ACSC Department of Leadership


About the Department:

The Department of Leadership is the ACSC focal point for the continuing development of mid-level officer leadership for the US Air Force.   The flagstone of the department is the spring Leadership Course.  This core course is designed to help mid-level officers examine leadership theory and lessons learned, while introspectively examining their own theory and best practices, in order to prepare them for higher level leadership positions.  In addition to the Leadership Course, the Department of Leadership also coordinates within Air University in order to ensure a continuity of effort with regards to leadership instruction across schools.


Department Leadership

                                Department Chair:


Colonel J. William "Bill" DeMarco, USAF (ret), serves as the Chair of the Department of Leadership at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), Maxwell AFB, Alabama. His Leadership and Command experiences include command at the squadron, group, and region level, as well as serving as ACSC’s 44th Commandant. Bill is an adjunct professor with Auburn University in Leadership. He served as a Na3onal Security Affairs Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and is a fellow at The Judge Business School, Cambridge University, England, as well as a senior associate with GiANT Worldwide leadership consul3ng.  He also contributes as a leadership consultant for the National WWII Museum’s Corporate Leadership Academy in New Orleans, LA, and is the founder and CEO of the Mastermind Century Group, LLC. A command pilot having qualified in five different weapons systems (C-23A, C-12F, C-141B, KC-10A, and the KC-135R), he holds three masters degrees and is a graduate of the USAF’s School of Advanced Air and Space Studies.



Research Interest/Expertise: Leadership theory and philosophy as well as leadership case studies both modern and historical.



                           Deputy Chair:

Lieutenant Colonel Shannon G. Smith, serves as Instructor in the Department of Leadership at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Lt Col Smith is a career Security Forces (SF) officer and has commanded four times at the squadron level, cumulatively leading over 1,500 SF Airmen. Additionally, he served in direct support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM as Brigade Commander and Commandant, Iraq National Police Academy, An Numinayah Training Base, Iraq. He also served in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM as Defense Force Commander, Shahbaz AB, Pakistan. Lt Col Smith has extensive professional military education experience. Prior to his current assignment, he taught at the USAF’s Squadron Officer School and the USAF International Officer School where he served as the Dean of Education. He further served as Air Force Faculty Advisor and Instructor at United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Quantico Marine Corps Base, VA. Lt Col Smith published works include co-authoring and editing AU-2, Guidelines for Command, the USAF’s official guide for squadron commanders. He is a graduate of Troy University, ACSC, and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

                              Director of Leadership Psychology:

Dr. Mary L. Bartlett

Dr.Bartlett serves as Professor of Leadership Psychology for the Air University Leadership Institute and Air Command and Staff College on Maxwell AFB. She earned her Ph.D. in Counselor Education from Auburn University and her Master’s degree in Counseling from the University of Maryland. She is an international speaker and published author in her research areas of suicide and resilience. She is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Licensed Professional Counselor, and a Certified Family Life Educator. Dr. Bartlett’s expertise encompasses a range of psychological factors, and her primary focus is on integrating human domain topics across all aspects of Air Force Professional Military Education. She has served as a mental health consultant, trainer, and speaker at the Department of Defense level for more than ten years, and as a clinical mental health provider for over twenty years. Dr.Bartlett is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, now living in Montgomery, Alabama.

 Research Interest/Expertise: Suicide, resilience, and emotional intelligence

Listen to Dr. Bartlett's PODCAST on SUICIDE PREVENTION.

                                 Assistant Professor:

Colonel D. Scott Johnson, USAF (ret), serves as Assistant Professor in the Department of Leadership at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), Maxwell AFB, Alabama. He served 30 years on Active Duty and was an Instructor Weapon Systems Officer/Senior Navigator in the RF-4C Phantom with command experiences the squadron and NATO wing (group) levels. Mr. Johnson’s non-command assignments include deputy logistics group commander, NATO plans officer, MAJCOM Director of Supply, and Chair Leadership & Ethics Department, Air War College (AWC). As a civilian, he aided the Singapore Armed Forces with the integration of leadership competencies and doctrine into professional military education. Additionally, Mr. Johnson held various leadership positions at the Air Force Research Institute including Director of Staff and Chief of Engagement Division. He holds master’s degrees from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the AF Institute of Technology, and AWC, and a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University.

