International Security

  • Published
  • Air Command and Staff College, Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL

Department of International Security (IS)

The Department of International Security 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 department develops and delivers two of the core courses: International Security 1 and International Security 2. The first course, IS 1, provides a comprehensive overview of the context in which the development of US grand strategy occurs. The second course, IS 2, explores the conduct of national security through the lens of military strategy.


Lt Col Michael P. Kreuzer is Department Chairman for International Security and Assistant Professor of International Security Studies at Air Command and Staff College.  He holds a PhD in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University, a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Alaska Anchorage, a Masters of Strategic Intelligence from American Military University, and a BS in History from the US Air Force Academy.   He is a career intelligence officer who has served multiple combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was the Director of Operations for Distributed Ground Station-1.  Prior to his current assignment, he was the Associate Military Provost for the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center at the Presidio of Monterey, CA.  His research interests include the adoption of emerging technologies by states and military forces, and the organizational capacity required to adapt to changes in the operating environment.
Dr. Matthew R. Schwonek currently is the Deputy Department Chairman, Department of International Security, Air Command and Staff College (ACSC). He is Associate Professor of Comparative Military Studies. His responsibilities include teaching ACSC core courses in military theory, international relations, and security studies.  He also teaches elective course on politics and security in Central Europe.  He received a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in East Central European and Russian History from the Ohio State University in 1994. Before coming to ACSC in 1996, he served as assistant director of Ohio State’s Center for Slavic and East European Studies.  His research interests include European military and diplomatic history, the history of Poland, Russia/Soviet Union, and Balkans.  He has published articles and book chapters on the history of Polish arms. He is currently completing a political and military biography of Gen. Kazimierz Sosnkowski, spanning a career from terrorist to Commander in Chief.
Lt Col Andrew Ulat is the Director of Staff for the Department of International Security at Air Command and Staff College.  He holds a MS in Engineering Management from Southern Methodist University and is a certified instructor of International Security Courses I and II. Lt Col Ulat is a career Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Launch Control Officer with 18 years of experience in ICBM operations, ICBM flight testing and evaluations as well as two joint assignments in Nuclear Command, Control and Communications. He was twice selected to serve as a Presidential Strike Advisor first with the National Airborne Operations Center at USSTRATCOM and then with the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon. Lt Col Ulat has staff experience at the group and Joint Staff levels.  He has also served as an ICBM instructor/evaluator, group executive officer, two-time flight commander in both an operational and flight test squadron, an airspace surveillance officer, an Emergency Actions Officer and as an Assistant to the Deputy Director of Operations at the Pentagon.  Lt Col Ulat received his commission in December 2002 from the Officer Training School at Maxwell AFB, Alabama.  As an Air Force Nuclear Technical Fellow, he graduated from the Weapons Intern Program at Sandia National Laboratories in 2016.  Prior to his current assignment, Lt Col Ulat served as an Assistant Director of Operations and as the Chief of Safety at Malmstrom AFB, Montana.
Dr. Kevin C. Holzimmer is Deputy Chairman of the Department of International Security and Professor of Comparative Military Studies at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College (ACSC).  Before his current position at ACSC, he was a research professor at the USAF Air Force Research Institute and taught at the School for Advanced Air and Space Studies.  Dr. Holzimmer has published numerous studies on World War II in the Pacific, including General Walter Krueger: Unsung Hero of the Pacific War (University Press of Kansas).  He is currently working on a book-length project that examines how the principal air, land, and sea commanders forged an effective joint team that successfully fought the Japanese in Douglas MacArthur’s Southwest Pacific Area.  In addition to his academic pursuits, Dr. Holzimmer has worked on recent policy concerns, first with GEN David H. Petraeus’ USCENTCOM Joint Strategic Assessment Team (9 October 2008- February 2009) and most recently conducting fieldwork in charting a U.S. Air Force strategy based upon President Obama’s famous “pivot to Asia” speech.  He holds a PhD in military history from Temple University.
