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2016 Naval History Conference

The 2016 Naval History Conference, 8 and 9 September 2016 at Alumni Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy.

The Athena Conference: Heroines of Past, Present and Future
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of women at the U.S. Naval Academy.  

The photos from the Athena Conference are available on Flickr

Hosted by the U.S. Naval Institute and the U.S. Naval Academy with support from

The William M. Wood Foundation.


Please park at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Enter through Gate 5 and inform the attendant you will be attending the 2016 Naval History Conference. Parking will be FREE of charge, and shuttle service will be provided to Alumni Hall on the U.S. Naval Academy Yard. All visitors over the age of 16 must have a valid government issued picture ID. Of special note, if you possess a driver’s license from Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico or Washington State you must present two forms of identification at the gate, such as driver's license AND passport, birth certificate or social security card. 


On 8 September, shuttle service will be offered continuously to Alumni Hall beginning at 10:30AM, and the last shuttle will depart Alumni Hall at 4:30PM.

Thursday Evening, 8 September, Panel, shuttle service will resume at 6:00PM for those wishing to participate in the Thursday evening panel. Following the panel, the last shuttle will depart Alumni Hall for the stadium at 9:00PM. 

On 9 September, shuttle service will be offered continuously to Alumni Hall beginning at 7:30AM, and last shuttle will depart Alumni Hall at 12:30PM.

Note for active duty/retired military: Only those with a USNA ID Card or a DOD credential, including military retirees and dependents, may drive onto U.S. Naval Academy Yard. However, due to construction on the Yard, particularly around Alumni Hall, parking is VERY LIMITED. We recommend that all attendees please park at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and utilize the shuttle service provided.


From I-95-South exit onto I-695-East and then take the I-97-South exit. Follow I-97 south until it merges into Route 50 East toward Annapolis. Take Exit 24, Rowe Blvd, and bear right (south) at the bottom of the exit ramp. Follow directions "From Route 50" below.

Take I-95-North, MD Route 2 North or U.S. Route 301 North to Route 50. Travel east to Annapolis. Take Exit 24, Rowe Blvd, and bear right (south) at the bottom of the exit ramp and then follow directions "From Route 50" below.

Follow Route 50 East from Washington, D.C. towards Annapolis. Take Exit 24, Rowe Blvd, and bear right (south) at the bottom of the exit ramp. Then follow directions "From Route 50" below.

Follow Route 50 West toward Annapolis to Exit 24B, Rowe Blvd and follow the directions "From Route 50" below.

From Route 50, follow Rowe Blvd to second stop light, Taylor Avenue, and make a right turn on Taylor. Follow the signs to a right turn into the Blue Parking Lot.



General Registration Information

Online registration has now closed, but registration will be available on-site at the conference. Registration options include:

Full Conference - 8 September, 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm; 9 September, 8:45 am to 11:45 am
Day One only - 8 September, 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Day Two only -  9 September, 8:45 am to 11:45 am
Special Thursday Evening Panel
 - 8 September, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Please contact Member Services for questions.

Printer Friendly Schedule

Thursday, September 8, 2016
11:00AM - 12:00PMDay One Registration
12:00PM - 12:15PMWelcome Remarks  
12:15PM - 1:15PMKickoff Luncheon Keynote
  • Keynote: GEN Ann Dunwoody, USA (Ret.), First woman four star in the military; former Commanding General, Army Materiel Command; and author, A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America’s First Female Four-Star General (Confirmed)
1:15PM - 1:30PMBreak
1:30PM - 3:00PMPanel Discussion -- Blazing the Trail: How Did Military Women Clear the Path?
3:00PM - 3:15PMClosing Remarks
3:15PM - 4:15PM
7:00PM - 8:30PMPanel Discussion -- Leading with No Exceptions: How Will Military Women Do It?
  • Moderator: Ms. Gayle Lemmon, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; author, Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield; and journalist (Confirmed)
    • Panelist: LT Kayla Barron, USN, Flag Aide to the Superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy; USNA Class of ’10; and member of first Naval Academy class of women to serve on submarines (Confirmed)
    • Panelist: Ms. Anuradha Bhagwati, Writer; former Executive Director and Founder of Service Women’s Action Network; and former Marine Corps Captain and Company Commander (Confirmed)
    • Panelist: CDR Holly Harrison, USCG, Drug and Migrant Interdiction Chief, Coast Guard Office of Law Enforcement; 2010-2011 White House Fellow at NASA; first woman to command a Coast Guard vessel in a combat zone; and first woman in the Coast Guard to earn the Bronze Star (Confirmed)
    • Panelist: Maj Katelyn van Dam, USMCR, 2D Civil Affairs Group (CAG), Marine Corps attack helicopter pilot, Co-Founder of No Exceptions (Confirmed)
Friday, September 9, 2016
8:00AM - 8:45AMDay Two Registration
8:00AM - 8:45AMContinental Breakfast
8:45AM - 8:55AMWelcome Remarks
8:55AM - 9:50AMMorning Keynote
  • Moderator: Dr. Kathleen Hicks, Senior Vice President, Henry A. Kissinger Chair; and Director, International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies (Confirmed)
    • Keynote: The Honorable Michele Flournoy, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Center for a New American Security and former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (2009 to 2012) (Confirmed)
9:50AM - 10:00AMBreak
10:00AM - 11:30AMPanel Discussion -- Conquering the Labyrinth: How Are Women in Society Charting Their Own Course?
  • Moderator: Ms. Nina Easton, Founding Partner, SellersEaston Media; Chair, Fortune Most Powerful Women International; Panelist, Fox News; and Senior Associate and Host, Smart Women Smart Power, Center for Strategic and International Studies (Confirmed)
    • Panelist: Ms. Mary Barra, CEO and Chairman, General Motors Company (Confirmed)
    • Panelist: Ms. Ellen Lord, President and CEO, Textron Systems Corporation (Confirmed)
    • Panelist: U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), First Democratic woman Senator elected in her own right and first woman to chair the Senate Appropriations Committee (Confirmed)
    • Panelist: Ms. Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo (Confirmed)
11:30AM - 11:45AMClosing Remarks

Ms. Mary Barra
Ms. Mary Barra


CEO and Chairman, General Motors Company


Mary Barra is Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of General Motors Company. Barra was elected Chairman of the GM Board of Directors on January 4, 2016, and has served as CEO of GM since January 15, 2014.

