Magazine article National Defense

Women in Defense

Magazine article National Defense

Women in Defense

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). The association 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.

Women In Defense is an affiliate of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA). The organization's beginnings date to 1979 and it became a full affiliate of NDIA in 2004. 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. More than 1,500 professionals belong.

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.

In the past year, more than 2,000 professionals have attended WID events for professional development and networking throughout the nation. These have ranged from the National Fall Conference in Arlington, Va., to dozens of programs developed and conducted by chapters.

Encouraging interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and math is among the priorities of the national organization and its chapters.

Chapters located throughout the nation give members access to defense and national security professionals on a local level. As of summer 2008, WID has 11 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.

To learn about starting a WlD chapter, visit

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 employees. 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. The Greater Frederick Chapter serves members in the Frederick, Md. area and beyond, including other parts of Maryland, parts of Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Professionals from defense industry make up the majority of the members in the Michigan Chapter, centered around Detroit, and the Upstate New York Chapter, centered around Syracuse, N.Y. In both cases, local military installations play a role in the vitality of the organization.

Details about each chapter are available at http://wid.ndia. …

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