NAWCWD graduates first cohort of NPS certificate program

NAWCWD graduates first cohort of NPS certificate programBy STACIE LAWRENCE

NAWCWD Public Affairs

Seven Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division teammates were honored as the first cohort to complete the Naval Postgraduate School’s accredited Applied Trajectory Optimization Certificate program during a ceremony Jan. 31 at China Lake.

“This was a great opportunity to learn from the experts at NPS about a subject that is applicable to many projects here on base,” said Brandon Norton, a NAWCWD mechanical engineer who completed the program. “At NAWCWD, we are constantly trying to find ways to make systems fly farther and more effectively, something that Trajectory Optimization has the potential to achieve.”

The one-year, distance-learning program grew from an effort started in 2011 in hopes of transferring knowledge and skills in guidance and control from NPS’ Astronautical Engineering Degree Program to NAWCWD. The Applied Trajectory Optimization Certificate is a series of four courses beginning annually in the spring quarter.

The program was initially created to specifically meet the Weapons and Energetics Department’s guidance, navigation and control requirements and has now evolved to applications beyond weapons and energetics. Informal course offerings began in FY15 and the certificate program was formalized in April 2018.

“What you’ve been doing for the last year is pretty significant,” said Rear Adm. Scott Dillon, NAWCWD commander and ceremony guest speaker. “The time, energy and effort you’ve spent has greatly refined your expertise. What’s just as impressive is to see us build on a kernel of a good idea and turn it into a more formal effort. It’s these sorts of programs that provide us with a window into knowledge that is directly applicable to programs that are underway here. So, it really is an impressive accomplishment and I congratulate you on that.”

The course material is drawn from state-of-the-art theory and techniques developed by faculty at NPS. The certificate program’s main goal is to provide students with a unique skillset on advanced guidance and control tools with a special focus on military aerospace systems.

“Courses from NPS have the unique advantage of being focused on Navy needs,” Norton added. “Many of our class examples and assignments were tailored to China Lake and solving missile-specific challenges. To me, knowing and understanding the basic principles and terminology helps us get extended capabilities to the fleet.”

The seven NAWCWD graduates of the NPS program were Rebecca Garnett, Russell Haverstock, Justin Kang, Douglas Lamb, Robert Mar, Brandon Norton and Chang Yu.

NAWCWD employees who are interested in learning more about this certificate program may contact Douglas Lamb, the local point of contact for the program.

Pictured: Rear Adm. Scott Dillon, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division commander, joins NAWCWD graduates of the first cohort of the Naval Postgraduate School’s Applied Trajectory Optimization Certificate program during a ceremony Jan. 31 at China Lake. The graduates, in the front row from left are, Rebecca Garnett, Russell Haverstock, Justin Kang, Douglas Lamb, Robert Mar, Chang Yu and Brandon Norton. Joining the graduates in the back row from left are NPS Professor Garth Hobson; NPS Professor Michael Ross, academic advisor for the program; NPS Professor Mark Karpenko, second from right, program director; and Dan Carreño director of NAWCWD Weapons and Energetics. — U.S. Navy photo by Paul Kakert

Story First Published: 2019-04-19