Aberdeen Proving Ground is the newest home for a chapter of Women in Defense, an affiliate of the National Defense Industrial Association.

Women In Defense began in the fall of 1979 as the brainchild of seven women who met for dinner at the conclusion of a major trade association conference. At that time, they discussed the idea of starting an informal network to assist participants-especially women and thus the organizational name-in expanding their knowledge of national security issues and of the national defense community in which they participated. Formal incorporation as a nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization was complete on Dec. 19, 1985, in the District of Columbia.

WID was founded to cultivate and support the professional growth of women through networking, education and career development. WID members include members of the military, civilian employees and contractors, and membership is open to both women and men.

The Aberdeen chapter of WID meets monthly for a networking or information event. Starting in October, a series of luncheons featuring high-ranking women as guest speakers will take place at restaurants around Aberdeen and Edgewood.

On Oct. 8, Micki LaForgia, the project manager of the U.S. Army Computer Hardware, Enterprise, Software and Solutions, and WID Fort Monmouth Chapter president, will speak at a luncheon held at Vitale's Restaurant in Edgewood. LaForgia will talk about her professional success in the defense sector and about the organizations relocating to APG. Anyone interested in attending this event, should contact Christa Harrop, 443-617-5378, or christa.harrop@gmail.com.

In order to accommodate various schedules, WID will hold its monthly events at alternating times of day. The luncheons will be held in October, December, February, April and June at 11:30 a.m. On the alternating months -- November, January, March and May, WID will hold an evening networking event.

Information about these events is distributed by e-mail. To be placed on the e-mail distribution list to be notified about these events, contact Joan Michel, 410-652-4456, or joan.michel@profilellc.com.

In addition to supporting the professional development needs of women, the Aberdeen WID is also making plans to award scholarships to local high school students pursuing higher education that would lead to a career in national defense and national security.

In addition, the Aberdeen chapter is joining forces with the Fort Monmouth chapter to ease the transition of members as they relocate to the Aberdeen area.

"The idea is to create a larger community of women defense professionals," said Tamera Rush, vice president and founding member of the Aberdeen chapter. The joined chapters will operate as the Mid-Atlantic Chapter.