The Mission of the Institute is to provide an independent forum for those who dare to read, think, speak, and write in order to advance the professional, literary, and scientific understanding of sea power and other issues critical to national defense.
Colonel Douds, of Stroudsburg, PA, is a faculty member at the U.S. Army War College teaching the Advanced Strategic Art Program seminar. He has served as a strategist and senior speechwriter in the Chairman’s Action Group on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He commanded a Marine fighter attack squadron in Iraq prior to earning his master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College in June 2010. As an F/A-18 pilot, he has deployed multiple times, including two carrier deployments to the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf and a western Pacific deployment. He has completed the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Instructor’s course, the Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun), was the top honor graduate from the Amphibious Warfare School, and received two bachelor of arts degrees, in political science and history, from Wake Forest University. Doug is an avid historian and enjoys hosting educational tours of Gettysburg, PA, where he resides.
Lieutenant Commander Armstrong is a naval aviator and helicopter pilot who has served as an HH-46D search & rescue and special warfare pilot, an advanced flight instructor, and as the officer-in-charge of an MH-60S Armed Helo Detachment deployed in 2011–12 with the USS Bataan (LHD-5) and 22d MEU. He has also served on board ship and holds OOD and CDO (under way) designations. He is currently serving in the Navy Secretariat. Lieutenant Commander Armstrong holds an MA in military history from Norwich University and is a research student pursuing his MPhil/PhD in the Department of War Studies at King’s College, London. He has published widely on naval irregular warfare, strategy, and naval education & training. His articles have appeared in Proceedings, Naval History, and the USNI Blog. He has also published numerous articles in the Naval War College Review and Infinity Journal. He currently serves as the book review/contributing editor with Rotor Review, the journal of The Naval Helicopter Association.
Major Cook is aide to camp to the Commandant, and assumed the post in July 2013. He was commissioned in May 1998 after graduating from Williams College, where he earned a BA in history. From 1999 to 2001 he served in the 1st Marine Division as a platoon and company commander in the 2d Battalion, 4th Marines. In 2001, he reported to 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade, where he served as Aide to the Commanding General and Commander Task Force 58 during operations in southern Afghanistan.
In 2002, he was transferred to 1st Marine Division, where he served as aide to the Commanding General during Operation Iraqi Freedom. From 2004 to 2006, he was assigned to the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton, California. From 2006 to 2008, Major Cook returned to the 1st Marine Division and served as a company commander with 3d Battalion, 1st Marines during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Following that deployment, in 2008, he reported to 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, and deployed to Iraq as a military transition team leader, advising Iraqi security forces in al Anbar province. He commanded Marine Corps Recruiting Station Los Angeles from 2009 to 2012.
Captain Erb is a 1992 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. At sea, he has served in the USS Tortuga (LSD-46), USS Vicksburg (CG-69), as operations officer in the USS O’Kane (DDG-77), and on the Destroyer Squadron 18 staff, where he was recognized as the Junior Officer Tactician of the Year from COMCRUDESGRU TWELVE. He served as executive officer of the USS Carney (DDG-64) and the USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93) and commanded the Chung-Hoon from May 2010 through November 2011. He has deployed to the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, western Pacific, Indian Ocean, and South America, including two independent western Pacific deployments in command. Ashore, CAPT Erb has served at the Officer of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff (J39), and FBI Headquarters. In 2004 he earned a master of arts degree in national security and strategic studies (with distinction) from the Naval War College. CAPT Erb reported to the U.S. Naval Academy as 1st Battalion Officer in May 2012.
Petty Officer Gauthier joined the US Navy in April of 2006 at the age of 24. He completed boot camp and Yeoman "A" School by August of that year and reported to the USS SAN ANTONIO (LPD 17) for duty. His service aboard the SAN ANTONIO included the Ship's maiden deployment and qualifying as an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist.
In October 2009 he volunteered for Individual Augmentee duty and was subsequently assigned to four different US Army logistics units in Afghanistan.
In early 2010 and while in Afghanistan, Petty Officer Gauthier was invited by the US Naval Institute to be a blogger. He has since penned numerous blogs concerning matters from the realities of life as an enlisted member of the US Navy and Armed Forces, to philosophy, writing, strategy, and geopolitics.
