NDIA announces recipients of its highest annual honors


ARLINGTON, VA – The National Defense Industrial Association’s board chairman, Arnold Punaro, is pleased to announce Tuesday, Oct. 5, the 2021 awardees of the Arlington, Virginia-based trade organization’s highest honors.

Michèle Flournoy will receive the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award, recognizing her outstanding leadership and influence at the highest levels of national security. The award is bestowed on someone who best reflects Eisenhower’s strong commitment to ensuring a robust national security posture.

Flournoy is co-founder and managing partner of WestExec Advisors and co-founder and former CEO of the Center for a New American Security, where she currently serves as the board chair. She was undersecretary of defense for policy from February 2009 to February 2012, and principal adviser to the Secretary of Defense in formulating national security and defense policy, oversight of military plans and operations and in National Security Council deliberations.

“Michèle Flournoy’s storied career is exemplary of the spirit of Dwight Eisenhower,” Punaro said. “Her many and varied roles in defense have all been in the best interest and service of national security. She is most deserving of this award.”


Eren Ozmen will receive the James Forrestal Industry Leadership Award, recognizing her as an industry leader and champion for a strong and agile defense industrial base. The award is bestowed on an industry executive who best reflects Forrestal’s vision, guidance and staunch support of a strong defense industry.

Ozmen is chairwoman and president of Sierra Nevada Corp., a global aerospace and national security firm which she co-owns with her husband. When purchased in 1994, Sierra Nevada was a small, high-technology startup business with 20 employees. Under Ozmen, it has become a top woman-owned aerospace and defense contractor, a multibillion-dollar global leader in space, aviation, national security and defense.

“Eren Ozmen’s leadership and drive as a visionary in aerospace and defense is a prime example of what is possible with a strong commitment and belief in the mission,” said Michael Bayer, NDIA’s vice chairman of the board. “Her leadership exemplifies the essence of NDIA’s Forrestal award.”


Adam “AJ” Jarnagin will receive the Kathleen P. Sridhar Small Business Executive of the Year Award, recognizing his steadfast commitment to excellence and advancements of small business in defense. The award is bestowed on a defense industry small-business executive in honor of the late Kathleen Sridhar, known for her leadership, selfless passion for mentoring small-business owners and support for a strong small-business sector within the defense industrial base. 

Jarnagin is founding partner and CEO of EXPANSIA, a service-disabled veteran-owned company of strategy architects, engineers and technologists who consult on design, development execution and technology integration for defense organizations.

“NDIA is thrilled to honor AJ Jarnagin, who has demonstrated how vital fast and nimble small businesses are to defense,” said Mary Lockhart, chair of NDIA’s Sridhar Award Selection Committee. “He has shown through EXPANSIA a commitment to national security and proven strategies to support our warfighters.”

The Sridhar award will be presented at the NDIA Fall Board of Directors Luncheon; the Eisenhower and Forrestal awards will be presented at the Eisenhower Award Dinner. Both events will take place Monday, Nov. 15, at The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City, in Arlington.

For media queries, contact Evamarie Socha at esocha@NDIA.org.

About NDIA

The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is America's leading defense industry association promoting national security. NDIA provides a legal and ethical forum for the exchange of information between industry and government on national security issues. NDIA and its members foster the development of the most innovative and superior equipment, training, and support for warfighters and first responders through its divisions, local chapters, affiliated associations, and events. For more information, visit NDIA.org