Lt Col Dustin Hansen is an instructor embedded within the Department of International Security at Air Command and Staff College. By trade, he is a Weather and Environmental Science Officer (AFSC: 15W) with previous assignments including squadron command, deputy group command and various staff positions at U.S. Special Operations Command Europe, U.S Africa Command and Headquarters Air Force. Dustin graduated from Cedarville University, Ohio, earning a Bachelors in Communications and later enlisted in the Air Force.  After a few years, he received his commission at Air Force's Officer Training School at Maxwell AFB.  As an FGO, Dustin completed Air Command and Staff College and Air War College via correspondence.  Additionally, he holds a Masters in International Relations from Troy University.  Dustin is a static line jumpmaster and his combat experience includes OEF Afghanistan where he deployed with the 82d Airborne Division's Combat Aviation Brigade.  He also served two separate tours to Korea where he supported the 8th Army and US Forces Korea.
Lt Col Blas is an assistant professor at Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) and the Director of Instruction for the department of International Security. He holds a Masters in Public Administration from Valdosta State University, Masters in National Security Strategy from Naval Postgraduate School, Masters in Military Operational Art and Science from ACSC, and a PhD in International Relations from the University of Utah.  Lt Col Blas is a career Intelligence officer with 17 years of experience at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.  His experience spans six deployments supporting combat search and rescue and special operations combat missions in operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and Inherent Resolve. Lt Col Blas received his commission in 2004 from the United States Air Force Academy. Since then, he has been assigned to numerous operational and staff positions at Moody AFB GA, Izmir Turkey, Fort Bragg NC, and Scott AFB, IL. Most recently he completed his PhD from the University of Utah where his dissertation explored strategic narratives' connection to military strategy development. Lt Col Blas is currently working on two projects. In the first, he is refining his dissertation's theoretical findings and connecting them with our current understanding of Information Warfare. In his second project, he is exploring President Vladimir Putin's use of nuclear rhetoric during the Ukraine Crisis. He teaches Military Theory, International Security, and Contemporary Warfare.
Wing Commander Robin Kemp is the RAF Exchange Officer at ACSC. He is a graduate of ACSC and SAASS, and teaches Military Theory, International Security, and Contemporary Warfare. Commissioned as an RAF Intelligence officer, Wg Cdr Kemp has worked predominantly in SIGINT and Strategic Intelligence Analysis. Operational tours include Iraq and Afghanistan, the latter as one of Gen McChrystal and Maj Gen Flynn's British intelligence advisors. More recently, he has specialized in targeting, and was the senior British targeteer at Al Udeid CAOC for operations against ISIL. Wg Cdr Kemp's tour prior to ACSC was as Deputy Chief Effects in SHAPE, NATO, where he established the Centralized Targeting Capacity and the Joint Effects concept (think JADS). In addition to his ACSC Masters, he holds an Masters in Musical Analysis & Composition, a Master of Arts in International Security, and a Master of Philosophy in Strategy. Wg Cdr Kemp is currently working on his PhD, examining contemporary Open-Source Intelligence and its ability to acknowledge military activities.
As an Air Command and Staff College Fellow, Major Hamilton is currently assigned as an instructor in the Department of International Security.  A fighter pilot by trade, Major Hamilton has 1,000 hours in the F-16 as well as 1,000 hours in the T-38. His previous assignments include Aviano AB, Osan AB, Luke AFB and Sheppard AFB.  He commissioned through the ROTC program at New Mexico State University in 2009.
Maj Matthew Pineda is an Air University Fellow and instructor in the Department of International Security at the United States Air Force's Air Command and Staff College (ACSC). Maj Pineda completed the ACSC In-Residence program in May 2022. He received his commission from the United States Air Force Academy in 2009 and completed pilot training at Vance AFB, OK. Prior to ACSC, Maj Pineda taught at the KC-135 Formal Training Unit as an Instructor/Evaluator Pilot and was the Director of Staff for the 97th Operational Support Squadron, Altus AFB, OK. He holds a Master of Military Operational Art and Science from Air University and a Master of Business Administration from American Military University. Maj Pineda is an AETC Master Instructor and Senior Pilot with more than 3,500 flying hours in the KC-135 and MC-12 aircraft.