While also in Afghanistan PO Gauthier was invited by Admiral James Stavridis' Staff to become the Admiral's Special Assistant for Strategic Communications. PO Gauthier reported for duty at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) early 2011. In 2012 he was promoted to the position of Social Media Advisor to the SACEUR where he took on the additional duties of assisting the SACEUR with his robust and exhaustive Social Media postings and writing.
Also in 2012, Petty Officer Gauthier requested and was approved to cross-rate and become a Cryptological Technician (Collections). In February of 2013 he reported to CTR "A" School at Corry Station in Pensacola, Florida, and received further training at Goodfellow AFB. Petty Officer Gauthier is currently stationed at NIOC Maryland.
Originally from Accident, MD, Lieutenant Commander Gosnell graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2001 with a BS in Political Science and Spanish minor.
At sea, she has served onboard USS SHILOH (CG-67), USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN-75) and as the Weapons Officer and Combat Systems Officer onboard USS STOCKDALE (DDG 106).
While ashore, Lieutenant Commander Gosnell was stationed in La Maddalena, Italy, and at the Pentagon in OPNAV 513 Strategy and Policy. Her last tour was as Speechwriter for the Chief of Naval Operations.
Awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (4), Navy Achievement Medal (2), Top Gunner Award, Navy League Award, and various campaign and unit awards. She has a Masters of Engineering management from Old Dominion University and a Master’s in International Security Studies from Georgetown University. She is currently assigned to the US Naval Academy as a Political Science instructor.
LT Matthew Harmon is a native of Greenville, South Carolina and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics. While at the Academy, he placekicked for the Navy Football team for four years, earning three varsity letters and later became a member of the 50th Anniversary Navy-Marine Corps Memorial All-Stadium Team.
After receiving his commission, LT Harmon reported to USS BLUE RIDGE (LLC 19), stationed in Yokosuka, Japan. Onboard, he served his first 18 months in the Engineering Department as the Auxiliaries Officer and Fireroom Division Officer. During his remaining time onboard, he was hand-selected to serve as Navigator and participated in Operation Tomodachi, the assistance operation to support Japan by providing disaster relief after the March, 2011 T?hoku earthquake and tsunami. While onboard BLUE RIDGE, he completed his Officer of the Deck, Engineering Officer of the Watch, and Surface Warfare Officer Qualifications and detached in September 2011.
LT Harmon reported to USS McCAMPBELL (DDG 85), also stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, as the Training Officer in December 2011. While onboard McCAMPBELL, he participated in numerous joint and multinational exercises and later served as Operations Officer during the fall 2012 deployment in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
After detaching McCAMPBELL in April 2013, LT Harmon reported to the Naval Academy as a member of the 2014 USNA LEAD Cohort. He graduated with a Master’s Degree in Leadership Education and Development from the University of Maryland in May 2014 and currently serves as the 19th Company Officer at the United States Naval Academy.
His awards include the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars, as well as various campaign and unit awards. LT Harmon is currently enrolled in the Naval War College’s Fleet Seminar Program and is working towards a Master of Arts Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.
Command Master Chief Isherwood assumed duties as Command Master Chief for Coast Guard Personnel Service Center, Arlington, VA, in June 2012 and currently serves as the senior enlisted representative on the Coast Guard Academy’s Board of Trustees.
An electrician’s mate by trade, he joined the Coast Guard in 1982, advanced to chief petty officer in August 1992, made master chief in 1998, and became a command master chief in 2003.
Most recently, Command Master Chief Isherwood served as the Command Master Chief for the Deputy Commandant for Mission Support. Other tours include, CMC for Coast Guard Pacific Area, Coast Guard District 14, Naval Engineering Support Unit Seattle, and the CGCs Midgett (WHEC-726), Sassafrass (WLB-401), Rush (WHEC-723), and Munro (WHEC-724).
In addition, to being a proud graduate of the Chief Petty Officer’s Academy. Command Master Chief Isherwood graduated from the Navy Command Master Chief course, Class II, and from the Coast Guard Command Master Chief course, Class I, and attended the Joint Services Keystone course. He is a Coast Guard Wellness Program Specialist, has completed DEOMI Senior Leader Awareness Training, the Coast Guard’s Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) courses.
