Space Ref l Northrop Grumman, George Mason University to Support STEM Education With Virginia Elementary School Educators

May 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Northrop Grumman Corporation today awarded a $1 million grant to George Mason University to support the Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement (VISTA) program. The funding is the largest corporate donation to the program to date.

The five-year VISTA program focuses on high-need schools to improve science teaching and student learning throughout Virginia. VISTA is dedicated to professional development and research in science for elementary teachers and secondary teachers; science coordinators; and university science education faculty.

During a ceremony at the Mason Inn Conference Center and Hotel on Mason’s Fairfax Campus, Mike Papay, vice president, Cyber Initiatives, Northrop Grumman Information Systems presented a check to University President Alan G. Merten; Mark Ginsberg, dean of Mason’s College of Education and Human Development; Donna R. Sterling, director of the VISTA program; and Marc Broderick, vice president of University Development and Alumni Affairs.

“As a major technology employer in Virginia, we are committed to advancing STEM and reversing the trend of declining student interest in this discipline,” said Linda Mills, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Information Systems. “VISTA is an innovative way of making science and math fascinating to elementary students, particularly those in high-need areas, to inspire a new generation of high-tech professionals to fill the critical shortage we face as a nation. We are proud to support this initiative and applaud Virginia for its foresight in answering the call to build tomorrow’s highly skilled workforce.”

The funds will be used to support 200 elementary teachers who will participate in the program over a four-year period. The grant will provide a portion of the teachers’ stipend and enable them to participate in a four-week elementary and professional development science institute; receive a year of “in-class coaching” from a VISTA-trained coach; attend the statewide Virginia Association of Science Teachers conference; and receive in-class and online science materials and resources.

VISTA was founded to give science educators free, intensive professional development and training to help improve their students’ performance levels. Mason is the lead institution for 47 school districts, six universities and the Virginia Department of Education. VISTA’s goal is to advance science teaching and student learning throughout Virginia, especially in high-need schools. The initiative is funded by a five-year, $28.5 million grant from the United States Department of Education through the Investing in Innovation (i3) program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It was awarded to Mason and its partners in 2010. For more on VISTA, go to http://vista.gmu.edu/.

Northrop Grumman and the Northrop Grumman Foundation support diverse and sustainable national-level programs that enhance the education experience for students and provide teachers with the training and tools they need to be successful in the classroom. Foundation initiatives include Eco Classroom, CyberPatriot, VEX Robotics, Sally Ride Science, U.S. Space Camp, Science Buddies, Great Minds in STEM and more. This week, Northrop Grumman issued its Corporate Responsibility Report for 2011 which details these programs and more. For more information about the Northrop Grumman Foundation, go to http://www.northropgrumman.com/foundation.

By Northrop Grumman Corporation

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Space Ref l Northrop Grumman, George Mason University to Support STEM Education With Virginia Elementary School Educators

Market Watch l Northrop Grumman Awarded $103 Million Naval Air Systems Command Contract for LITENING G4 Targeting Pods

May 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

LITENING G4 is Part of the LITENING Family, Which Has Achieved More Than 1.5 Million Flight Hours

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a delivery order by the Naval Air Systems Command totaling $103 million to deliver LITENING G4 targeting systems.

Under the terms of the award, Northrop Grumman will supply the U.S. Marine Corps with LITENING G4 pods. The company will also provide G4 upgrade kits and spares to the Air National Guard to bring their Block 1 pods to the G4 configuration.

“This order represents the latest vote of confidence from our users that G4’s cutting edge technology supports their most demanding combat missions,” said Jim Mocarski, Northrop Grumman’s vice president of EO/IR targeting systems. “LITENING’s achievement of 1.5 million flight hours is a testament to its reliability, flexible upgrade path and adaptability to multiple missions.”

Northrop Grumman has delivered more than 200 LITENING G4 systems to date. The LITENING G4 Advanced Targeting Pod is the newest addition to the company’s LITENING family of targeting pods, delivering the latest advancements in sensor, laser imaging and data link technology. The G4’s technologies include a full 1Kx1K forward looking infrared and charge-coupled device, as well as short wave infrared laser imaging sensors, color symbology, tracker improvement and enhanced zoom. These advancements deliver more accurate target identification and location at longer ranges than previous generations of LITENING targeting pod systems while reducing pilot workload.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit http://www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire, http://www.globenewswire.com

SOURCE: Northrop Grumman Corp.