Dr. Andrew Akin is an Associate Professor of National Security studies at the Air Command and Staff College. He attend Wabash College in Indiana for undergraduate school, studying political science & Russian language. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama in International Relations. Having studied and traveled extensively in Russia as an undergrad and graduate student on a Fulbright-hays fellowship, his research focuses on both armed conflict & the post-Soviet states. He was the 2017 AETC civilian educator of the year.  His published work appears in outlets such as The Washington Post, and the Journal, Russian Politics. He is also a classically trained cellist and performs regularly with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra.
Dr. Kathryn Boehlefeld is an Assistant Professor of Military and Security Studies at Air University's Air Command and Staff College, and a faculty member for the School of Advanced Nuclear Deterrence Studies (SANDS). She earned her PhD in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame and her B.A. from Northern Illinois University. She is also a graduate of the Joint and Combined Warfighting School. Dr. Boehlefeld teaches courses on nuclear deterrence theory and practice, international security, and comparative civil-military relations. Her research centers on international security, with a particular focus on national security policy, civil-military relations, and nuclear deterrence. Currently, she is working on projects related to conventional-nuclear integration, military professionalism, and a comparative study of the efficacy of the Iranian and North Korea nuclear sanctions.
Dr. Melvin G. Deaile is the Director of the School of Advanced Nuclear and Deterrence Studies (SANDS) and an Associate Professor in the Department of International Studies at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College. He teaches classes on nuclear deterrence, nuclear strategy, joint warfighting, and classical military thought. Dr Deaile hails from Fresno, CA native, and is a retired Air Force Colonel, where he served two tours in the B-52 Stratofortress and a tour in the B-2 Spirit. He has flown combat operations as part of Operations DESERT STORM and OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, including a record setting 44.3 hour combat mission, and deployed in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross and a distinguished graduate of the USAF Weapon School.       Dr. Deaile recently published his first book, Always at War, which chronicles the development of SAC’s organizational culture under Gen Curtis LeMay. He is the author of multiple articles, editorials, and book reviews on nuclear weapons and their role in national security.
Dr. William Dean is an Associate Professor of History at the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, AL. He is a graduate of the University of the South (Sewanee) and received his doctorate and master’s degrees from the University of Chicago in European military and diplomatic history. He was a Chateaubriand recipient from the French government and has won the Military Officer of America Association (MOAA) award for civilian educator of the year and the Major General John Alison Award for Air Force Special Operations. He has published on French colonial warfare, intelligence, and air power issues in Revue Historique des Armées, Penser les Ailes Françaises, Defense Intelligence Review, and several chapters in various books.
Dr. Robert DiPrizio is an Associate Professor of Security and Military Studies at Air Command and Staff College. He is an expert on numerous security issues such as humanitarian interventions and the Arab-Israeli conflict.  He is the author of “Armed Humanitarians: US Interventions from Northern Iraq to Kosovo,” published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and is editor of “Conflict in the Holy Land: From Ancient Times to the Arab-Israeli Conflicts” published by ABC-CLIO. Dr. DiPrizio grew up in the Boston area and earned his PhD in International Relations in 2000 from the University of Delaware.  He now lives in Prattville with his two children and a massive dog named Buddy.
The son of a thirty-year Army non-commissioned officer, Colonel (ret) Michael L. Grumelli earned his Ph.D. in military history from Rutgers University in 1991.  Since earning his doctorate, he has been assigned to the faculty of the United States Air Force Academy, as the Deputy Director of Military History, as an instructor with the Air War College’s Department of Strategy, Doctrine, and Airpower, in addition to teaching with the School of Advance Air and Space Studies.  He currently teaches in the Department of International Security of the Air Command and Staff College.  Dr. Grumelli’s primary interest as an educator is in the intellectual demands of national security and gray zone warfare in an era of great power competition.
Dr. Wes Hutto is Associate Professor of Military and Security Studies in the Department of International Security. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Alabama. He serves as Course Director of International Security I: The Context of International Security, and offers an elective on comparative regional security. His research interests include international security, military science, multinational military exercises and US foreign policy, and comparative regional security. His work has been published in Defence Studies and RUSI Journal.