Under Barra’s leadership, GM is working to lead the transformation of personal mobility through advanced technologies such as connectivity, electrification and autonomous driving.  Barra has also established a strategic direction based on putting the customer at the center of everything the company does, all around the world.

Prior to being named CEO, Barra served as Executive Vice President, Global Product Development, Purchasing & Supply Chain since August 2013, and as Senior Vice President, Global Product Development since February 2011. In these roles, she was responsible for the design, engineering, program management and quality of GM vehicles around the world.

Previously, Barra served as GM Vice President, Global Human Resources; Vice President, Global Manufacturing Engineering; Plant Manager, Detroit Hamtramck Assembly; Executive Director of Competitive Operations Engineering; and in several engineering and staff positions.

In 1990, Barra graduated with a Masters in Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business after receiving a GM fellowship in 1988.

Barra began her career with GM in 1980 as a General Motors Institute (Kettering University) co-op student at the Pontiac Motor Division. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering in 1985.

Barra is a member of the General Dynamics Board of Directors. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Detroit Economic Club and as a member of The Business Council. She is also a member of the Stanford University Board of Trustees, the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council and the Board of Trustees for the Detroit Country Day School.

In 2014, Barra and her husband, Tony, chaired the Detroit International Wine Auction, raising a record $2.4 million for scholarships and community arts programs through the College for Creative Studies. In 2012, they chaired the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute’s 30th annual dinner, which raised nearly $1.7 million for cancer research.

In 2015, Barra was ranked first on Fortune magazine’s list of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business.” In 2014, she was named to the Time 100 and Forbes magazine named her one of the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.”

LT Kayla Barron, USN
LT Kayla Barron, USN


Flag Aide to the Superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy; USNA Class of ’10; and member of first Naval Academy class of women to serve on submarines


Lieutenant Kayla Barron graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Systems Engineering, where she was also Trident Scholar. Following graduation, she attended the University of Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge Scholar, earning a Master of Philosophy in Nuclear Engineering in 2011.

Following her graduate studies, LT Barron completed training at Nuclear Power School in June 2012, the Submarine Officer Basic Course in August 2012, and the Nuclear Power Training Unit (Prototype) in May 2013.  At Nuclear Power School, she graduated with honors; at the Submarine Officer Basic Course, she was awarded the Lawrence Y. Spear Award for achieving the highest merit during the course of instruction.

LT Barron reported to the USS Maine (SSBN 741)(GOLD) in May 2013 where she completed three strategic deterrent patrols. LT Barron qualified Engineering Officer of the Watch following her first deployment. On her second, she qualified Officer of the Deck and earned her Submarine Warfare Officer qualification.  LT Barron served as the Chemical/Radiological Controls Assistant from May 2013 – August 2014 and the Communications Officer from June 2014 – August 2015, contributing to the team that earned the 2014 Submarine Squadron 17 Strategic “S” and Battle Efficiency “E” Awards.  She sat for the Nuclear Engineer Officer Examination in May 2015, qualifying Engineer Officer.

Since September 2015, LT Barron has been serving as the Flag Aide to the Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.

LT Barron has been awarded the Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Battle “E” Ribbon, Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Ms. Anuradha Bhagwati
Ms. Anuradha Bhagwati


Writer; former Executive Director and Founder of Service Women’s Action Network; and former Marine Corps Captain and Company Commander


Anuradha is a writer, activist, yoga teacher and Marine Corps veteran. Her memoir UNBECOMING will be published by Atria, a Simon and Schuster imprint, in 2018. 

Anuradha is the founder and visionary behind Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), a non-profit organization that played a major role in dozens of historic policy reforms within the United States Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs between 2009 and 2014, including overturning the ban on women in combat. A former Marine Corps Captain and Company Commander, she served in uniform from 1999-2004 and was the second woman to complete the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructor trainer school, earning a black belt in close combat techniques. 

As a military and veterans civil rights pioneer, Anuradha spearheaded national policy reform, legislation and litigation to overhaul the military justice system, open combat assignments to women, curb military rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment, improve VA services for women veterans, and guarantee reproductive health care to service women. She has advised the White House and the United Nations and testified several times before the Senate and House of Representatives. 

Anuradha is a regular media commentator on issues related to national security, women’s rights, civil rights, and women’s leadership, has been featured in hundreds of news outlets, and is the recipient of numerous awards.

She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Yale University and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School, where she specialized in international security and human rights policy. 

VADM Walter E. Carter Jr., USN
VADM Walter E. Carter Jr., USN

Superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy

Vice Admiral Walter E. “Ted” Carter Jr. became the 62nd superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy on July 23, 2014. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1981, was designated a Naval Flight Officer in 1982, and graduated from the Navy Fighter Weapons School, Top Gun, in 1985.  He completed the Air Command and Staff College course and the Armed Forces Staff College.  In 2001, he completed the Navy’s Nuclear Power Program. 

Carter’s career as an aviator includes extensive time at sea, deploying around the globe in the F-4 Phantom II and the F-14 Tomcat.  He has landed on 19 different aircraft carriers, to include all 10 of the Nimitz Class carriers.  Carter commanded the VF-14 “Tophatters,” served as Executive Officer of USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75), and commanded both USS Camden (AOE 2) and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70).  His most recent Fleet command assignment was Commander, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG-12) during Big E’s final combat deployment as a 51-year-old aircraft carrier in 2012.