                              Course Director:         

Dr. Filomeno J. “Fil” Arenas Jr., serves as Professor of Leadership and Course Director for the Department of Leadership at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), Maxwell AFB, Alabama. He received his doctorate degree from The George Washington University in Higher Education Administration and is also an adjunct professor with the Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. His current areas of research focus on leadership development, emotional intelligence, integrated learning environments, and virtual immersive learning models. He was an aerospace ground equipment technician and optometry technician in the AF and retired as a Medical Service Corps Officer in the Navy. Dr. Arenas retired from the military after 28 years of faithful service (14 USAF & 14 USN) in 2005.

                                Deputy Course Director:

Lieutenant Colonel Brandie D. Jefferies, serves as Instructor and Deputy Course Director in the Department of Leadership at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Lt Col Jeffries is a core manpower and personnel officer with extensive background in strategic planning and programming. Lt Col Jeffries holds master's degrees from Chapman University in Human Resource Management and Air University in Military Operational Art and Design; a graduate certification from Chapman University in Organizational Leadership; and pursuing a PhD from Grand Canyon University in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Lt Col Jeffries has served in various capacities over the last eighteen years including assignments within Air Mobility Command, Air Force Materiel Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, Joint Special Operations Command, and Air Education and Training Command.


                                    Deputy Course Director:

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew S. Clayton, Ed.D, serves as Assistant Professor and Deputy Course Director in the Department of Leadership at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Lt Col Clayton is an academic affairs officer with more than 10 years and 5,000 hours teaching within Air University and is a recent graduate of ACSC In-Residence. He also holds certifications as an Air Force Master Instructor and On-Line Instructor. Lt Col Clayton holds a doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Higher Education from Grand Canyon University, master’s degrees in Adult Education and Training from the University of Phoenix and Military Operational Art and Science from ACSC, and a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Administration from Purdue University.



Major R. Blake Pierce, serves as Instructor in the Department of Leadership at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), Maxwell AFB, Alabama.  Major Pierce is an MC-130H (AF Special Operations Command) Navigator and a recent graduate of ACSC In-Residence. His previous assignments include Group Executive Officer for the 353d Special Operations Group and Assistant Director of Operations for the 17th Special Operations Squadron, Kadena AB, Japan. While stationed at Kadena he served as Mission Commander on multiple training missions and JCS-directed exercises. He also served as Wing Chief of Flight Safety on AMC’s busiest ramp during the Haiti disaster relief effort. Major Pierce has held several other notable positions, deployed 5 times, and participated in numerous exercises in multiple countries.  He holds an MBA in Human Resource Management from California Coast University, a master’s degree in Military Operational Art and Science from ACSC, and a bachelor’s degree in Business Education from the University of Georgia.


Major Jason E. Stack, serves as Air University Fellow and Instructor in the Department of Leadership at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Major Stack is a career Security Forces (SF) officer and has commanded twice at the squadron level and is a recent graduate of ACSC In-Residence. Prior to entering military service he earned his certification as a Police Officer in the State of NH and served two years as a sworn Police Officer with the Hampton NH Police Department. His previous non-command assignments include multiple SF squadron-level positions, the Chief of Joint Expeditionary Tasking (JET) Analysis and Information Technology at Headquarters Second Air Force, and the Executive Officer to the Second Air Force Commander. He has deployed twice in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, most notably as a JET Airman with the US Army as the Officer-in-Charge of the Law and Order Detachment in Kabul, Afghanistan.  Major Stack holds a master’s degree in Military Operational Art and Science from ACSC, and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice from the University of New Hampshire.

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225 Chennault Circle
Maxwell AFB, Alabama 36112-6426

