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Department of Strategy

Department of Strategy

The Department of Strategy recruits, retains, and develops quality faculty and staff to develop and deliver current and relevant graduate-level curriculum; to conduct and advise research and publications that are relevant to national security; and, to perform service and outreach that results in mission accomplishment and enhances strategic communications in order to educate and develop critical-thinking leaders to better serve our nation and our interests. The Department of Strategy (DES) teaches the longest of the core courses, Foundations of Strategy (FS). DES Faculty also develop and offer elective courses each year on topics such as command, ethics, leading change, civil military relations, coercive airpower, coalition warfare, irregular warfare, genocide, and military privatization.

COL Patrick Budjenska, USA, Chair, Department of Strategy. 
Degrees: Master in Strategic Studies, Bachelor of Arts in History
Experience: Major assignments include G1, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Ft. Drum, New York. While assigned to 10th Mountain, he deployed to Afghanistan as the CJTF – 10 CJ1 for Regional Command – East, Bagram Airfield. Prior to 10th Mountain, he served as the Deputy J1 for United States Forces – Afghanistan, Kabul. Colonel Budjenska served in the G1 section and as the Inspector General for United States Army South, Fort Sam Houston. He was assigned twice to the Army Deputy Chief of Staff G1 at the Pentagon, and also served as the 75th Ranger Regiment S1 during which he also deployed to Afghanistan. As an Infantry officer, Colonel Budjenska served in the 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany, and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. Colonel Budjenska’s military education includes Infantry Officer’s Basic and Advanced Courses, US Army Ranger School, Airborne School, Air Assault School, Pathfinder School, Intermediate Level Education (ILE) and the Air War College. Colonel Budjenska’s major deployments include three to Afghanistan, Haiti following the earthquake of 2010, and the Balkans.

Dr. Corbin Williamson, Assistant Professor of Strategy, Deputy Department Chair
Advising Interests: Military History, Alliances/Coalitions, Naval Warfare, Congress, Acquisition, Logistics, Nuclear Weapons, Dept. of Defense Organization
Research Interests: Military History, Naval History, World War II, Korean War, Coalition Warfare, Antisubmarine Warfare, Expeditionary Warfare, Military Organizational Culture
Degrees: PhD, History, Ohio State University; MA, History, Texas Tech University; BA, Texas A&M University
Experience: 2014-2016, Historical Office of the Secretary of Defense; 2014-2016, Fleet Professor, College of Distance Education, U.S. Naval War College
Email: corbin.williamson@au.af.edu 

COL Gil Cardona, USA, Instructor
Advising Interests: Military History, Wargames, Training, DoD Organization, Plans & Campaigning
Research Interests: Military History, Military Organizational Culture 
Degrees: MS, Industrial Engineering, University of Central Florida; MS, Strategic Studies, Air War College; BA, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Experience: Deputy Chief of Staff, Third US Army, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait; Wargaming Branch Chief, US European Command, Patch Barracks, Germany; and Director, US Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, NC.  
Email: gilbert.cardona@au.af.edu  

Dr. Ron M. Gurantz, Assistant Professor of Strategy, Course Director for Foundations of Strategy
Advising & Research Interests: Crisis Decision-Making, Causes of War, Nuclear Deterrence, Air & Space Power, U.S. Foreign Policy, International Relations Theory, Cold War History
Degrees: PhD, Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles; BA, Political Economy, University of California, Berkeley
Experience: 2014-2016, Adjunct Professor of Political Science, UCLA
Email: ron.gurantz@au.af.edu 

