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Department of Leadership

Department of Leadership

The Department of Leadership (DEL) is made up of civilian and military faculty from across the joint force and includes officers from our nation’s allies. Faculty within the department are responsible for teaching, research, and service. The Leadership Department is responsible for one core course and the Leadership Experience Conference (LEDx). In the Leadership course students have the opportunity to hone their personal leadership philosophies, and prepare for future command and staff responsibilities.  LEDx provides various real-world examples of the perils and possibilities of leadership inherent in complex, dynamic and ambiguous operational environments.


Colonel (Ret) J. William "Bill" DeMarco 

Colonel J. William "Bill" DeMarco, USAF (Ret), serves as the Chair and Dean of Education Leadership Department, and Professor of Leadership Studies, 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 National 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 consulting. He also contributes as a leadership consultant for the National WWII Museum’s Corporate Leadership Academy in New Orleans, LA. He is board member for the 100th Bomb Group Foundation and an advisor to Gen-Pol a European think tank focused on gender and policy. 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).


Lt Col Jason M. Newcomer, D.B.A.  

Lt Col Jason M. Newcomer, D.B.A. is the Deputy Department Chair and an Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies in the Department of Leadership at the Air Command and Staff College (ACSC). He is a career Airfield Operations Officer (13M) and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Leadership and Aeronautics with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) where he chairs graduate thesis committees and teaches graduate leadership, management, and aeronautics courses. He also has numerous publications and editorial board positions in leadership, management, and aviation. He holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from Walden University specializing in leadership, a Masters in Military Operational Art and Science from ACSC, a Masters and Bachelors of Science in Aeronautics from ERAU, and an Associate of Applied Science in Aircraft Maintenance Systems Technology from the Community College of the Air Force.


Dr. Mary L. Bartlett  

Dr. Mary L. Bartlett serves as Associate Professor of Leadership Studies for the Air University Air Command and Staff College. 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 on the research topics of suicide and resilience. Dr. Bartlett is credentialed as a Nationally Certified Counselor, Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Family Life Educator, a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Certified Practitioner, Emotional Intelligence Certified Trainer, and Master Trainer for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. With 20 years of teaching and clinical experience, her primary focus is on integrating human domain topics across all aspects of Air Force Professional Military Education, and has worked at Air University since 2015; prior to that, she served as a mental health consultant and trainer for Department of Defense Leadership.


Dr. Paul Johstono

Dr. Paul Johstono is Associate Professor of Leadership Studies at the Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), in Montgomery, AL. Prior to joining ACSC in January 2019, he was Associate Professor for History of Warfare at The Citadel, in Charleston, SC. Dr. Johstono received his Bachelor’s Degree in History from Furman University in Greenville, SC (2005), and a Master’s Degree (2008) and Ph.D. (2012) in History from Duke University. His articles on popular political organization and violence in antiquity have appeared in Ancient History Bulletin and Archiv fϋr Papyrusforschung, and chapters on ancient insurgency and the impacts of military defeat on warrior classes and military institutions have appeared in volumes of the Brill Companion series on War in the Ancient Mediterranean. He is on the editorial board for the Brill series on War in World History. He is completing his manuscript on the military history of Ptolemaic Egypt, and developing projects on leadership in ancient warfare.


Lt Col John Isacco  

Lt Col John Isacco is an instructor in the Department of Leadership at Air University's Air Command and Staff College.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the United States Air Force Academy, a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Oklahoma University and a Master's Degree in Operations Analysis from the Air Force Institute of Technology.  Prior to his current assignment, Lt Col Isacco commanded the 82nd Reconnaissance Squadron at Kadena AB, Japan, where he led 95 personnel across 26 AFSCs in supporting deployed RC/WC-135 operations.  Lt Col Isacco is a Command Pilot with more than 3,500 hours in E-3, RC-135 and trainer aircraft, including over 900 combat hours during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. 


Lt Col Carolyn Cruz 

Lt Col Carolyn Cruz is an instructor in the Department of Leadership at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College and serves as the Department Director of Staff. Carolyn is a developmental engineer within the acquisition career field. Her experiences include research and development of directed energy technologies, test and evaluation of various platforms/weapons systems, and engineering management of radar systems and technologies within various MAJCOMs and National Agencies. Carolyn deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. She received a Bachelor’s of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, PR; a Master’s of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; and a Master's Degree in Military Operational Art and Science from Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL. 


Lt Col Thomas Moore

Lt Col Thomas Moore is an instructor in the Department of Leadership at Air University's Air Command and Staff College and Course Director for the Leadership and Command Course.  He holds an advanced academic degree with Honors from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and is a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College and Air War College.  Prior to his current assignment, Lt Col Moore was the Commander of the 36th Electronic Warfare Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, where he directed a 172-person squadron responsible for the operational Electronic Warfare capability of $15B in resources installed on Combat Air Force aircraft.  Lt Col Moore is a Master Navigator with more than 2,000 hours in both fighter and trainer aircraft, including over 500 combat hours during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.


