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.
Commander 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, Commander 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. Commander 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.
She reported to the USS Shiloh (CG-67) as gunnery officer and deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. After completing Naval Nuclear Power training, she reported to the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75), deploying in support of OIF and earning her tactical action officer qualification.
In 2009 she reported aboard the newly commissioned USS Stockdale (DDG-106) as the weapons officer and combat systems officer through the maiden training cycle and 7th Fleet deployment.
While ashore, Lieutenant Commander Gosnell was stationed in La Maddalena, Italy, as operations officer and base closure team member.
Awards include the Navy Commendation Medal (3), Navy Achievement Medal (2), Top Gunner Award, Navy League Award, and various campaign and unit awards. She has a master’s of engineering management from Old Dominion University and a Master’s in international security studies from Georgetown University. She is currently assigned to OPNAV 153 Strategy and Policy.
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.
Lieutenant 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, Lieutenant 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, Lieutenant 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, Lieutenant 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.
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.