NIF Celebrates 20 Years of Service to Naval Intelligence and its People

By CAPT Sidney E. Wood, Jr., USN (Ret.)

In the summer 1987 edition of the NIP Quarterly, there was a reference (on page 10) to “a NIP-sponsored Naval Intelligence Museum Foundation…which could receive monetary donations… for display at NMITC. We need your inputs to determine if there is sufficient interest and support in our community to proceed further.”

There was. From the winter 1988 edition: “work is now underway to establish a NIP subsidiary foundation: to establish…a naval intelligence museum; and to foster awards recognizing excellence in the naval intelligence training establishment.”

The summer 1989 Quarterly announced the “Naval Intelligence Foundation Established” on 14 January 1989, with CAPT Donn Burrows as President, CDR Andrew Brent as Vice President, LCDR Tom Gilfillan as Secretary, and CAPT Roger Granum as Treasurer, (the only still-serving “Founding member” of the Foundation, now our Vice president). RADM Mac Showers was a founding father of the Foundation and remains a strong supporter. The tipping point had been that, on the dedication of NMITC, in October 1986, Mrs. Rufus Taylor offered the NMITC Commanding Officer, CAPT Bob Trafton, a donation of $10,000 to be used to provide a memorial to her late husband, VADM Rufus Taylor, the first 1630 to serve as Director of Naval Intelligence. Because federal regulations prohibited the Navy from accepting such funds directly, then DNI, RADM Bill Studeman, requested NIP undertake the formation of a foundation to accept the donation on behalf of the Navy in order to honor Mrs. Taylor’s request.

The Foundation is a tax-exempt educational and charitable organization chartered to solicit, receive, administer, and donate funds and property to advance the awareness and knowledge of Naval and Maritime Intelligence, and to preserve, extol, and extend the culture and heritage of the Naval Intelligence Profession. Its purpose is to recognize and reward the achievement of excellence on the part of Naval Intelligence Professionals. In this way, NIF promotes visibility, awareness, and support to the Naval Intelligence community in the eyes of the operational navy, other intelligence services and agencies, the Department of Defense, and the public at large. NIF is not a membership organization. It consists entirely of 19 officers and trustees, all members of NIP. NIF counts on the NIP membership for the vast majority of its support.

It was determined at the outset that the Foundation would pursue a broader objective and that funds would be sought to expand the work of the Foundation. It was decided early on that the Foundation would include recognition of excellence in Naval Intelligence instruction, in VADM Taylor’s honor and memory, at both NMITC and FITCPAC.

The first annual meeting of the NIF Board of Trustees was 17 June 1989, by which time the first Taylor Awards had been presented to LT Tim Duvall, USN, and GySgt Mike D’Andrea, USMC, both of NMITC.

On 1 December 1989, the NIF geographic focus shifted to Northern Virginia, closer to the “seat of power,” as RADM Sumner Shapiro was elected President, CAPT Tony Sesow as Vice President, and CAPT Sidney Wood as Secretary. CAPT Granum continued as Treasurer. In June 1990, CDR Bill Bailey was elected as General Counsel, serving both NIP and NIF in that capacity. In 1997, CAPT Laurie Forbes was elected to succeed CDR Bailey as General Counsel. In 2000, a division of labor became necessary and RADM Shapiro was elected Chairman of the Board, CAPT Sesow as President, CAPT Wood as Vice President, and CAPT Fritz Knecht as Secretary. In June 2002, CAPT Wood succeeded CAPT Sesow as President, CAPT Granum was elected Vice President, and CAPT Lou Martinez was elected as Executive Director in January 2003. In June 2004, CAPT Bob Juengling was elected as Secretary to succeed CAPT Knecht. Upon the loss of RADM Shapiro in November 2006, ADM Bill Studeman agreed to come aboard as Chairman of the Board.

NIF goals, objectives, and purpose evolved as well, toward recognizing “achievement,” whether academic or operational, on the part of Naval Intelligence personnel. It was recognized early on that the Foundation would be hard pressed to raise the kind of money required to establish and support a museum. We decided that the best thing we could do to “support naval intelligence and its people” would be to recognize excellence in performance, in the most visible way possible, at all the places where there were numbers of Naval Intelligence personnel, in the schoolhouses – the Naval Academy ADM Robert L. J. Long Award, at C School (~25 awards per year), the RADM Donald M. Showers NIOBC Awards (six per year), the VADM Rufus L. Taylor NMITC and FITCPAC (now FITC) Awards (two per year), the ADM B.R. Inman Naval Post Graduate School Award, the Ann Caracristi NDIC Post Graduate Award, and the ADM Ike Kidd Naval War College Award. We expanded our horizons to the operational navy, establishing awards for Naval Intelligence personnel in the fleet with the CDR Dan F. Shanower Intelligence Specialist of the year Awards, (junior and senior; afloat and ashore), the NIP Capital Chapter ONI Sailor of the Year Awards (junior, senior, reserve, and Blue Jacket), the Naval Reserve Analyst of the Year Award, the RADM Thomas A. Brooks Junior Officer of the Year Awards (afloat and ashore), and the NIF-Navy League Award for exceptional leadership in providing excellence in operational intelligence support to the fleet. NIF has provided permanent plaques at each of the locations where there are major awards, upon which are engraved the names of the annual winners. Through its Awards, scholarship, and Essay contest programs, NIF now sponsors and funds 13 awards, four scholarships, and two Naval Intelligence Essay Contest prizes. The numbers of award winners is now over 50 per year, 56 in 2008, 344 total through 2008; officer, enlisted, and civilian; men and women; Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard. In addition to plaques or certificates, and cash awards for enlisted winners, every NIF award includes a five-year or one-year NIP membership. Just like FEDEX, “We deliver.” CAPTs Tom Ellsworth, Frank Kelly, and Mark Greer have successively and very successfully managed the awards program for these 20 years.