Ashore, Carter served as Chief of Staff for Fighter Wing Pacific and Executive Assistant to the Deputy Commander, U.S. Central Command.  He served as Commander, Joint Enabling Capabilities Command and subsequently as lead for the Transition Planning Team during the disestablishment of U.S. Joint Forces Command in 2011.  After leading Task Force RESILIENT (a study in suicide related behaviors), he established the 21st Century Sailor Office (OPNAV N17) as its first Director in 2013.  Most recently, Carter served as the 54th president of the U.S. Naval War College.  During his tenure, he established the Naval Leadership and Ethics Center in Newport, R.I., on May 1, 2014.

Carter is the recipient of various personal awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal (two awards), Legion of Merit (three awards), Distinguished Flying Cross with Combat V, Bronze Star, Air Medal (two with Combat V and five strike/flight), and Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two with Combat V). He was awarded the Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Leadership Award and the U.S. Navy League’s John Paul Jones Award for Inspirational Leadership.  Carter was also appointed an Honorary Master Chief by the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy in 2008.

Carter flew 125 combat missions in support of joint operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.  He accumulated 6,150 flight hours in F-4, F-14, and F-18 aircraft during his career and safely completed 2,016 carrier-arrested landings, the record among all active and retired U.S. Naval Aviation designators. In April of 2015, Carter was inducted into the prestigious Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame.


VADM Peter H. Daly, USN (Ret.)
VADM Peter H. Daly, USN (Ret.)

CEO, U.S. Naval Institute

Peter Daly is the Chief Executive Officer of the United States Naval Institute, one of the most respected professional associations and thought leaders in the United States. Comprising almost 50,000 members, the Institute has served for 143 years as the open, independent non-partisan forum of the sea services. The U.S. Naval Institute advances the professional, literary, and scientific understanding of sea power and other issues critical to national defense.

Prior to accepting the CEO post in 2011, Vice Admiral Daly served as Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. His Navy career, spanning more than 30 years, includes command of the destroyer USS Russell (DDG 59); Command of Destroyer Squadron 31; and Command of Carrier Strike Group 11 – Nimitz Strike Group. During each of these commands, he deployed to the 5th and 7th Fleet Areas of Responsibility – participating in Operation Desert Strike in 1996 in Russell and as Sea Combat Commander for the Lincoln Battle Group in the Gulf immediately after the attack on USS Cole in 2000. As Nimitz Strike Group Commander in 2005, he led Task Forces 50, 152 and 58 in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and maritime intercept operations in the Arabian Gulf. 

Shore assignments include executive assistant and program analyst, J-8, Joint Staff; executive assistant to the Commander, Pacific Fleet; and executive assistant to the Commander, U.S. Pacific Command. As a flag officer, he served as Deputy for Resources and Acquisition (J-8) Joint Staff; Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy; and as Deputy N3/N5 (Operations, Plans and Strategy) in the Navy Staff. 

A Life Member of the Naval Institute and former member of the Institute’s Editorial Board, he also serves on the Advisory Board for ManTech International.

He is a native of Chicago, a graduate of the College of Holy Cross (A.B. Economics), receiving a regular commission through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He holds a Master’s degree in Operations Analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California.


The Honorable Janine Davidson
The Honorable Janine Davidson


Under Secretary of the Navy


Dr. Janine Davidson is the 32nd Under Secretary of the Navy. On behalf of the Secretary of the Navy, she is responsible for all Department of the Navy affairs to include Navy and Marine Corps integration, acquisition, finance, personnel, legislative affairs, and research and development. As Under Secretary, she oversees the management and oversight of an annual budget in excess of $170 billion and is responsible for the health and well-being of nearly 900,000 Sailors, Marines civilians and their families. She also serves as the Chief Management Officer for the Department of the Navy, ensuring efficient management of the Department’s resources through sound business practices. 

Secretary Davidson has almost 30 years of experience in military operations, national security policy, and academic research. From 2009 to 2012, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Plans, where she oversaw the formulation and review of military war plans and global force posture policy. Previously, she served as Director for Stability Operations Capabilities in the office of Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, where she was the founding Director of the Center for Complex Operations, an interagency organization focused on enhancing civilian and military performance in the field. 

Following her earlier time in the Pentagon, Davidson served as a presidentially appointed member of the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force, which recommended changes to service structure and management policies. She also served as a member of the Reserve Forces Policy Board and as a senior advisor to the Supreme Allied Commander, NATO.

As an analyst and academic, Davidson was most recently Senior Fellow for Defense Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she is also a life member. She has taught national security policy and political science at Georgetown University, George Mason University, and Davidson College, and is the author of numerous articles across a range of defense issues. Her 2009 book, Lifting the Fog of Peace: How Americans Learned to Fight Modern War, examines organizational change and institutional learning in the U.S. military.

Davidson grew up in a Navy family in California and Virginia and was commissioned as an Air Force second lieutenant in 1988. She flew combat support, airdrop, and humanitarian air mobility missions in the Pacific, Europe and the Middle East in both the C-130 and the C-17 cargo aircraft, and also served as an instructor pilot at the U.S. Air Force Academy. She was a Distinguished Graduate of Air Force Squadron Officers’ School and was the first woman to fly the Air Force’s tactical C-130.

Davidson received her Master of Arts and a doctorate in international studies from the University of South Carolina and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in architectural engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. For her previous civilian government service, Davidson was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. 

GEN Ann Dunwoody, USA (Ret.)
GEN Ann Dunwoody, USA (Ret.)