Dr. Michael Ryan Kraig is Associate Professor of International Security Studies at Air Command and Staff College.  He earned his Ph.D. in political science from the University at Buffalo, New York, with a major in international security studies and a minor in comparative politics.  Dr. Kraig served in several senior capacities with the Stanley Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan foundation devoted to researching and advocating security policy options for the US and its competitors that would moderate the extremes of their geopolitical disagreements. He was a frequent traveler to Europe, the Middle East and Asia to give scholarly presentations on US policy thinking and strategy, alongside management and implementation of broad-based “track-2,” informal diplomatic dialogues among a wide range of senior national and global political leaders, think-tank analysts, and academics from global capitals such as Tehran, Riyadh, Damascus, Cairo, Dubai, Muscat (Oman), Berlin, London, Moscow, and Beijing. Prior to joining the foundation, Dr. Kraig interned with what is now known as the Government Accountability Office on nuclear weapons issues in the post-Cold War era and presented findings on South Asian nuclear arsenals at the UN 2000 NPT Review Conference.
Dr. Todd C. Robinson is an Associate Professor of Military and Security Studies with the School for Advanced Nuclear Deterrence Studies (SANDS) at the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell, AFB.  He was previously an Assistant Professor of Nuclear Enterprise Operations with the Center for Strategic Deterrence Studies at the Air War College.  Prior to this, he was a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the RAND Corporation and the Associate Director of the Program in Arms Control, Disarmament, and International Security (ACDIS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  His research focuses on nuclear weapons issues, including strategic deterrence and assurance, military roles and responsibilities, and East Asia, and has been published in the Non-Proliferation Review, Swords and Ploughshares, the Yale Journal of International Affairs, and the National Interest.  He is currently working on a book manuscript on comparative nuclear culture.  His teaching responsibilities include being the instructor of Deterrence Theory and Practice I within the SANDS curriculum, as well as sections of War Theory and International Security II for ACSC and a joint AWC/ACSC elective on Comparative Nuclear Strategy.  He has a B.A. in Asian Studies from the University of Alabama, an M.A. in Security Policy Studies from the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Lt Col Brian Tileston is an instructor at Air Command and Staff College’s Department of International Security.  In addition to teaching the International Security Course and Joint Warfighting, he is the Deputy Director for the School of Advanced Nuclear Deterrence Studies.  Lt Col Tileston has multiple assignments throughout the nuclear enterprise and deployments supporting combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and throughout the Middle East.  He has a Master’s Degree in Airpower Theory and Technology Integration from the Blue Horizons Fellowship and a Bachelor of Business Administration in General Business from Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas.  Prior to his assignment at ACSC, Lt Col Tileston was deployed for a year as the Chief of Strategic Plans/Deputy Division Chief, Strategy Division, 609th Air Operations Center.
Major Lee Payne is currently assigned as Instructor, School of Advanced Nuclear Deterrence Studies (SANDS).  SANDS is a concentration within the Department of International Security at the Air Command and Staff College.  The mission of SANDS is to produce graduates who are proficient in the six core nuclear competencies (Nuclear Operations; Unique Aspects of the Nuclear Mission; U.S. Nuclear Support and Infrastructure; Nuclear Surety; Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications; and Nuclear Policy and Strategy).  Graduates go on to serve in command and/or staff roles where they advice senior leaders of the military on nuclear related matters.  Major Payne was commissioned in 2008 from South Dakota State University and completed Undergraduate Missile Operations training in September 2009.  Major Payne has held numerous positions at the Missile Squadron and Operations Group levels including:  Assistant Operations Officer; Flight Commander; Assistant Chief, Standardization and Evaluation; and Instructor.  Major Payne is a 2014 Graduate of the Air Force Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Weapons School.  Major Payne has a staff tour at Air Forces Strategic – Air, where he was the Southern Command Plans Branch Chief.  Major Payne is also a 2022 Graduate of the SANDS program. Major Payne is a senior Nuclear and Missile Operations officer.  He has more than 300 alerts, providing the President of the United States the ability to defend the nation through the execution of the nation’s most prompt nuclear response.