Women in Defense, A National Security Organization

Article excerpt

Cultivating and supporting the advancement and recognition of women in all aspects of national security is the mission of Women In Defense, A National Security Organization (WID). A nonprofit organization, WID was established to provide women a formal environment for professional growth through networking, education and career development. Members of this professional organization, including men and women, have careers related to the defense of the United States and national security.

Incorporated in 1985, Women In Defense is an affiliate of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA). WID members automatically become members of NDIA. Members represent three main categories: large and small defense companies and other businesses; all branches of the armed forces, plus federal government agencies; and academia, associations, and professional services.

Members receive:

* a forum for expanding professional networks and for mentoring

* educational and professional development opportunities

* entree to distinguished government and industry officials in open discussions

* a source for scholarships.

A board of directors elected by the membership governs this organization. Appointed committees help carry out the association's mission.

During the 2005-2006 term, hundreds of professionals have attended WID National programs for professional development and networking. These have ranged from the National Fall Conference in Arlington, Va., to the popular Executive Breakfast Series.

Chapters located throughout the nation give members access to defense and national security professionals on a local level. As of summer 2006, WID has eight chapters and a relationship with Women In Defence & Security Canada. Chapters represent a local means of serving members and the defense community and fulfilling the association's mission. Chapters host programs in cooperation with local military installations, provide professional development for members through leadership opportunities, and support community-based charitable endeavors, members of the armed forces, and defense-related educational pursuits. To learn about starting a WID chapter, visit http://wid.ndia.org/chapters.

Some chapters have developed around military installations. The Iowa/Illinois Chapter is centered at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., and the Picatinny Chapter attracts employees from Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. Also in New Jersey, WID members have formed the Monmouth Chapter. The majority of members in these chapters are military or government. In southern Maryland, industry representatives make up the majority of the Chesapeake Bay Chapter, which draws participants from the Naval Air Station Patuxent River and supporting defense industry.

In the Tennessee Valley Chapter, where many members represent industry, activities center around Huntsville, Ala. Members in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area belong to the Capital Chapter, and Southern California members participate in the San Diego Chapter. The Rocky Mountain Chapter is home to WID members in the Colorado Springs, Colo. area. Details about each chapter are available at http://wid.ndia.org.

Shortly after the association celebrated its 20th anniversary of incorporation in December 2005, it broke the 1,000 member level. Growth and expansion have characterized Women In Defense in recent years. In the past five years, the number of WID members has tripled. The development of chapters since late 2001 has fueled most of this growth as national security professionals around the nation have learned about the value the association can bring their careers and their employers.

Scholarships. Since 1987, Women In Defense has encouraged the pursuit of careers in national defense and national security by giving HORIZONS scholarships. HORIZONS scholarships are awarded to candidates pursuing higher education who demonstrate significant leadership potential that can lead to contributions in the science, engineering and business disciplines. …

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