First woman four star in the military; former Commanding General, Army Materiel Command; and author, A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America’s First Female Four-Star General


General Ann Dunwoody is the former commanding general of one of the Army's largest commands, the U.S. Army Materiel Command. She is the first woman in U.S. military history to achieve a four-star officer rank, and U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno called her "quite simply the best logistician the Army has ever had." She led many divisions at home and abroad and commanded at every level. She also supported the largest deployment and redeployment of U.S. forces since WWII. The author of A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America's First Female Four-Star General, Dunwoody shares what nearly four decades in the military taught her about effective leadership, revealing the core principles that guided her to her historic appointment. Through engaging stories and battle-tested insights, she offers audiences practical, tactical advice to lead and achieve with maximum success - no matter the size or scope of their organization. Spunky and a straight shooter, she is exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau.

Dunwoody led the transformation of the Army's logistics organizations. She was responsible for research and development, installation and contingency contracting, foreign military sales, supply chain management, and more. She also oversaw all of the depots that supported supply, maintenance, manufacturing, and ammunitions. AMC had more than 69,000 employees and presence in all 50 states and 145 countries, and Dunwoody managed a budget of $60 billion dollars and was responsible for oversight of approximately $70 billion in service contracts. She also led the Army's global supply chain in support of Iraq and Afghanistan and contingency operations in Haiti, Pakistan, and Japan.

Among Dunwoody's many accomplishments came several career and military firsts. In addition to becoming the first woman in U.S. military history to achieve the rank of four-star general, she was the first woman to command a battalion in the 82nd Airborne Division in 1992, and she became Fort Bragg's first female general officer in 2000. Dunwoody was also the first woman to command the Combined Arms Support Command. In 2005, Dunwoody became the Army's top-ranking female when she received the promotion to lieutenant general (three stars) and became the Army's deputy chief of staff, G-4 (logistics). She received her fourth star in 2008.

General Dunwoody led a highly decorated career. In addition to her military honors, she was named one of New York MOVES Magazine's "2013 Power Women" and selected to be the 2013 Grand Marshall for the Veterans Day parade in New York City. The NCAA recognized her with its highest honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Award, and the National Conference on Citizenship gave her its Franklin Award. She was also recognized as a 2001 Distinguished Alumni for the State University of New York at Cortland and was the recipient of the 2004 National Defense Transportation Association's DoD Distinguished Service Award and the 2007 Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW) Distinguished Service Award.

Dunwoody is currently the president of First 2 Four and serves on the board of directors for L-3 Communications, Republic Services, and Logistics Management Institute. 

Ms. Nina Easton
Ms. Nina Easton


Founding Partner, SellersEaston Media; Chair, Fortune Most Powerful Women International; Panelist, Fox News; and Senior Associate and Host, Smart Women Smart Power, Center for Strategic and International Studies


Nina Easton is a bestselling author, magazine writer, and TV commentator. She won numerous national awards during a decade with the Los Angeles Times, and later as senior editor and writer at Fortune, covering politics, the economy, and foreign affairs.

Nina is currently chair of Fortune Most Powerful Women International and co-chair of the Fortune Global Forum —conceiving and casting high-profile live events, and conducting interviews with the some of the biggest names in global business and international affairs. Her critically-acclaimed political history, Gang of Five: Leaders at the Center of the Conservative Ascendancy, and archival research, ranks on the Vox list of “books to read to understand the world.”

Her live interviews are in demand beyond Fortune, and she regularly appears on stage in front of leading industry groups. At the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the prominent Washington D.C. foreign affairs think tank, Nina hosts the global affairs series of live events and iTunes podcasts “Smart Women, Smart Power,” bringing world leaders and diplomats to the stage for insightful interviews.

For more than a decade, Nina has been a familiar face on television as a regular commentator on Fox News’ primetime news shows, and as a political analyst on such programs as Meet the Press, Face the Nation, and Charlie Rose. In 2012, she was a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, teaching and producing influential research on wealth in America.

Over the course of a three-decade media career, Nina has interviewed top figures in politics (including Barack Obama, Condoleezza Rice, Christine Lagarde) and in business (ranging from prominent CEOs such as Meg Whitman to groundbreaking pioneers like Steve Wozniak). At the Los Angeles Times, Nina profiled such Hollywood legends as Bette Davis, Meryl Streep, and Denzel Washington.

The Honorable Michele Flournoy
The Honorable Michele Flournoy


Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Center for a New American Security and former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (2009 to 2012)


Michèle Flournoy is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). 

She served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from February 2009 to February 2012.  She was the principal adviser to the Secretary of Defense in the formulation of national security and defense policy, oversight of military plans and operations, and in National Security Council deliberations. She led the development of DoD’s 2012 Strategic Guidance and represented the Department in dozens of foreign engagements, in the media and before Congress.

Prior to confirmation, Ms. Flournoy co-led President Obama’s transition team at DoD.

In January 2007, Ms. Flournoy co-founded  CNAS, a non-partisan think tank dedicated to developing strong, pragmatic and principled national security policies. She served as CNAS’ President until 2009.

Previously, she was senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies for several years and, prior to that, a distinguished research professor at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University (NDU).

In the mid-1990s, she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Threat Reduction and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy.  She has received several awards from the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Ms. Flournoy is a member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, the Defense Policy Board, the DCIA’s External Advisory Board, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Aspen Strategy Group, and a Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She serves on the boards of The Mitre Corporation, CSRA, Amida Technology Solutions, The Mission Continues, and CARE, and is a Senior Advisor at the Boston Consulting Group.

Ms. Flournoy earned a bachelor's degree in social studies from Harvard University and a master's degree in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where she was a Newton-Tatum scholar.

