ACSC Department of Research

About the Department

The Department of Research at Air Command and Staff College serves to facilitate faculty and student research efforts, to include publication support. It is also responsible for the ACSC electives program, which includes more than 100 course offerings from over 80 faculty members.

Department Leadership

Dr. Paul J. Springer is a professor of comparative military studies and the chair of the Department of Research. He holds a doctorate in history from Texas A&M University. Dr. Springer is the author of five books, with four more expected to publish in 2017. These works include America’s Captives: Treatment of POWs from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror (Kansas, 2010); Military Robots and Drones (ABC-CLIO, 2013); Transforming Civil War Prisons: Lincoln, Lieber, and the Politics of War (Routledge, 2014, co-authored by Glenn Robins); Cyber Warfare (ABC-CLIO, 2015); and 9/11 and the War on Terror (Greenwood, 2016). His forthcoming works are The Encyclopedia of Cyber Warfare (ABC-CLIO, 2017); Outsourcing War to Machines: The Military Robotics Revolution (Praeger, 2017); America’s Wars: U.S. Military History, 1500-Present (Naval Institute Press, 2017, coauthored by S. Michael Pavelec); and Brothers in Peace and War: The West Point Class of 1829 (Kansas, 2017). He teaches courses on leadership, strategy, terrorism, and technology. Prior to ACSC, Dr. Springer taught at the United States Military Academy at West Point and Texas A&M University. Springer is also the editor of two series, Transforming Warfare and History of Military Aviation, both with the Naval Institute Press.

Research Interest/Expertise: Military history; military technology; leadership; strategy; terrorism; prisoners of war.

Prof Kenneth Johnson is the Deputy Department Chair of the Department of Research at ACSC and the Director of the Electives Program at the Air Command and Staff College. Prof. Kenneth Johnson is an expert in Napoleonic History. Earning his PhD in French History in 2006 at Florida State University, Prof. Johnson has done extensive in-depth research at various French archives on topics of French naval and colonial history. Having taught for the Naval War College and United State Military Academy, Prof. Johnson has been teaching at ACSC since 2010. He has published several articles and a book chapter on Napoleon's use of sea power. In addition to expanding the aforementioned chapter into a book, Prof. Johnson is also writing a biography of a prominent French admiral, Admiral Louis Thomas Villaret-Joyeuse.

Research Interest/Expertise: Maritime Strategy, Napoleonic Warfare, Warfare Studies.

Listen to Dr. Johnson's PODCAST on NAPOLEON AND THE FRENCH REVOLUTION The views expressed are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policy of the US Air Force, Department of Defense or US Government.



Dr. Lisa L. Beckenbaugh is an Assistant Professor of Military and Security Studies at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College (ACSC). Dr. Beckenbaugh received her degrees master’s degree from St. Cloud State University and PhD from the University of Arkansas. Dr. Beckenbaugh has taught at a variety of undergraduate and graduate civilian institutions. She also served as the Interim Project Lead and Military Analyst II for the Operational Leadership Experiences (OLE) Project under the aegis of the Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth and held a Post-Graduate Historical Research Fellow at the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office. Dr. Beckenbaugh’s current research is on the 1st MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital), later redesignated 8209th MASH, during the Korean War.

Research Interest/Expertise: Oral History, American POWs, World War II, Women in Combat, Battlefield Medicine, and MASH Units in the Korean War.

Lt Col Steven Quillman is an Instructor of Airpower and Director of Staff for the Department of Research at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College (ACSC).  Lt Col Quillman graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.  He holds a Master’s of Business Administration from Touro University International.  Lt Col Quillman has published multiple entries in The Encyclopedia of Cyber Warfare (ABC-CLIO, 2017) and Russia at War (ABC-CLIO, 2015).  Lt Col Quillman co-teaches a course on irregular warfare from 1830 to the present.  Lt Col Quillman previous experiences include propulsion engineer with the C-17, C-130J, and F-22A, weapons integration engineer with the F-16, Education with Industry tour with National Institute of Aerospace, aircraft battle damage assessor for Joint Combat Assessment Team, and as a program manager with AOC System Program Office.     

Research Interest/Expertise: World War Two airpower; Combined Bomber Offensive; 305th Bomb Group; Irregular Warfare; Office of Special Operations in SE Asia;  Special Operations in Rhodesia; and  Native American campaigns.         

Lt Col Peter Garretson is an Instructor of Joint Warfare at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), and lead for the Air University Space Horizons Initiative, which seeks to “Re-imagine Spacepower in the Age of Asteroid Mining.”  Lt Col Garretson has participated in numerous OSD and USAF wargames focused on Future Warfare and the role of space in future conflict.  He is the former Chief of USAF Future Technology, and has served at the Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA) as a Service Chief Fellow, and a Los Alamos National Laboratory as an Academy Research Associate.  He has been a strategy and policy advisor to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force on Space and Great Power conflict in Asia.  He was the first serving military officer to be detailed as a visiting fellow to Asia’s #1 think tank, the Ministry of Defense Funded Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis (IDSA) in New Delhi, India, where he worked with India’s President Dr. APJ Kalam on long-term US-India collaboration in Space.  Lt Col Garretson has over 50 publications including on the topics of space governance, space policy, space based solar power, asteroid mining, planetary defense, strategic culture, and U.S. military strategy and security cooperation in Asia.

Research Interest/Expertise: Grand Strategy in the Space Domain, Space Industrialization, Aviation Enterprise Development. 

Visit the Space Horizons Research Group (SHRG) homepage.

Major Brent Ziarnick is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Military Studies at the Air University’s Air Command and Staff College and deputy lead for the Air University’s Space Horizons Initiative.  Maj Ziarnick is a command space operations officer with extensive experience in Global Positioning System (GPS) engineering, offensive space control, and theater space command and control.  In civilian life he was a launch operations engineer at Spaceport America, New Mexico where he developed the long-range plan for the world’s first purpose-built inland commercial spaceport’s vertical launch activity.  He holds a doctorate in economic development from New Mexico State University, a master’s degree in space systems engineering from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, a bachelor’s degree in space operations from the United States Air Force Academy, and is a graduate of both the Air Command and Staff College and the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies.  Major Ziarnick is the author of one book and multiple articles on space power theory and strategy. 

Research Interests/Expertise: Space Power Theory and Strategy, Technology Strategy, the Cold War Air Force (Strategic Air Command), and Economics and Military Power.

Visit the Space Horizons Research Group (SHRG) homepage.


Intererested in doing research of consequence to the USAF?  See AU Research and the Air University Strategic Issues List.

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ACSC Student Support & Research Guides

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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."