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, currently serves as a strategist and 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.
LT James Billings graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 2009 with a BS in Marine Transportation and commissioned into the United States Navy.
Upon commissioning he served as an Action Officer for the Navy Energy Office before reporting to USS FITZGERALD (DDG 62) in Yokosuka, Japan in August, 2009 where he served as Electrical Officer and First Lieutenant. After attending Aegis Weapons School in Dahlgren, VA, he returned to Yokosuka and reported to USS LASSEN (DDG 82) as Fire Control Officer. In March 2013 he was selected to be an Olmsted Scholar and is currently studying Mandarin at DLI-East in Washington, DC. Upon completion, he will attend Fudan University in Shanghai, China where he will study Chinese Politics and Diplomacy.
LT Billings has been awarded the Navy Achievement Medal (three awards), and multiple unit and campaign medals.
Commander Ceraolo is the Director for Maritime Security and Director for Arctic Region Policy on the National Security Staff at the White House. He has 18-plus years of experience in maritime safety and security operations, with emphasis on maritime law enforcement, and search and rescue. His prior service includes command of two Coast Guard cutters; an 82-foot patrol boat in Santa Barbara, California; and a 140-foot domestic icebreaking vessel on the Great Lakes. He also served as senior military adviser, and as policy assistant for maritime affairs and intelligence, security, and emergency response to the Secretary of Transportation from 2006 to 2008. Most recently, Commander Ceraolo served as the Chief of Coast Guard Sector New York’s Command Center, and later as Chief of Response/Chief of Operations for the Port of New York and New Jersey and surrounding offshore waters. A graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, he also holds master’s degrees in public administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and in national security and strategic studies with distinction from the U.S. Naval War College.
Sergeant Major Davenport was slated to Marine Corps Logistics Command, Albany, GA, on 1 October 2012 as the senior enlisted adviser to the commanding general. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in December 1983. Sergeant Major Davenport has deployed to Iraq multiple times, first as Sergeant Major, Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 2d Marine Logistics Group from February 2005–March 2006, and then in August 2009–August 2010 as the Senior Enlisted Adviser for the Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq (MNSTC-I)/Iraq Security Assistance Mission (ISAM). He later transferred to Iraq Training and Advisory Mission (ITAM) as part of the restructuring of MNSTC-I under United States Forces-Iraq (USF-I). His personal awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal (with gold star in lieu of second award), Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with gold star in lieu of second award), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
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.
Captain Hagner enlisted in the Marine Corps in April 1998 and served six years as an enlisted Marine infantryman, earning the rank of sergeant before obtaining his commission on 17 December 2004 through the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program. He graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a major in Government and Politics. Following the Basic School, he attended the Infantry Officer Course in Quantico, Virginia.
As a rifle platoon commander, he deployed in March 2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in Ar-Ramadi, Iraq and later with the 26 Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in July 2007. During this deployment he participated in humanitarian assistance missions in Bangladesh as well as Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Upon return from the 26 MEU in January 2008 he served as the commanding officer India 3/8 until he received orders to MARSOC. In late July 2010 Captain Hagner took over 3rd Platoon, 2d Force Reconnaissance Company. In January 2011 his platoon joined the 26 MEU on the USS Kearsarge.
Captain Hagner assumed command of Charlie 1/6 in Marjah, Afghanistan, in early August 2011 and returned in January 2012. In May 2012 he reported to the United States Naval Academy for duty as a student in the LEAD program.
His personal awards include the Bronze Star w/V and gold star, Navy Commendation w/V, Navy Achievement w/V and four gold stars, the Combat Action Ribbon with gold star, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Good Conduct Medal with bronze star. He has 6 combat deployments, 2 to OIF and 4 to OEF.
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 Scott Larson hails from Arlington, MA and earned his Commission in 1998 via the Naval ROTC Program at The College of The Holy Cross. He graduated from Holy Cross with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science.
Following initial training at Surface Warfare Officer’s School, he reported to USS ANZIO (CG 68), serving as Damage Control Assistant. Subsequently assigned to USS CROMMELIN (FFG 37) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, he served as the Training Officer and Ship’s Maintenance and Material Officer.
While onboard CROMMELIN, LCDR Larson was selected as one of three Officers to participate in the Surface Warfare Officer MBA Program. He attended the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, graduating in 2004 with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Analytic Finance and General Management.
After completing his MBA, LCDR Larson reported to his first Department Head tour as Chief Engineer in USS ELROD (FFG 55). LCDR Larson detached from ELROD after deploying to the Mediterranean Sea as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group (One) and earning the COMDESRON TWO EIGHT CY 2005 Battle Effectiveness Award. Following his tour on ELROD, he assumed Command of Patrol Coastal Crew Alpha in December 2006. While in Command, LCDR Larson completed two deployments to the Arabian Gulf as Commanding Officer in USS TYPHOON (PC 5) and USS CHINOOK (PC 9) in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. Additionally, Crew Alpha earned distinction as the CY 2007 recipient of the Patrol Coastal Squadron Battle Effectiveness Award.
Since turning over Command, LCDR Larson has served as N8/Requirements Action Officer on the staff of Commander Naval Surface Forces Atlantic Fleet, Norfolk VA, as well as Deputy Current Operations Officer for Expeditionary Strike Group Five (ESG 5) in Bahrain. During his tour with ESG 5, LCDR Larson served on the staff of the Officer of the Defense Representative-Pakistan (ODR-P) as Future Operations Planner in support of humanitarian relief efforts from July-September 2010. LCDR Larson also earned a Masters Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, graduating with highest distinction in February 2012. LCDR Larson is currently assigned as the Deputy Director of the VADM James B Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at The United States Naval Academy.
His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (3 awards), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal (3 awards), and various Service and campaign awards. He has also been selected for XO/CO Fleet-Up and anticipates assuming his next afloat command sometime in 2014.
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.
LT Brian R. Pennington graduated in 2006 from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Quantative Economics. LT Pennington received a Master of Science in Operations Research from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia in July 2012.
Following graduation and commissioning, LT Pennington entered the Naval Nuclear pipeline, and reported aboard USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) in April 2008. During his time on the Jimmy Carter he completed two missions vital to national security. LT Pennington served as the Chemistry/Radiological Control Assistant, as well as the Communications Officer on the Jimmy Carter. While aboard the Jimmy Carter it was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation. LT Pennington was also recognized in April 2011 as the Junior Officer of the Year for Squadron Five.
LT Pennington reported to the U.S. Naval Academy for Instructor duty in August 2012.
LT Pennington’s awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, and various unit and campaign awards.