CDR Holly Harrison, USCG
CDR Holly Harrison, USCG


Drug and Migrant Interdiction Chief, Coast Guard Office of Law Enforcement; 2010-2011 White House Fellow at NASA; first woman to command a Coast Guard vessel in a combat zone; and first woman in the Coast Guard to earn the Bronze Star


A native of Vienna, Virginia, CDR Harrison graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1995.  CDR Harrison first served as a Deck Watch Officer on U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) STORIS (WMEC-38) in Kodiak, AK, followed by service as Executive Officer of USCGC KISKA (WPB-1309) in Hilo, HI, Protocol Officer for the Commandant of the Coast Guard in Washington, DC, and Commanding Officer of USCGC AQUIDNECK (WPB-1336) in Fort Macon, NC, and later Manama, Bahrain.  In March 2003, CDR Harrison led AQUIDNECK during the invasion of Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  

Upon returning from the Arabian Gulf, CDR Harrison served as the Senior Instructor of the Maritime Boarding Officer School in Yorktown, VA, and then established the Maritime Law Enforcement Academy in Charleston, SC, where she served as Executive Officer.  She returned to sea in 2006 as Executive Officer of USCGC LEGARE (WMEC-912) in Portsmouth, VA.  After earning a master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University, she was responsible for strategic oversight, policy formulation, and Congressional briefings for programs representing $2.7 billion of the Service’s operating base as a Program Reviewer in the Office of Budget and Programs.  CDR Harrison earned a second master’s degree in Educational Technology Leadership from The George Washington University in 2010. 

In 2010, CDR Harrison was chosen by President Barack Obama to serve as of one of 13 White House Fellows for 2010-2011 during which she served as a senior advisor to the Administrator of NASA and acting Deputy Chief of Staff of NASA.  She then served as a Strategic Analyst in the Strategic Management and Doctrine Directorate before assuming command of USCGC NORTHLAND (WMEC 904) in Portsmouth, VA.  After NORTHLAND, her research as the Coast Guard’s first National Security Affairs Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution focused on the Arctic and sexual assault prevention.  She reported to the Office of Management and Budget’s National Security Division in July 2015 as a Program Examiner for the Department of Veterans Affairs.  She reported to her current assignment as the Coast Guard’s Drug and Migrant Interdiction Chief in June 2016.

CDR Harrison’s awards include the Bronze Star, Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medal, Coast Guard Commendation Medal (5 awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Coast Guard Achievement Medal and Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.

In her personal time, CDR Harrison is active in many volunteer public service organizations.  Most notably, she has been a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician (EMT) since 1999.

Dr. Kathleen Hicks
Dr. Kathleen Hicks


Senior Vice President, Henry A. Kissinger Chair; and Director, International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies


Kathleen Hicks is senior vice president, Henry A. Kissinger Chair, and director of the International Security Program at CSIS. She is a frequent writer and lecturer on U.S. foreign policy; national security strategy, forces, and budget; and strategic futures. Dr. Hicks previously served in the Department of Defense as principal deputy under secretary for policy, a Senate-confirmed position with responsibility for assisting in the development and oversight of global and regional defense policy, strategy, and operations. She also served as deputy under secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and forces, leading the development of the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance and the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review and crafting guidance for future force capabilities, overseas military posture, and contingency and theater campaign plans.

Dr. Hicks was a senior fellow at CSIS from 2006 to 2009, leading a variety of national security research projects. From 1993 to 2006, she was a career civil servant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, rising from Presidential Management Intern to the Senior Executive Service. Dr. Hicks received numerous recognitions for her service in the Department of Defense (DOD), including distinguished awards from three secretaries of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She also received the 2011 DOD Senior Professional Women’s Association Excellence in Leadership Award. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.P.A. from the University of Maryland, and an A.B. magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Mount Holyoke College. Dr. Hicks was a presidentially appointed commissioner for the National Commission on the Future of the Army. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the Boards of Advisors for the Truman National Security Project and SoldierStrong.

The Honorable Deborah Lee James
The Honorable Deborah Lee James


Secretary of the Air Force


Deborah Lee James is the Secretary of the Air Force, Washington, D.C. She is the 23rd Secretary of the Air Force and is responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of its nearly 660,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian Airmen and their families. She also oversees the Air Force's annual budget of more than $139 billion.

Ms. James has 30 years of senior homeland and national security experience in the federal government and the private sector. Prior to her current position, Ms. James served as President of Science Applications International Corporation's Technical and Engineering Sector, where she was responsible for 8,700 employees and more than $2 billion in revenue.

For nearly a decade, Ms. James held a variety of positions with SAIC to include Senior Vice President and Director of Homeland Security. From 2000 to 2001, she was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Business Executives for National Security, and from 1998 to 2000 she was Vice President of International Operations and Marketing at United Technologies.

During the Clinton Administration, from 1993 to 1998, Ms. James served in the Pentagon as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. In that position, she was the Secretary of Defense’s senior advisor on all matters pertaining to the 1.8 million National Guard and Reserve personnel worldwide. In addition to working extensively with Congress, state governors, the business community, military associations, and international officials on National Guard and Reserve component issues, she oversaw a $10 billion budget and supervised a 100-plus-person staff. Prior to her Senate confirmation in 1993, she served as an assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs.

From 1983 to 1993, she worked as a professional staff member on the House Armed Services Committee, where she served as a senior advisor to the Military Personnel and Compensation Subcommittee, the NATO Burden Sharing Panel, and the Chairman’s Member Services team.

Ms. James earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in comparative area studies from Duke University and a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

Ms. Gayle Lemmon
Ms. Gayle Lemmon


Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; author, Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield; and journalist


Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author most recently of the New York Times bestseller Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield (2015); as well as the New York Times bestseller The Dressmaker of Khair Khana (2011), about a young entrepreneur who supported her community under the Taliban.

Lemmon began her career as a journalist in Washington. From 1997 to 2004, she covered presidential politics and public policy issues for the ABC News Political Unit and served as an editorial producer during the first year of This Week with George Stephanopoulos. In 2004, she left ABC News to pursue her interest in international development and began MBA study at Harvard. It was during this time that she began reporting from conflict regions.