Chaplain, Lt Col Richard "Rick" Steen

Chaplain, Lt Col Richard “Rick” Steen is an instructor in the Department of Leadership at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC (1998), a Master of Divinity from The Master’s University and Seminary in Sun Valley, CA (2003), and a Master of Military Operational Art and Science from Air University (2019). Prior to ACSC, Lt Col Steen served 14 years as a staff chaplain and Wing Chaplain at the 134th Air Refueling Wing, an Air National Guard Wing in Knoxville, Tennessee. Additionally, Lt Col Steen has served as Deputy Wing Chaplain, and a Clinical Pastoral Resident at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.


Major Robert Shannon 

Major Robert Shannon is an instructor and current Air University Fellow in the Department of Leadership at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College. Maj Shannon graduated from the ACSC In-Residence program in June 2020. Prior to ACSC, Maj Shannon was the Commander of the 30th Contracting Squadron. He has held numerous acquisition-related positions to include holding an Unlimited Contracting Officers Warrant at the ICBM Systems Directorate. In 2010, he was selected for the Space and Missile Acquisition Exchange program and became an ICBM Missile Combat Crew Member, Commander, and Instructor. In 2009 he deployed in support of Operation Iraq Freedom, directly supporting the 3rd Infantry Division. Maj Shannon received his commission from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2006. He has a Masters from Air University in Military Operational Art and Science, a Masters from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Aeronautical Science, and a Bachelors of Business from the University of Alaska.


Lt Col Ben Jacobson

Lt Col Ben Jacobson is an instructor in the Department of Leadership at Air University's Air Command and Staff College and Deputy Course Director for the Leadership and Command Course. He is a core Security Forces officer, three-time squadron commander, and graduate of Air Command and Staff College. Lt Col Jacobson’s previous assignment was at Headquarters Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base Virginia, where he served as the MAJCOM Deputy Chief of Security Forces. Ben is married to Lt Col Angela Jacobson, USAF.


Major Adam G. Miles

Major Adam G. Miles is an Air University Fellow and instructor in the Leadership Department at the United States Air Force’s Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) and graduated from the ACSC In-Residence program in June 2020.  Prior to ACSC, Maj Miles was a U-28 Evaluator Pilot and Chief of Wing Plans, 1st Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, Florida.  He has also served as the 1st SOW Chief Wing Executive Officer and 1st SOG Chief of U-28 Standardization and Evaluations.  Maj Miles received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Oregon State University (2008) and a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Oklahoma (2015) and a Master’s Degree in Military Operational Art and Science from Air University (2020). 


Major Shawn West

Major Shawn West is an instructor and an Air University Fellow in the Department of Leadership at the Air University’s Air Command and Staff College. He is a 17D Cyber/Communications officer in the USAF and has served in a variety of leadership roles in the AF as well as within other government agencies; most recently as a Detachment Commander.  As a life-long student of leadership, he studies leaders and leadership skills to hone his craft and be better prepared for future leadership opportunities; at work or home. 


Major Nicole Handy

Major Nicole Handy is an instructor and current Air University Fellow in the Department of Leadership at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College. Nicole is a UH-1N pilot. She has worked as an aircraft maintenance officer, operational tester, and Air Force Global Strike Command instructor pilot. She received a Bachelor’s of Science in basic science from the United States Air Force Academy and a Master’s of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Auburn University. Nicole is a recent graduate from Air Command and Staff College


Major Steve Brenoskie

Major Steve Brenoskie is an Air University Fellow and instructor in the Department of Leadership at Air University's Air Command and Staff College. Steve is a Security Forces officer and graduated commander with experience across multiple MAJCOMs and 3 deployments. Steve has experience leading small and large teams performing law enforcement, security, and combat operations both CONUS and OCONUS. He also has experience teaching Criminal Justice at the undergraduate level as an adjunct professor for Aspen University and Central Texas College. He received his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from West Chester University of Pennsylvania ('06), a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Aspen University ('13), and a Master of Military Operational Art & Science from Air University (ACSC AY20).


Major Frank "Derek" Cumbie

Major Frank "Derek" Cumbie is an Air University Fellow and Instructor at Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) and graduated from ACSC In-Residence program in June 2020. Prior to ACSC, Maj Cumbie was a UH-1N Evaluator Pilot and Chief of Group Training, 58th Operations Group, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. He has served as the 1st Helicopter Squadron's Chief of Standardizations and Evaluations as well as the 11th Wing Flight Safety Officer. Major Cumbie graduated with a BS in Management from the United States Air Force Academy and has received a MS in Administration from Central Michigan University.


Dr. Daniel A. Connelly

Dr. Daniel A. Connelly is Assistant Professor in the Department of Leadership at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College.  He is a retired U.S. Air Force intelligence officer whose background includes operational tours at headquarters and flying unit echelons and deployments to Southwest and Far East Asia. He teaches courses in International Security, Leadership Studies, Air Power Theory, the Just War Tradition, Russian Studies and Educational Methodology.  He holds a PhD in Educational Psychology from Auburn University, and Master’s Degrees in Strategic Intelligence and Russian Culture. He has published on topics ranging from leadership theory to higher education to Former Soviet Union affairs, and has participated in multiple empirical investigations related to these topics. Previously, Dan served as Dean of Academic Affairs at Squadron Officer College.