Magazine article National Defense

Women in Defense, A National Security Organization

Magazine article National Defense

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). 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 became an affiliate of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) in 2004. The organization's beginnings date to 1979. In 2011, WID celebrated its 25th anniversary since being established formally as an organization.

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 3,400 professionals belong.

Members receive:

* a framework for expanding professional networks and for mentoring

* educational and professional development opportunities, including information from National Defense magazine

* entree to distinguished government and industry officials in open discussions

* a source for scholarships.

The National Board of Directors, elected by the membership, governs this organization. Appointed committees help carry out the association's mission.

In the past year, nearly 5,000 professionals have attended WID events for professional development and networking throughout the nation. These have ranged from the National Fall Conference in Washington, D.C., to dozens of programs developed and conducted by chapters.

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

Members gain access to fellow defense and national security professionals through chapters located throughout the nation. As of summer 2011, WID has 18 chapters. 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.

Some chapters have developed around military installations. The oldest chapter in the current form, the Iowa/Illinois Chapter, is centered at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., while the newer Greater Hampton Roads Chapter focuses on several military installations in eastern Virginia. The Belvoir Chapter is also focused on an Army installation.

In northern New Jersey, the Picatinny Chapter attracts many government employees, as does the Mid-Atlantic Chapter, which focuses on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. 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 and Fort Detrick, Md. areas, plus western Maryland, parts of Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Professionals from defense industry make up the majority of the members in the Minnesota Chapter, the Central Florida Chapter, centered around Orlando and covering all of Florida, the Michigan Chapter, centered around Detroit, the Upstate New York Chapter, centered around Syracuse, N. …

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