Dr. Howard M. Hensel, Professor of Politico-Military Affairs
Areas of specialization include: international relations, comparative government, Russian / Soviet area studies, military history and strategy, political philosophy, and the law of armed conflict. He has served as a Professor at the Air War College on the faculty for over thirty years in a variety of roles. These include: the Director of Strategy (2006-2009; 1994-1995); Academic Director of the Air War College's Electives Program (1997-2001); Director of International Security Studies (1990-1992); and Director of Soviet Studies (1988-1990). He received his B.A. degree in History from Texas A&M University; his M.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia; and his Ph.D. in Government from the University of Virginia. Before joining the faculty of the Air War College, Dr. Hensel served on the faculty of the Air Command and Staff College, the Monterey Institute of International Studies (now part of Middlebury College), the Naval Postgraduate School, the University of Virginia, and the Marine Command and Staff College. Dr. Hensel is the author and / or editor of a number of books. His most recent works, Maritime Security in the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific: Heritage and Contemporary Challenges, and its companion volume, Naval Powers in the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific, were published in late 2017 and mid-2018, respectively. His earlier works include: Global Media Perspectives on the Crisis in Panama: June, 1987 – January,1990 (2011); The Prism of Just War: Asian and Western Perspectives on the Legitimate Use of Military Force (2010); The Legitimate Use of Military Force: the Just War Tradition and the Customary Law of Armed Conflict (2008); The Law of Armed Conflict: Constraints on the Contemporary Use of Military Force (2005); Sovereignty and the Global Community (2004); and The United States and Europe: Policy Imperatives in Globalizing World (2002); The Sword of the Union: Federal Objectives and Strategies During the American Civil War (1989); The USSR and Outer Space: Soviet Media Images of Superpower Space Policy (1985); and The Anatomy of Failure (1985). In addition, he has published over 40 articles and book chapters focusing on various aspects of international relations, political philosophy, and the law of armed conflict, Soviet foreign / military policy, military history, and strategy. Finally, Dr. Hensel is the Editor of the Series on Justice, International Law and Global Security, as well as the Military Strategy and Operational Art Series for Routledge Publishing Company. He has been the recipient of several research and curriculum development grants, including those from the U.S. Air Force Research Institute, U.S. Air Force Arms Control Research Institute, the Department of Defense, the DOD Office of Net Assessment, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He would be interested in advising PSPs on (1) Arctic issues; (2) Russian military, foreign, and domestic policies; (3) the law of armed conflict; and (4) just war theory. 

Dr. Alexander N. Lassner, Associate Professor of Strategy, Academic Director for the Grand Strategy Program
He holds an MA and Ph.D. in history from The Ohio State University where he specialized in modern military and central European history. As a Fulbright scholar in Austria, and, thereafter, as a Presidential Fellow at OSU, Dr. Lassner’s research focused on foreign affairs and international security policies in Europe during the Interwar Period (1920-1938). Prior to coming to the Air War College, he worked as a consultant to the Mershon Center for International Security and Foreign Policy Studies, and as an Assistant Professor of Comparative Military Studies at the Air Command and Staff College. During this period he published numerous articles and essays on modern military history, co-edited a book on the Dollfuss and Schuschnigg era in Austria, and undertook various research projects. Dr. Lassner has lectured at major conferences in the United States, and by invitation in Italy and Austria. During summer 2005 Dr. Lassner taught courses in modern military history while a Visiting Professor of History at the International Summer School in Innsbruck, Austria. He is currently revising his manuscript on European foreign and security policies in the 1930s for publication.

Dr. Brian McNeil, Assistant Professor of Strategy
Advising Interests: Diplomatic History, International History, U.S. History, American Politics, International Institutions
Research Interests: U.S. Foreign Policy, International History, Decolonization, Humanitarianism
Degrees: PhD, History, University of Texas at Austin; MA, History, Mississippi State University; BA, History, Auburn University
Experience: Assistant Professor of Strategy, 2017-present; Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Historical Studies, 2016-2017.
E-mail: brian.mcneil.2@au.af.edu 

Dr. David D. Palkki, Associate Professor of Strategy 
Advising Interests: Nuclear/Chem/Bio, Deterrence/Coercion, Arms Control, Middle East, US Foreign Policy, and Grand Strategy 
Research Interests: Nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, deterrence/coercion, and Iraq 
Degrees: PhD and MA, Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles; BA, Political Science, Brigham Young University 
Experience: Council on Foreign Relations, National Defense University, Institute for Defense Analyses, House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, Texas A&M University, UCLA, Brigham Young University 
Email: David.Palkki@au.af.edu 
 
Dr. Douglas Peifer, Professor of Strategy 
Advising Interests: European security issues, particularly West, Central, and Northern Europe; Arctic Security; NATO and the European Union; Germany; Coercive Diplomacy; World Wars;  Genocide, Intervention, and R2P;  power transition theory. 
Research Interests: causes of war; Trans-Atlantic relations; modern Germany history, politics, and society; Global Europe; memory, history, and identity; mutiny, desertion, and leadership;  Select Publications (books):  The Wehrmacht, Military Justice, and Desertion (Oxford U Press, 2021); Choosing War (Oxford University Press, 2016); Genocide, Airpower, and Intervention (Air University Press, 2008);  The Three German Navies (University Press of Florida, 2002); over twenty chapters and articles in edited books and peer reviewed journals.   
Degrees: PhD, Modern European History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1996; MA, Modern European History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1991; BA, History and Economics, Miami University of Ohio. 
Experience: Have taught at Air War College since 2006;  Have advised over 60 master’s level theses and research papers at the Air War College and Air Command and Staff College; have served as chair, deputy, and course director in the department of strategy; invited lecturer at the George C. Marshall Center for European Security Studies; faculty instructor and subject matter expert for Spring 2019, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2008, and 2007 Air War College Regional Studies courses/trips to UK, France, and Germany (2019), Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland (2017); the UK, France, and Germany (2016); Germany, Poland, Sweden (2015 & 2010); the UK and France (2013 & 2012); Italy, France, Belgium (2008); and the UK, France, and Belgium (2007).
Email: douglas.peifer@au.af.edu 