Commander Lester is assigned to OPNAV N97 as Special Assistant to the Director Undersea Warfare. He attended Georgia Institute of Technology, where he received a degree in mechanical engineering, and received his commission via Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, FL, in 1999.
Following nuclear propulsion training and submarine school, Commander Lester’s first assignment was the USS Maine (SSBN-741) (Gold). He served as reactor controls assistant, damage control assistant, assistant engineer, tactical systems officer, and quality assurance officer.
From 2003 to 2005, Commander Lester was assigned to the Navy Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston, SC. While there he served as a chemistry instructor, the radiological controls officer, and the division director for chemistry and radiological controls. Upon graduating from the Submarine Officer Advanced Course in June 2006, he reported to the USS Toledo (SSN-769) as engineer officer in the middle of a CENTCOM deployment.
In May 2009, Commander Lester was assigned to COMSUBLANT as the force radiological controls officer. After completing the Submarine Command Course, he reported to the USS Annapolis (SSN-760) as the executive officer in June 2011 and served until December 2012.
Sergeant Major Maddux currently serves as the director of the Senior Enlisted Academy, Quantico, Virginia. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in July 1990. Sergeant Major Maddux has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times, first as a gunnery sergeant during Operation Iraqi Freedom-2 filling the billet of 1st Marine Division Frequency Manager, then as a first sergeant with Tango Battery in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 08.01, and finally as the MACG-38 Fwd Sergeant Major for Operation Enduring Freedom 10.1 in Afghanistan. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (2), Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (4), Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2), Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal (6).
In addition to receiving a master’s degree in business administration from Grantham University in July 2012, Sergeant Major Maddux has been a distinguished graduate to all of the Marine Corps courses.
LCDR Jeff McLean is a U.S. Navy Test Pilot and currently serves as the Project Officer for the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System. Additionally, he tests F/A-18 mission systems and precision approach systems on the Navy’s aircraft carrier fleet. Operationally, he flew F/A-18F Super Hornets with VFA-103, the “Jolly Rogers,” during two combat deployments aboard the USS EISENHOWER, supporting ground forces as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. He has logged over 275 carrier landings and over 300 combat flight hours, including support for the Battles of Marjah and Kandahar.
Earlier in his career, Jeff served as an intern speechwriter on the staff of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and as an assistant in the Navy Appropriations Matters, Congressional Liaison Office.
Jeff graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2004 with honors and distinction and the University of Oxford in 2006, where he was both a Fulbright Scholar and Truman Scholar. He is a Life Member of the U.S. Naval Institute, a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a Next Generation National Security Leader with the Center for a New American Security.
CDR Stephanie Morrison currently serves as the Chief, Waterways Management Division at U.S. Coast Guard Sector Baltimore. She previously served on the Hill as Deputy Chief of the Coast Guard House Liaison Office, Executive Officer on CGC ASPEN out of San Francisco, CA, as the military aide to the Coast Guard First District Commander, and as Operations Officer on CGC COWSLIP out of Astoria, OR. CDR Morrison earned a Bachelors Degree from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and graduate degrees from San Diego State University and the U.S. Naval War College.
Lieutenant Alexander Smith was raised in rural Connecticut and graduated cum laude from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 2009 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Nautical Science and Logistics. Shortly after receiving his commission, LT Smith reported aboard the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Destroyer USS MILIUS (DDG-69) home ported in San Diego, and served as the Main Propulsion Division Officer and the First Lieutenant from July 2009 – July 2011. He fleeted up to Navigator aboard MILIUS in August 2011 and served in that role for an additional WESTPAC, detaching in August 2012.
Upon detachment from MILIUS, he reported to the George Washington University NROTC and served as an assistant professor of naval science. During his time at George Washington, he was hand-selected as the NSTC Navigation Course Coordinator and made positive improvements to the curriculum nationwide.
LT Smith’s personal decorations include the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars, as well as various campaign and unit awards. He obtained a Master of Arts in American History from the George Washington University Columbian College (May 2014) and enrolled in the JPME Phase 1 Program through the Naval Postgraduate Program. He is author and co-author of multiple Proceedings articles and regularly contributes to USNI.