Following her graduation from Harvard Business School, Lemmon served as a Vice President at the global investment firm PIMCO. At the firm, she served in the Executive Office, where she tracked Washington policy for the Investment Committee and credit team. She also served as an Emerging Markets Product Manager and focused on the firm’s Central Bank and Sovereign Wealth Fund clients.

She has reported on Afghanistan since 2005, when she made her first trip to the country. She has written about the country’s politics and economy, the evolving roles of Afghan women and the small but important class of young entrepreneurs for publications including The New York Times, The Financial Times, Fast Company, The Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek Daily Beast.

Writing regularly on entrepreneurship, with a focus on fragile states and developing economies, Gayle has consulted for the World Bank and penned working papers for the Council on Foreign Relations arguing for comprehensive, long-term, collaborative approaches to help entrepreneurs in conflict and post-conflict countries overcome challenges in accessing capital, markets, networks and business-skills training.

In 2011, Harper published The Dressmaker of Khair Khana. The former reporter spent years on the ground reporting the story of Kamila Sidiqi and the dressmaking business she started in her living room, which went on to create jobs and hope for 100 women in her Kabul neighborhood.

In addition to her work on foreign policy and the fight to end child marriage, Gayle has written a number of pieces about women and girls for The Atlantic, including “We Need to Tell Girls They Can Have It All (Even If They Can’t),” which is mentioned in Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

Lemmon is a contributor to The Atlantic’s Defense One site, writing regularly on national security and foreign policy issues. She regularly appears on a number of broadcast networks, including PBS, MSNBC, CNN and National Public Radio, to discuss foreign policy issues. Her TED Talk on Ashley’s War and its all-women Special Ops team this past May has received more than one million views, following on her 2011 TED Talk on the importance of investing in global entrepreneurs. 

Lemmon graduated summa cum laude from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She received an MBA from Harvard, as well as the 2006 Dean’s Award for her work on women’s entrepreneurship. She served as a Fulbright scholar in Spain and a Robert Bosch Foundation fellow in Germany. She speaks Spanish, German and French, and is conversant in Dari. She serves on the boards of Mercy Corps and the International Center for Research on Women and is a member of The Bretton Woods Committee.

Ms. Ellen Lord
Ms. Ellen Lord


President and CEO, Textron Systems Corporation


Ellen Lord was appointed president and chief executive officer of Textron Systems, as well as a member of the Textron Executive Leadership Team, in 2012. In this role, she leads a multi-billion dollar business with a broad range of products and services supporting defense, homeland security, aerospace, infrastructure protection, and other customers around the world.

Prior to assuming her current position, Lord was senior vice president and general manager of Textron Defense Systems, now Weapon & Sensor Systems. Lord took over leadership of that business after serving three years as the senior vice president and general manager of AAI Corporation, now known as Textron Systems’ Electronic Systems, Support Solutions and Unmanned Systems businesses.

Earlier in her career, Lord served as vice president of integration management for Textron Systems, in addition to other business and operations positions. Lord started her Textron career managing proprietary and patented plastics technology for Textron Automotive Technology Center in Dover, New Hampshire.

Lord earned a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of New Hampshire, as well as a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry from Connecticut College. She also is a Textron Six Sigma certified Black Belt, specializing in Design for Six Sigma.

Lord is a member of the Center for a New American Security’s Task Force on Strategy, Technology and the Global Defense Industry. She serves on the board of directors of the Naval Institute Foundation, the U.S. India Business Council, the Defense Technology Initiative, and vice chair of the National Defense Industrial Association.


Ms. Kathleen Troia “KT” McFarland
Ms. Kathleen Troia “KT” McFarland


National Security Analyst, Fox News


Kathleen Troia “KT” McFarland is FOX News’ National Security Analyst. She appears regularly on FOX News and FOX Business News. Ms. McFarland anchors DEFCON3 and writes a regular column for FOXnews.com. She is also the weekly national security commentator for several national radio shows.

Ms. McFarland held national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan Administrations: as an aide to Dr. Henry Kissinger on the NSC Staff (1970-76); member of the Senate Armed Services Committee Staff (1981); Senior Speechwriter to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and later the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (PA) and Pentagon Spokesman (1981-84). Ms. McFarland received the Defense Department’s highest civilian award for her work in the Reagan Administration (Distinguished Service Award, 1985). She ran as a Republican candidate for the US Senate from New York (2006).

Ms. McFarland is a graduate of George Washington University (BA), Oxford University (BA, MA) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PhD program, all but dissertation) with concentrations on nuclear weapons, China and the Soviet Union. She received Graduate

Fellowships from the Ford Foundation, Institute for the Study of World Politics, and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (Hubert Humphrey Fellowship).

Ms. McFarland is a Senior Fellow of the American Conservative Union. She is also a board member of The Jamestown Foundation, a Distinguished Advisor to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

She is married to Alan Roberts McFarland, founding member of McFarland Dewey & Co. They have five grown children and five grandchildren. The McFarlands reside in Long Island.

U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)


First Democratic woman Senator elected in her own right and first woman to chair the Senate Appropriations Committee


The people of Maryland elected Senator Barbara A. Mikulski to be their U.S. Senator because she’s a fighter – looking out for the day–to–day needs of Marylanders and the long–range needs of the nation.

Growing up in the Highlandtown neighborhood of East Baltimore, Mikulski learned the values of hard work, neighbor helping neighbor and heartfelt patriotism. She often saw her father open the family grocery store early so local steelworkers could buy lunch before the morning shift.

Determined to make a difference in her community, Mikulski became a social worker in Baltimore, helping at–risk children and educating seniors about the Medicare program. Social work evolved into community activism when Mikulski successfully organized communities against a plan to build a 16–lane highway through Baltimore’s Fells Point neighborhood. She helped stop the road, saving Fells Point and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, both thriving residential and commercial communities today.