Col Scott W. Rizer, USAF, Instructor
Advising Interests:  Security Cooperation, Foreign Military Sales, Air Mobility, Air Refueling, Strategy, Leadership
Education: BSBA, University of Nebraska at Omaha; MBA, University of South Dakota; Masters, Transportation Management, Air Force Institute of Technology; College of Naval Command and Staff; Air War College
Experience:  KC-135 Navigator/Weapons Officer; Commander, Operations Support Squadron; Commander, Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron; Deputy Commander, Expeditionary Operations Group; Vice Wing Commander, Air Base Wing; Vice Wing Commander, Air Expeditionary Wing; Senior Defense Official/Defense Attaché – Kingdom of Bahrain; Commandant, International Officer School; Aircraft:  KC-135R/T (3200 hours); Operations:  Operation SOUTHERN WATCH; Operation PROVIDE COMFORT; Operation ALLIED FORCE; Operation NOBEL ANVIL; Operation IRAQI FREEDOM; Operation AFGHANISTAN FREEDOM
Email:  scott.rizer@au.af.edu

CAPT Paul Varnadore, USN, Instructor, CJCS Chair
Advising Interests: Strategic deterrence, nuclear weapons, maritime strategy, global integration and campaigning, defense management
Degrees: M.S. Applied Physics, Naval Postgraduate School; BS Physics, Auburn University; Joint Forces Staff College
Experience: Submarine Warfare Officer; Joint Qualified Officer; 2014-2016 Chief, Strategic Deterrence & Nuclear Policy, Joint Staff J-5; 2011-2014 Commanding Officer, ballistic missile submarine USS Louisiana; 2008-2010 Exchange Officer to the Australian Submarine Headquarters; 2006-2008 Executive Officer, USS Tennessee; 2004-2006 Staff Officer, Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Command; 2001-2004 Engineer Officer, USS Oklahoma City; Division Officer, USS Maine (1995-1999). 
Email: larry.varnadore@au.af.edu

Lieutenant Colonel (GS) Andreas Wachowitz, German Air Force, German Air Force Advisor to Air University, Instructor 
Advising interests: Joint Warfighting with a focus on Air and Space Operations, Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP), NATO
Research Interests: War theory, modern military campaigning
Degrees: Graduate from the German General and Admiral Staff College, Hamburg; MoA, Strategic Studies, Air University.
Experience: Command and instructor Pilot with over 2500 flying hours on the IDS and ECR version of the TORNADO, Squadron Commander in the 511 Squadron of the Tactical Air Wing 51 “Immelmann,” and Deputy Group Commander of the German Tornado detachment during ISAF. Second career field in the intelligence community with positions as desk officer for remote sensing satellite programs in the Department of Strategy and Operations of the the German Ministry of Defense and Section Chief in the Strategic Reconnaissance Command. 
Email: Andreas.Wachowitz.DE@au.af.edu / AndreasWachowitz@Bundeswehr.org

Dr. Will Waddell, Assistant Professor of Strategy, Joint Warrior Studies Seminar Academic Advisor
Advising Interests: Historical and contemporary Great Power War, historical campaigning, irregular warfare, campaign design, European history, European Union, NATO, Vietnam War
Research Interests: First Indochina War, French army, irregular warfare, wars of decolonization and empire, French history, European history
Degrees: PhD in Military History, the Ohio State University
Experience: 2016-Present, Faculty at Air War College
Email: william.waddell.2@au.af.edu 

Dr. Xiaoming Zhang, Associate Professor of Strategy
He earned his Ph.D. in history from The University of Iowa in 1994, and taught at Texas Tech University and Texas A&M International University prior to joining the Air War College. Dr. Zhang is the author of a number of articles on Chinese military involvement in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and Sino-Soviet relations during these conflicts, and of Red Wings over the Yalu: China, the Soviet Union and the Air War in Korea (Texas A&M University Press, 2002). His writings have appeared in China Quarterly, Journal of Cold War Studies, The Journal of Conflict Studies Security Studies, and The Journal of Military History. The Journal of Military History has twice selected him to receive the Moncado Prize for excellence in the writing of military history. He is currently writing a book on China’s 1979 war with Vietnam, and articles on the Chinese air force. His area of expertise includes Chinese military history, People’s Liberation Army Air Force, the Korean War and air war especially, the Vietnam War, and China-U.S. and China-Soviet relations