Market Watch l Northrop Grumman Awarded $103 Million Naval Air Systems Command Contract for LITENING G4 Targeting Pods

New York Times l Once Hailed as Army Pioneer, Now Battling to Stay on the Job

May 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

“The Army was my life. These leaders, they almost destroyed me," said Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa L. King of her removal from her commandant post.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — When Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa L. King was named the first female commandant of the Army’s elite drill sergeant school in 2009, proponents of gender equality in the military hailed the news as a watershed.

But it did not take long for the grumbling to start. Students who flunked out of the school complained that she set unfair standards. Some of her own instructors said she rigidly enforced old-fashioned rules. Traditionalists across the service asked: how could a woman with no experience in combat manage the Army’s only school for training the trainers who prepare recruits for war?

She says she tried to ignore the criticism, but her superiors did not. Last November, they suspended Sergeant Major King, forbidding contact with students or staff and opening an investigation into what they called the “toxic” environment at the school. As that review dragged on, she says she felt like a criminal: isolated, publicly humiliated and so despondent that friends worried that she might hurt herself.

Sergeant Major King headed the Army's drill sergeant school at Fort Jackson, S.C.

Last week she decided to fight back, filing a complaint with the Army asserting that her male supervisors had mistreated her because she is a woman, and asking for a Congressional investigation. Four days later, the Army reinstated her, saying that the accusations against her — including that she had abused her power — could not be substantiated.

Now, just a week from the scheduled end of her tour as commandant of the school, located here at Fort Jackson, and three months from mandatory retirement, Sergeant Major King, 50, is making clear that she is not ready to go quietly. In an interview this week, she described what she says was a yearlong campaign by two superiors — a command sergeant major based in Virginia and his boss, a major general — to undermine her authority and encourage her drill instructors to turn against her.

“The Army was my life,” she said. “These leaders, they almost destroyed me.”

Sergeant Major King’s direct supervisor, Command Sgt. Maj. John R. Calpena, was traveling on Thursday and was not available for comment. Maj. Gen. Richard C. Longo, the former head of Initial Military Training for the Army, now deployed to Afghanistan, declined to be interviewed, citing Sergeant Major King’s legal action, known as an Article 138 complaint.

To her supporters, Sergeant Major King’s case underscores how difficult it remains for even the toughest of women to ascend into high-profile jobs in the Army, where combat experience remains the essential currency. Because women cannot serve in combat, they are automatically handicapped in establishing their leadership bona fides, her supporters say.

Her critics assert that Sergeant Major King, who spent the last decade mainly in training jobs on domestic bases, should at least have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan with a noncombat support unit. But she argues that if she had, she would not have gained much experience useful to training drill sergeants.

“At the schoolhouse, you’re training in doctrine,” she said. “You don’t have to go to combat to teach a sergeant how to transform a civilian into a soldier.”

“We certainly have a lot of work to do” to integrate women into high-ranking jobs, she continued. “Look at how I was treated. In public, in the open.”

Small, wiry and intense, Sergeant Major King does not seem the type to shout discrimination easily. The daughter of a North Carolina sharecropper, with 31 years in uniform, she thrived like few other women in the Army, earning top scores in fitness tests and evaluations, and becoming an unabashed expert in the minutia of Army regulations. Divorced and without children, she called the Army her family, and bore her nickname, No Slack, proudly.

As commandant, Sergeant Major King recruited high-performing drill sergeants from training bases like Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., to be teachers at Fort Jackson, then oversaw the rigorous 10-week course that produces new drill sergeants.

In her first months, she was pushed by her commander then, Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, to methodically enforce basic standards on everything from body fat to rifle handling, which he felt had declined. She ordered her staff to reject candidates who were even slightly overweight or unfit and to reprimand instructors for infractions like discourteous behavior and wearing their hair too long. The failure rate for drill-instructor recruits rose.

“We were trying to maintain very high standards,” General Hertling said in an interview. “I think she did a very good job.”

But as soon as General Hertling transferred to become head of Army forces in Europe in early 2011, things changed. “It was like a duck hunt,” said Sgt. Maj. Robert Maggard, Sergeant Major King’s deputy and staunchest supporter.

Sergeant Major King in 2009, the year she became the first female commandant of the drill sergeant school at Fort Jackson, S.C.

Once treated as an equal to brigade commanders, Sergeant Major King was no longer invited to meetings regarding the school. In his first visit, General Longo told her, “I’ve been hearing bad things about you,” she said. In a subsequent visit, he had an aide tell her to avoid the cafeteria while the general dined there.

In a visit last September, Sergeant Major Calpena delivered a blistering critique of Sergeant Major King’s tenure, she said, telling the staff she had been overly doctrinaire and by-the-book.