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"On Thursday, the parliament of the semi-autonomous and largely pro-Moscow region of Crimea voted to break away from Ukraine and join Russia, and set a date for a referendum on the subject for March 16."
"In less than four years, Beijing has amassed a controlling interest in Israel’s agrochemical industry with a $2.4 billion investment by China National Chemical Corp., and access to Israeli nanotechnology through a joint research center to be operated by Tsinghua and Tel Aviv universities." "With state financing, surging investment and the support of the Israeli government, Chinese public institutions and private investors are acquiring control of key industries and gaining unprecedented access to Israeli technology, innovation and know-how."
"Five years ago, Syria was the world's second-largest refugee-hosting country," Guterres said. "Syrians are now about to replace Afghans as the biggest refugee population worldwide." That's saying something, since Afghanistan has been in conflict for more than four decades. Guterres says if current trends continue, there could be 4 million Syrian refugees by the end of this year. "Neighboring countries have provided them safety since the beginning, at an enormous cost to themselves," he said. "Few refugee influxes have ever generated this profound an impact on their host countries, with such dramatic demographic, economic and social consequences."
"Ali al-Mousawi, the media adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, in exclusive statements to Al-Monitor. “Our war on terrorism will fail if we do not get international support, through clear stances, against states supporting terrorism in the region. Terrorism hotbeds in the world should be dried up. This hasn’t happened so far,” he noted. "Mousawi stated that Iraq had not held dialogues with the Syrian government to put in place a common plan to fight al-Qaeda and ISIS, although the battlefield will become, at some point, a common one against the same enemy. He claimed that the Syrian government does not have control of the regions on the border with Iraq, and thus such talks would be ineffective."
"Fighters linked to Al Qaeda and their allies seized the city of Falluja and parts of the Anbar provincial capital, Ramadi, in late December after the authorities dismantled a protest camp. Like the camp in the northern Iraqi town of Hawija whose dismantlement in April set off violent clashes and the current upsurge in killing, the Anbar camp was established by Sunnis angry at what they consider to be second-class treatment at the hands of the Shiite-led government."
"Kadyrov expressed concern that "nationalists of all descriptions" are systematically stripping ethnic Chechen citizens of Ukraine of their homes and businesses. He warned that "this is impermissible.... We shall not allow Chechens to be offended, wherever they happen to live."
"The Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialized countries say they are suspending participation in the planning for an international summit in Russia. The White House issued a joint statement on March 2 on behalf of the G7 leaders, the president of the European Council, and the president of the European Commission. In the statement, the leaders condemned Russia’s "clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," adding that Moscow's actions violate the "principles and values" on which the G7 and G8 operate." "The G7 includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States. The countries also participate in the G8, which includes Russia. The country's Black Sea port of Sochi is scheduled to host the G8 summit in June."
"The reported ultimatum came as world attention focused on the crisis in Crimea and acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk called the Russian troop movements and call to arms of Crimea’s predominantly ethnic Russian population “a declaration of war.”
"The deal was signed by the three main opposition leaders, including former boxing star Vitali Klitschko. However, it was almost immediately rejected by the extremist Right Sector party, which has been blamed for much of the civilian violence since protests began in November." "We are inclined to consider Yanukovich’s statement as another whitewash," Right Sector said in a statement. "National revolution continues." "Holding early presidential elections had been a key demand of the opposition." "In these tragic days when Ukraine suffered such grave losses, when people on both sides of barricades have died, I consider it my obligation to the memory of the deceased to state that there is nothing more important then a human life," [Ukranian President] Yanukovych added.
"The strategy follows the release of a memorandum issued in 2010 by President Obama titled “Unleashing the Wireless Broadband Revolution,” which requires 500 MHz of spectrum be made available for commercial use by 2020 and one issued in June 2013 titled “Expanding America's Leadership in Wireless Innovation” which directed federal agencies and offices to accelerate efforts to allow and encourage shared access to spectrum allocated for federal use. " "The president mandated that federal agencies free up a significant portion of wireless spectrum so that it can be used by individuals and businesses to spur domestic economic growth and help keep the U.S. on top of the technological hierarchy." For further information about the DoD EMS Strategy, please visit http://www.defense.gov/news/dodspectrumstrategy.pdf