Mikulski is a trailblazer. Her first election was a successful run for Baltimore City Council in 1971, where she served for five years. In 1976, she ran for Congress and won, representing Maryland’s 3rd district for 10 years. In 1986, she ran for Senate and won, becoming the first Democratic Woman Senator elected in her own right. She was re–elected with large majorities in 1992, 1998, 2004 and 2010.

A leader in the Senate, Mikulski is the Dean of the Women – serving as a mentor to other women Senators when they first take office. As the dean, she builds coalitions – proving that the Senate women are not solo acts, but work together to get things done.

When she was sworn into office on January 5, 2011, Mikulski became the longest serving woman Senator in U.S. history. On March 17, 2012 she became the longest–serving woman in the history of the United States Congress. Of these milestones, she says, “It’s not about how long I serve, but about how well I serve my state and my nation.”

On December 20, 2012, Mikulski became the first woman and first Marylander to chair the Senate Appropriations Committee, on which she has served since she arrived in the Senate in 1987.

Mikulski’s experiences as a social worker and activist provided valuable lessons that she draws on as a United States Senator. She believes her constituents have a right to know, a right to be heard and a right to be represented. She listens to her constituents and makes the personal, political.

Ms. Indra Nooyi
Ms. Indra Nooyi


Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo


Indra Nooyi is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo. In its global food and beverage portfolio, PepsiCo has 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales. PepsiCo's main businesses include Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Cola. With more than $63 billion in annual net revenue, PepsiCo makes hundreds of enjoyable foods and beverages that are loved throughout the world.

Mrs. Nooyi is the chief architect of Performance with Purpose, PepsiCo’s promise to do what’s right for the business by doing what’s right for people and the planet. It’s the company’s commitment to sustained growth with a focus on Performance, Human, Environmental and Talent Sustainability. Mrs. Nooyi was named President and CEO on October 1, 2006 and assumed the role of Chairman on May 2, 2007. She has directed the company's global strategy for more than a decade and led its restructuring, including the divestiture of its restaurants into the successful YUM! Brands, Inc., the acquisition of Tropicana and the merger with Quaker Oats that brought the vital Quaker and Gatorade businesses to PepsiCo, the merger with PepsiCo's anchor bottlers, and the acquisition of Wimm-Bill-Dann, the largest international acquisition in PepsiCo's history.

Prior to becoming CEO, Mrs. Nooyi served as President and Chief Financial Officer beginning in 2001, when she was also named to PepsiCo's Board of Directors. In this position, she was responsible for PepsiCo's corporate functions, including finance, strategy, business process optimization, corporate platforms and innovation, procurement, investor relations and information technology. Between February 2000 and April 2001, Mrs. Nooyi was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of PepsiCo. Mrs. Nooyi also served as PepsiCo's Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Development from 1996 until 2000, and as PepsiCo’s Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning from 1994 until 1996. 

Before joining PepsiCo in 1994, Mrs. Nooyi spent four years as Senior Vice President of Strategy and Strategic Marketing for Asea Brown Boveri, a Zurich-based industrials company. She was part of the top management team responsible for the company's U.S. business as well as its worldwide industrial businesses, representing about $10 billion of ABB's $30 billion in global sales.

Between 1986 and 1990, Mrs. Nooyi worked for Motorola, where she was Vice President and Director of Corporate Strategy and Planning, having joined the company as the business development executive for its automotive and industrial electronic group. Prior to Motorola, she spent six years directing international corporate strategy projects at The Boston Consulting Group. Her clients ranged from textiles and consumer goods companies to retailers and specialty chemicals producers. Mrs. Nooyi began her career in India, where she held product manager positions at Johnson & Johnson and at Mettur Beardsell, Ltd., a textile firm.

In addition to being a member of the PepsiCo Board of Directors, Mrs. Nooyi serves as a member of the boards of U.S.-India Business Council, The Consumer Goods Forum, Catalyst, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Tsinghua University. She is also a member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and was appointed to the U.S.-India CEO Forum by the Obama Administration.

She holds a B.S. from Madras Christian College, an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta and a Master of Public and Private Management from Yale University. Mrs. Nooyi is married and has two daughters.

MajGen Lori E. Reynolds, USMC
MajGen Lori E. Reynolds, USMC


Commanding General, Marine Forces Cyber Command and first woman commander at Parris Island


Major General Reynolds was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in May 1986 upon graduating from the United States Naval Academy. Throughout her career she has served in a variety of command and staff billets in the operating forces. As a Lieutenant, she served as a Communications Watch Officer at the Base Communication Center, and later returned to the Division Communications Company where she served as a Communication Center Platoon Commander, Multichannel Platoon Commander, Operations Officer, and Radio Officer. As a Captain and Major, she served with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing Okinawa, Japan as a Detachment Alpha Executive Officer and Commanding Officer. She served with the Ninth Communication Battalion, 1st Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Intelligence Group as the Assistant

Operations Officer and Commanding Officer, Bravo Company. As a Lieutenant Colonel, she commanded Ninth Communication Battalion, I MEF and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II in Fallujah, Iraq. As a Colonel, she commanded I MEF Headquarters Group and deployed the Group to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan in support of I MEF FWD/Regional Command Southwest in Helmand Province during Operation Enduring Freedom. She recently served as the Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot/Eastern Recruiting Region, Parris Island, SC.

In the Supporting Establishment, she has served as an Acquisition Project Officer at the Marine Corps Systems Command, Candidate Platoon Commander for Charlie Company, Officer Candidate School, Commanding Officer of Recruiting Station Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, an Action Officer and Deputy Division Head for Strategic Plans Division, Command, Control, Communications, and Computers (C4) Department, Headquarters Marine Corps and as Division Chief (J6) at the Joint Staff in the Pentagon. Her most recent assignment was as the Principal Director (Asia & Pacific), Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Asia & Pacific).