She said she once even overheard Sergeant Major Calpena urging a disgruntled sergeant to file a complaint against her. “I was working 16-, 18-hour days, and Sergeant Major Calpena was running around, trying to get me relieved, sabotaging me,” she said.

Sergeant Major Calpena, an Army Ranger with multiple combat deployments, announced her suspension last November in a stormy private meeting in her office. “He came in swinging,” she said, telling her she was deeply unpopular among her peers because of her unyielding style and lack of front-line experience.

Cut off from her friends and students, she said, the holiday season was almost unbearable. “If I had just quit, I knew that I could possibly die. Because those were very dark days,” she said. “The drill sergeant school was all I had.”

Sergeant Major Maggard’s wife, Barbara, would call just to hear her voice, then hang up when she answered, not speaking because of the no-contact order. On Christmas, she left presents on Sergeant Major King’s porch.

In March, General Longo’s office sent a redacted version of its investigation, which contained complaints from eight sergeants, all of whom had faced disciplinary action, according to her lawyer, James E. Smith, a state legislator and member of the Army National Guard. Two later rescinded their complaints, he said.

“If she had been a man, this would not have happened,” he said, noting that several recent male commandants have not had combat experience but did not face such complaints.

Sergeant Major King gathered support statements from more than 45 soldiers, but no action was taken on her response until she filed the complaint.

She is now asking to remain commandant for six additional months — the period she was under suspension. She also wants to stay in the Army beyond her mandatory retirement date in August.

Her command has said she will be replaced on schedule, May 17. But she has implored South Carolina’s Congressional delegation to intervene.

“If I leave next week, where do I go?” she asked. “I had a family in the Army.”

By James Dao

May 11, 2012

New York Times l Once Hailed as Army Pioneer, Now Battling to Stay on the Job

Washington Post l Pentagon to expand cybersecurity program for defense contractors

May 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

The Pentagon is expanding and making permanent a trial program that teams the government with Internet carriers to protect defense firms’ computer networks against massive data theft by foreign adversaries.

It is part of a larger effort to broaden the sharing of classified and unclassified cyberthreat data between the government and industry in what Defense Department officials say is a promising collaboration between the public and private sectors.

“The expansion of voluntary information sharing between the department and the defense industrial base represents an important step forward in our ability to stay current with emerging cyber threats,” Ashton B. Carter, deputy secretary of defense, said in announcing the move Friday.

Carter noted that industry’s increased reliance on the Internet for daily business has exposed large amounts of sensitive information held on network servers to the risk of digital theft. Corporate cyber-espionage has reached epidemic scale, experts and officials say, with much of the activity traced to China and Russia.

Begun a year ago, the Defense Industrial Base [DIB] enhanced pilot program included 17 companies who volunteered to have commercial carriers such as Verizon and AT&T scan e-mail traffic entering their networks for malicious software. Outgoing traffic that shows signs of being redirected to illegitimate sites is blocked so that it does not fall into an adversary’s hands.

After initial difficulties, the program has become more effective, officials said, so much so that senior officials agreed at a White House meeting Thursday to expand it and make it permanent.

“It’s the best example of information sharing that helps in an operational way,” said Eric Rosenbach, deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy. “We haven’t heard of any other country that’s doing anything like this — a really collaborative relationship between government and private sector.”

Rosenbach conceded the program was not perfect. “We’re definitely not claiming this is the silver bullet when it comes to cyber security for the defense firms,” he said. “It is an additional tool they can use to mitigate some of the risk of attacks.”

The carriers are using classified threat data or indicators provided by the National Security Agency to screen the traffic, as well as unclassified threat data provided by the Department of Homeland Security. DHS reviews all the screening data before it goes to the carriers. The companies may choose to turn over results of the screening to the government. The data would go to the DHS and could be shared with other agencies such as NSA and the FBI, but with strict privacy protections, officials said.

The entire program will remain voluntary, officials said. As of December, companies have had to pay their carrier for the service. It is unclear how many of the roughly 8,000 eligible defense contractors will want to sign up.

Rosenbach said he thought a number of companies would do it “because they see it as a good business decision and a good national security decision.”

The government also will allow companies beyond the current four carriers to offer the screening service if they can demonstrate that they have secure facilities and the capability, officials said.

A study last November by Carnegie-Mellon University said the pilot program showed the public-private model could work, but that initial results on the efficacy of the NSA measures were mixed, with the most value going to companies with less mature network defenses.

One telecom industry official familiar with the program said he thought the results were better than reflected in the report. “There are a lot of opportunities for improving,” said the official, who was not authorized to speak for the record. For instance, he said, “the longer it takes NSA to provide the data” to the carriers, the less useful the program will be. Overall, he said, “we think it was a successful model.”