NIF has funded, through the generous contributions of NIP members, Corporate Sponsors, the annual Golf Tournament, and the families of Naval Intelligence heroes, four scholarships; the VADM Donald Engen, the CAPT Anthony Sesow, the CDR Dan Shanower, and the CAPT Richard Bates scholarships. The NIF scholarship program has been named in honor and memory of our long-time, admired, respected, and loved leader, RADM Sumner Shapiro, who originated and supported the program from its inception. CAPT Dave McMunn developed the program and serves as its chairman to this day. Eligible for these scholarships are not only the children of Naval Intelligence Professionals, (including Navy Reserve, Marine, and Coast Guard, officer and enlisted), but active duty and reserve Navy enlisted intelligence specialist personnel as well. Starting with one $1,000 scholarship per year in 2000, NIF now awards four $1,500 scholarships per year. To date, NIF has provided 22 scholarships to the children of Naval Intelligence Professionals and three to enlisted intelligence specialists.

Finally, again with the generous support of NIP members, in 2002 the Foundation partnered with the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings to sponsor an annual Naval Intelligence Essay Contest, with prizes of $1,000 and $500, respectively for the first and second place winners. The prizes are funded by NIF, endowed in part by ADM Bob Inman.

In addition to the programs described above, NIF has supported Naval Intelligence and its people in other ways on other occasions. In 1993, NIF raised over $8,000 to procure Plankowner Certificates for over 2,000 officers, enlisteds, and civilians assigned for the commissioning of the NMIC on 20 October of that year.

Subsequent to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon, NIP and NIF immediately launched a memorial fund for the widows and children of the CNO Intelligence Plot shipmates killed at their duty stations on that black day. NIF received over 200 donations totaling over $135,000, from NIP members and others, every penny of which was distributed directly to the surviving wives and children. Each of the six widows received $12,000, and each of the six children $10,000 for their educations, personally delivered by NIF and NIP representatives.

In 1995, NIF instituted a Corporate Sponsorship Program, the purpose of which is to raise money to enhance the value of the scholarship program. In return for their annual $500 sponsorship, the sponsors receive a full-rights representative membership in NIP, recognition in the NIP Quarterly, and participation in the NIF Annual Board of Trustees Meeting. All NIP members are urged to encourage their companies to support this very worthwhile cause by becoming corporate sponsors. Similarly, since 1993, under the masterful hand of CAPT Tony Sesow, NIF has conducted an annual golf tournament in the Washington area, all profits of which go to support the RADM Sumner Shapiro Scholarship Program.

For the past nine months, at both NIP and NIF quarterly board meetings, there have been constructive and iterative proposals, analysis, discussion, and actions related to changing the NIP charter to be more relevant and responsive to the professional development, mentoring, and career support for Sea Services intelligence officers, enlisteds, and civilians. For its part, the Foundation will follow the NIP lead, and support the programs with funding and access to NIF participants who can support events such as speakers programs. It is important that we maintain the momentum in these initiatives, but it is equally important that the younger target audience also signal their interests and needs. The Navy, at the leadership level, is currently contemplating refined directions in how the Navy’s Intelligence and Information Enterprises will relate to the future. Out of this dialog, there could emerge new opportunities for some additional thinking about the roles and directions of the various professional intelligence-related associations.

We have strived from the beginning, to endow all awards, scholarships, and the essay contest so that they may be funded in perpetuity. All of the “named” awards noted above; Brooks, Caracristi (partial), Inman, Kidd, Long, NIP Capital Chapter (partial), Shanower, Showers, and Taylor are endowed. The Foundation recognizes that the current economic environment is not remotely “user friendly.” We also recognize that you, like most of us, are under a constant barrage of solicitations to support a host of worthy causes. Nevertheless, we are hopeful that you recognize Naval Intelligence as a major part of your life and your contribution to the well being of our nation. We have all contributed to make Naval Intelligence what it is today, and it has contributed to make all of us what we are today. It is in that light that we seek your contributions to endow (and name) the Naval Reserve Intelligence Analyst of the Year Award, the NIF-Navy League Exceptional Leadership Award, the C School Outstanding Graduate Awards, and the Naval Intelligence Essay Contest. This need provides an opportunity for groups, e.g., NIP Chapters, or individuals, to undertake one of these endowments. Groups or individuals endowing one of these programs will be recognized in the NIP Quarterly and when the awards are presented at the respective sites. We welcome all contributions, however large or small. All contributions are tax-deductible and will be acknowledged promptly as such. You may designate your contribution for any of the programs described above. Contributors of $100 will be recognized as NIF Benefactors. A $500-$999 gift establishes the contributor as a Life Benefactor, $1,000-$9,999 as a Sustaining Life Benefactor, $10,000-$24,999 as a member of the Trustees’ Circle, $25,000-$49,999 as a member of the President’s Circle, and $50,000 as a member of the Chairman’s Circle. Contributions may be sent to:

The Foundation Committee
Naval Intelligence Professionals
Attn: Chairman
P.O. Box 11579
Burke, Virginia 22009-1579

For those of you who have created Charitable Remainder Trusts, we encourage you to consider making NIF one of the beneficiaries. Those who do so will be recognized as members of the NIF Benefactors Circle.