Her professional military education includes the United States Naval Academy, The Basic School, the Basic Communication Officer’s Course, Command and Control Systems Course, the Navy War College and the Army War College. She has earned Masters Degrees from both the Naval War College and the Army War College.

Her personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (with gold star), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with gold star).

VADM Jan E. Tighe, USN
VADM Jan E. Tighe, USN


Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare; first woman Director of Naval Intelligence; and first woman commander of a numbered fleet in U.S. Navy


Vice Adm. Tighe was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and raised in Plantation, Florida. Tighe is a 1984 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and was commissioned as a cryptologist. She studied Russian at the Defense Language Institute. She graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California in 2001 with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and an M.S. in Applied Mathematics.

Tighes’s previous tours include duty with Naval Security Group Activities in Florida, Virginia, Japan, VQ-1 and Naval Information Warfare Activity. She also had staff assignments on the Headquarters of the Pacific Fleet, Naval Security Group, Naval Network Warfare Command, and served as executive assistant to Commander, U.S. Cyber Command. Tighe commanded more than 2,800 multi-service and multi-agency personnel at the National Security Agency/Central Security Service Hawaii in Kunia.

As a flag officer, Tighe served as Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/Commander, U.S. 10th Fleet; U.S. Cyber Command Deputy J3; OPNAV N2N6 director, Decision Superiority; Naval Postgraduate School interim president; and deputy commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet.

In July 2016, she assumed duties the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, and the 66th Director of Naval Intelligence.

Tighe wears both the Information Warfare pin and Naval Aviation Observer wings, earned while deployed as an airborne special evaluator aboard VQ-1 EP-3E aircraft in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Shield/Storm.

Tighe has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (second award), the Strike/Flight Air Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (fourth award), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Tighe is a member of the Acquisition Professionals Community and holds a Level III Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) certification in Program Management.

Maj Katelyn van Dam, USMCR
Maj Katelyn van Dam, USMCR


2D Civil Affairs Group (CAG), Marine Corps attack helicopter pilot, Co-Founder of No Exceptions


Katelyn van Dam is a full time graduate student at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC.  In her personal capacity, Katelyn was the co-founder and Director of Strategy and Policy for No Exceptions, a nonpartisan initiative that supported the full integration of women into all combat arms specialties in the military.  She is an alumna of the Center for New American Security’s 2014 Next Generation National Security Leaders program.  She is a member of the Truman National Security Project’s Defense Council. 

 Katelyn was recently a guest on the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Smart Women, Smart Power podcast.  Katelyn’s series on military integration was published on War on the Rocks.  Her article “For a Limited Time Only,” which spoke to best practices for mixed gender instruction at the entry-level, was published in the Marine Corps Gazette.  She also co-authored an article title “Lead (Millennials), Follow, or Get Out of the Way” that was published on the U.S. Naval Institute blog and two articles on military integration published on JustSecurity.org.

Katelyn is a Major in the United States Marine Corps Reserve.  She served on active duty for 10 years. In her last assignment, she served as a Staff Platoon Commander at The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia teaching new Marine officers basic tactics and leadership.  Katelyn is an attack helicopter pilot by trade. She flew for Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267, based out of Camp Pendleton, CA.  During that time she deployed to conduct combat operations in Afghanistan and counter-piracy operations in the Horn of Africa/Gulf of Aden.  Katelyn is a 2005 graduate of the United States Naval Academy.  She is married to her amazing husband, David van Dam, a decorated Marine combat veteran.

Brig Gen Wilma Vaught, USAF (Ret.)
Brig Gen Wilma Vaught, USAF (Ret.)


President Emeritus, Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc. and first woman to deploy with an Air Force bomber unit


Retired Air Force Brigadier General Wilma L. Vaught served in the United States Air Force for over 28 years, retiring in 1985 as one of the most highly decorated women in U.S. history. Throughout her career, General Vaught forged new paths and pioneered opportunities for the servicewomen who would follow. A Vietnam veteran, she was one of the few military women in that war who were not nurses. And, when she was promoted to brigadier general in 1980, she was one of a handful of women in the world who had ever achieved that distinction.

While her military accomplishments are extraordinary, General Vaught's most lasting contribution will be her successful efforts related to the Women In Military Service For America Memorial where she was the driving force that built and now operates the $22.5 million memorial. Located at the gateway to Arlington National Cemetery, the Women’s Memorial is the nation’s only major memorial to pay tribute to the some 3 million women who have served in the nation’s defense. The Memorial stands as a place where America’s servicewomen can take their rightful place in history and where their stories will be told for future generations. Because of Wilma Vaught, the American people and visitors from around the world can learn of the courage and bravery of tens of thousands of American women who, like her, have pioneered the future.

Among General Vaught’s many military awards and decorations, are the Defense and Air Force Distinguished Service Medals, Air Force Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star Medal. Her many distinctive civilian achievements include the 1998 National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs Veteran Advocate of the Year Award, 2000 National Women’s Hall of Fame Inductee, 2003 National Women’s History Month Honoree, and the 2003 The Chapel of the Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Bronze Medallion Award. She was awarded the Intrepid Award by the National Organization for Women in 2006, the US Air Force Woman of Distinction Merit Award in 2007, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs Women’s History Month Honoree in 2008 and in 2010 was inducted into the US Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame. More recently in 2012, she was the first recipient of the USAF Brigadier General Wilma Vaught Visionary Leadership Award as well as a recipient of the Sea Services Leadership Association North Star Lifetime Achievement Award. The White House honored her as a Champion of Change in 2013 and she was awarded the NSDAR President General’s Medallion. In 2015 the National Graduate School established in General Vaught’s honor the Brigadier General Wilma L. Vaught Military Women Service Scholarship.


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