The Pentagon is also enlarging a four-year-old cybersecurity program in which the Defense Department and contractors share threat data directly with each other. That program has 36 participants and could grow to about 1,000, said Pentagon deputy chief information officer Richard Hale.

The Defense Department move comes as legislation is pending in Congress to foster a broader exchange of cyberthreat data between the government and industry.

By Ellen Nakashima

May 11, 2012

Washington Post l Pentagon to expand cybersecurity program for defense contractors

DoD Buzz l Cargo UAV hopes brighten as Marines extend K-MAX

May 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

The Marines are going to keep flying Lockheed Martin’s K-MAX unmanned cargo helicopter in Afghanistan for two more months than they’d originally planned, the company said Wednesday, in what could be a positive sign for the future of pilotless battlefield hauling.

Commanders’ original plan was to fly the K-MAX until the end of June, but now they’re going to keep it in Afghanistan until the end of September, pushing it to the close of the fiscal year. The helicopters are setting records for the still-new unmanned cargo delivery game — the two that have been flying since last December have delivered a total of more than one million pounds of stuff, Lockheed said.

Company officials have been eager to play up the potential for more, ever more K-MAXes in service with more customers. Even Lockheed’s statement Wednesday quoted K-MAX’s Marine boss in theater as hinting that he could use more than two:

“K-MAX has proven its value to us in-theater, enabling us to safely deliver cargo to forward areas,” said Marine Corps Maj. Kyle O’Connor, who is overseeing the deployment. “We are moving cargo without putting any Marines, soldiers or airmen at risk. If we had a fleet of these things flying 24–7, we could move cargo around and not put people in jeopardy.”

Odds are good that Lockheed could be persuaded to make a deal along those lines. Still, the company has its eye on bigger game — the Army. The problem is, the Army still seems mostly lukewarm about K-MAX.

You’ve read here where Lockheed officials say they’re in informal talks with the Army about potential modifications for a theoretical green K-MAX, and how the Army brass says it’s watching the Marines’ experiments closely, but so far, that hasn’t translated into a deal for Lockheed.

It’s difficult to tell whether the expiration date on a potential Army resupply deal may have already passed: American combat troops are supposed to remain in Afghanistan until 2014, and some forces — maybe as many as 20,000 — could stay there for a decade after. They’ll be moving around the country just as troops do today, and a K-MAX-style resupply system might make sense. Then again, if American troops dismantle their spider’s web of distant outposts and bases as the withdrawal continues, there may not be any need for a small helicopter to avoid roadside bombs and bad roads.

Either way, Lockheed will probably keep up its sales pitch for as long as it can.

By Philip Ewing

May 9th, 2012

DoD Buzz l Cargo UAV hopes brighten as Marines extend K-MAX

DoD Buzz l Boeing’s CEO warns Washington: Get your act together

May 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Boeing CEO Jim McNerney warned Tuesday that the threat of next year’s automatic, across-the-board budget growth reductions might force him to lay people off — even before the guillotine actually falls.

Big B, like all of America’s corporate titans, hates “uncertainty,” and Congress has outdone itself this time, McNerney said.

“Sequestration is the greatest example of Washington-induced uncertainty I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said. “Our reaction is to be very conservative … We have to anticipate the worst and hope for the best.”

In the meantime, Boeing is throwing its influence against sequestration — and behind a few other key issues — because the stakes are too high for it to sit out, McNerney said. (As though it could!)

“We’re in D.C. because you have to be engaged in the dialogue,” he said. “If you’re not engaged, you’re going to be a loser. The fact is, that is the situation we have today.” He did not give specifics about how he wants Congress to resolve sequestration, just that he wants it resolved.

McNerney spoke at a conference sponsored by The Atlantic at Washington’s National Airport, where the star attraction was Boeing’s new 787 airliner. The company does more commercial aircraft business than defense business, but the future of both would be weakened if Congress can’t avert the $500 billion in reduced defense budget growth set to take effect in January. Boeing is counting on building KC-46A tankers for the Air Force — which use its 767 airliner body — as well as P-8 Poseidon patrol planes for the Navy — which use its 737 airliner — as well as F/A-18Es and Fs; E/A-18Gs; and, who knows, maybe a bomber? Plus there’s space, and unmanned aircraft, and helicopters, and the list goes on and on.

But sequestration wasn’t the only target on McNerney’s scope Tuesday. He also wants Washington to reform the way it handles visas and immigration, to make it easier for Boeing to hire and retain skilled foreign workers for its operations in the U.S. And he’s also on the “STEM” bandwagon, urging governments to do a better job getting kids interested in science, technology, engineering and math, so they’ll grow up to become brilliant aircraft engineers for Uncle B.