"Even if imperfect, the guidelines do serve a useful purpose. Their ultimate purpose was to ensure that fundamental questions about purpose, risk and costs were addressed up front. While their formulation was obviously flawed given the world we now know we live in, the intent behind their development was neither mendacious nor without merit. As Operation Iraqi Freedom shows, it is still possible for experienced leaders to come to very wrong policy decisions regarding the employment of force, which is ultimately a blunt tool. Rosy assumptions, unasked questions and unexplored options have marked the path to some 5,300 graves over the past decade." "The decision to go to war is a very serious exercise. The virtue of some set of questions to assist policymakers in this most supreme judgment retains great value." "Future crises and war plan debates should be more deliberate and discriminate. Rather than denounce the “use of force” considerations that should have constrained action without contemplation, I agree with Reading University’s Patrick Porter, who argues that we should celebrate such doctrines. Better yet, we should update them in light of what we think we have learned from a long war." "With hindsight, the last two wars suggest that General Powell was not wrong in wanting a more deliberate approach to the Supreme Judgment. I can give you over 5,300 reasons why Powell’s series of questions have enduring value in some form. It’s fashionable to criticize his doctrine now, including by highly respected historians like Hew Strachan. But the last decade, at a cost of 5,300 killed and nearly 40,000 seriously wounded, requires me to rethink my book from a less academic perspective. Today’s warriors can take some solace in the fact that America’s performance in Iraq and Afghanistan was honorably conducted. They can also draw a measure of satisfaction that clear national interests were gained, and that both countries were given the opportunity to unshackle themselves from their dark histories. But they can also question the underlying wisdom of the nation’s policy and strategies. Certainly the cause was again noble, even if the calling was flawed or poorly conceived. Hopefully our policy and strategy community will learn something from this."
"President Barack Obama condemned the scenes and warned President Viktor Yanukovych to withdraw his forces from downtown Kiev immediately." "We are outraged by the images of Ukrainian security forces firing automatic weapons on their own people," Obama said in a statement. "We urge the Ukrainian military not to get involved in a conflict that can and should be resolved by political means." "The European Union's foreign ministers decided to impose sanctions against officials in Ukraine on Thursday, which included a travel ban to the 28-nation bloc and freezing of Ukrainian officials' assets in EU countries. The list of officials targeted had not yet been established." "Later Thursday, President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by phone about the Ukraine situation, the White House said. The two leaders agreed it was critical that the U.S., Germany, and the European Union stay in close communication in the days ahead to help the Ukrainian people."
"China’s announcement last November that it would establish an “air defense identification zone” (ADIZ) in the East China Sea was another test of the U.S.-Japan alliance and, more broadly, America’s appetite for sustaining its commitments to the region. Since 2010, Beijing has consistently resorted to forms of coercion to patiently challenge the United States and its allies. I believe strongly that the United States should neither recognize nor accept China’s unilateral declaration of an ADIZ and we should continue to conduct our military exercises and operations in the region so as to maintain the status quo." "Of the many instances of growing Chinese assertiveness, recent incidents surrounding Japan’s southwestern islands are perhaps the most serious. Beijing has pursued its claims to Japan’s Senkaku Islands, with official newspapers even going so far as to assert that the entire Okinawa island chain is Chinese territory. More ominously, Chinese incursions into Japanese airspace and territorial waters have grown exponentially in recent years, raising the prospect of potential miscalculations. As the Senkakus are under Japan’s administrative control, unilateral attempts to change the status quo fall under the terms of Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty."
"The United States has about 100 military advisers helping the African Union force of about 3,000 troops from Uganda, South Sudan and Congo to hunt down the LRA."
"Tunisia has been winning high praise from American and other Western officials for its progress in assembling a democratic system. At the end of last month, the country adopted a constitution that provides for a separation of power, protects minorities and assures women a place in government." "But Tunisia’s pro-Western elements are locked in a political struggle with conservatives and Islamists. The country has seen killings and attacks on government buildings." "The request for security help is likely to be weighed carefully by Washington, which wants to promote democracy in the country but doesn’t want to be perceived as arming one side in a political contest."
“[We] concluded that the PLA has been given the new task to be able to conduct a short sharp war to destroy Japanese forces in the East China Sea following with what can only be expected a seizure of the Senkakus or even a southern Ryukyu [islands] — as some of their academics say.”
"They're good warriors," said Marine Maj. Gen. Lee Miller , who was wrapping up his tour as commander of Regional Command Southwest. "Sustaining themselves they need a lot of work….and we need to be there to help them do that." "They proved their battlefield prowess last September as the fighting season was drawing to a close." "Still, commanders warn that Afghan security forces lack the critical but unglamorous capabilities — such as supply, logistics and finance — that are needed to sustain a large army in the field." "Afghans lack that mobility. "They have been unable to deny freedom of movement to the insurgency in rural areas," Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testified to Congress Tuesday." "Another challenge facing Afghan security forces: The Taliban and other insurgent groups in Afghanistan have sanctuary in parts of Pakistan, putting them outside the reach of Afghan security forces." "As long as that state support continues, the Afghan security forces are going to have their hands full regardless of how good they are," said Seth Jones, an analyst at the Rand Corp. "Despite the battlefield successes, U.S. officers say Afghan forces will need logistical support for years to come. Without such help, the achievements over the past decade of war risk unraveling."
"He noted that just a few years ago, there was only one battalion of Marines in Helmand province, and just a small British base. The Marine Corps began building its presence in southwest part of Afghanistan in 2008, eventually reaching a peak with about 21,000 Marines in Helmand in 2010. Now, there are some 4,500 Marines in the province."