While Veterans Day is an opportunity for Americans to reflect on those who have served in wars, it is also a day to reflect on the civilians who have served in those same wars. Last Friday, one company in Alexandria took time to honor employees who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Center for Naval Analysis (CNA) is located at Mark Center in Alexandria. It is a nonprofit, public-interest research and analysis organization, employing 600 people. This makes it the fourth largest company in Alexandria.
CNA conducts research and analysis that focuses on a wide range of public policy issues including national security, Homeland Security, health, education, transportation and other issues. It was founded in 1942.
Robert Murray, an Alexandria resident and CNA’s president, said, “In 1942, it was CNA that suggested sending our mathematicians to sea with the Navy, and we have served the military and other organizations since that time. The 31 analysts who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom are just the latest members of the CNA family to be deployed with the military in time of war,” he said.
Carter Malkasian was won of those analysts. Until 2002, he was a professor of history. Then he decided to change careers and came to work at CNA. “It was only sort of changing careers,” Malkasian said. “I’ve always been interested in history, and it is helpful to provide historical context as an analyst.”
DURING OPERATION Iraqi Freedom, Malkasian was with the Marines in Kuwait. “I worked with a group of analysts who looked at data and provided real-time and long-range analysis about what we were seeing,” he said. “We received data every day, looked at it and prepared daily reports for the people who were running the air operations.”
Malkasian lived in a tent from January until May. “Anyone who was with the Marines during Operation Iraqi Freedom lived in a tent,” he said.
What was the hardest part of being an embedded analyst? “Just being away from home,” Malkasian said.
At Friday’s ceremony, Malkasian and his colleagues received plaques and praise. “Because of CNA folks being forward in all the right places, we have data we can use for years,” said Adm. William D. Crowder, director, Deep Blue – the Navy Operations Group on the staff of the chief of naval operations. “Having the kinds of facts and information collected by CNA analysis is the information that “helps you win arguments, get dollars for programs and, most importantly, shape doctrine.”
Crowder expressed his pleasure at being present to honor the CNA analysts. “What you have done for the long-term health of the Navy, the military, the Department of Defense and this country is incalculable,” he said. “You put our Navy and our nation on a strong path.”