Women in Defense

By Menker, Janice M. | National Defense, August 2003 | Go to article overview

Women in Defense


Menker, Janice M., National Defense


Chesapeake Bay Chapter

With the formation of its newest unit-the Capital Chapter, headed by Merritt Alien-Women In Defense now has five chapters nationwide. Over the next year, this space will highlight each of those chapters and its members.

We begin, this month, with the Chesapeake Bay Chapter, located in the Patuxent River area of Southern Maryland. In just one year, that chapter's membership has increased to more than 70 members from Lexington Park, Indian Head Naval Surface Warfare Center, the U.S. Naval Academy and the Naval Air Systems Command. Corporate representation includes Booz Alien Hamilton, ManTech Systems Engineering Corporation and ARINC Engineering Services.

Established in 1985, WID is an organization for individuals whose careers are related to national security and the defense industry. Affiliated with the National Defense Industrial Association, WID promotes the professional development of its membership. It supports NDIA's efforts on behalf of the security of the United States and the health of the defense industry.

Through the Horizons Foundation, WID annually presents scholarships to graduating high school seniors seeking careers in national security. This year, the Chesapeake Bay Chapter will award $1,500 in such scholarships.

"Women In Defense offers opportunities to diversify and broaden one's horizons," Walter noted. Those efforts seem to be paying off.

"Women have made progress in the defense field," Vice Adm. Joseph Dyer, commander of the Naval Air Systems Command, told a luncheon hosted jointly by the Chesapeake Chapter and The Patuxent Partnership. "Thirty years ago, there was but one woman in NavAir's senior executive ranks out of 50 positions. Today there are nine women."

WID membership also includes a number of women who own and operate their own small business. These companies provide a range of services, from research to manufacturing products such as ammunition.

One of WIDs primary goals is networking, creating forums where women and men from different occupational areas, business sectors, government and industry can get together and discuss issues pertinent to national security and homeland defense. …

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