPS Foundation from 2007-2018. Read more.


Vice Admiral Kevin Cosgriff, USN (Ret), served simultaneously as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and Commander, U.S. Fifth Fleet and the Combined Maritime Forces. His previous assignments included Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group Eight/Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group and Commander, Destroyer Squadron 32. He is President and CEO of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). Read more.


Alumni and current Students, Get Connected!

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