The problem is that for as much pull as McNerney’s company has inside the Beltway — and other key places — he can’t give direct marching orders to get what he wants. McNerney acknowledged that Washington today is “gridlocked,” and that the rest of the world is gaining speed much quicker than the U.S. On the commercial aviation side, for example, he expects a Chinese competitor someday soon to break up the “duopoly” between Boeing and its European arch nemesis, Airbus.

American can regain its edge, McNerney said: “I don’t think things will continue the way they are … I think things will rebalance over time.” Still, he warned: “I just hope we survive the operation.”

By Philip Ewing

May 8th, 2012

DoD Buzz l Boeing’s CEO warns Washington: Get your act together

The Lantern l Women in engineering struggle with equity, happiness in the workplace, study suggests

May 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Female faculty members make up between 20 and 30 percent of science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields (STEM), according to department chair estimates, and a recent report shows workplace culture needs to change if this number is to increase.

Comprehensive Equity at Ohio State, a program funded by a 2009 National Science Foundation grant, focuses on the recruitment and retention of female tenure-track faculty in STEM disciplines. It released its findings that while female and male tenure-track faculty in STEM fields at OSU are given comparable salaries, lab space, startup funding and teaching assignments, female faculty are overall less happy than their male colleagues, and are also less happy than women in other departments.

Researchers focused on three departments within the STEM fields at OSU – the College of Engineering, the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Division of Natural and Mathematical Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Data used in the study about employment conditions came from the Office of Human Resources, department deans, the Office of Research and the Office of the University Registrar. Data used to measure faculty satisfaction was taken from the 2008 and 2011 Faculty Survey data, provided by the Office of Institutional Research and Planning.

Carolyn Merry, professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Geodetic Science, said workplace culture is to blame for the disparity in female faculty members’ satisfaction in STEM fields.

“They’re excluded from networks,” Merry said. “(Engineering) is very much an old boys’ network. Guys go out for lunch and don’t ask women.”

The report concluded that female faculty were overall less satisfied with professional relationships than male faculty, and that the largest gender gap in satisfaction was in informal networks.

Female STEM faculty in the three departments analyzed also expressed higher dissatisfaction with workload. Seventy-two percent of these women reported feeling the need to work harder to be perceived as a “legitimate scholar,” in the 2011 Faculty Survey.

“I personally felt I had to work two times as hard (as male faculty),” Merry said. “I think that’s universal in women, and especially in science.”

Joan Herbers, the lead investigator of the study, said female faculty in STEM also feel pressure to serve on committees and engage in other kinds of service.

“It’s things like how much time is spent with students, serving on university committees, serving on outside organizations and editing journals,” Herbers said. “Women spend 10 hours more on service each week. We know this probably leads to dissatisfaction because women feel they are asked to do a lot.”

Female faculty might also feel obligated by mentorships, as a relatively large number of undergraduates approach a small number of female professors seeking a mentor, Herbers said.

The difference in experience for female faculty members has prevented STEM departments from increasing the number of female faculty, Herbers said.

“It’s not that recruitment is not an issue, but retention is the main problem,” Herbers said. “They’ve done a great job recruiting women, but they’ve done a lousy job keeping them.”

Herbers said she is pleased STEM departments have addressed workplace inequalities in straightforward ways by equalizing financial and space resources, but said the more difficult steps lie ahead.

“Now they have the hard stuff to do,” Herbers said. “They have to change the way people behave. And scientists are not good at this — they’re not very good at understanding peoples’ behaviors.”

But for Herbers and others who worked on CEOS, changing behavior begins with increased awareness of differences in workplace culture.

Mary Juhas, associate dean of the College of Engineering Diversity and Outreach, said male colleagues do not purposely create a different workplace environment for women and might be unaware there is one.

“Men don’t realize there is a problem,” Juhas said. “It’s often not until our colleagues have daughters who are engineers (that they) start to realize the barriers and problems.”

However, Juhas said the culture remains unchanging.

“The culture is still chilly for women. Men own engineering — straight, white men.”

Thinking back to when she began teaching at OSU in 1988, Merry said she couldn’t help but question whether much has changed.

“I was the only woman faculty member,” she said. “I was teaching survey, thinking, ‘What did I get myself into?’ I had to struggle alone then. In some ways I think women are still fighting that war.”

By Lindsey Barrett

May 8, 2012

The Lantern l Women in engineering struggle with equity, happiness in the workplace, study suggests