Provide an independent forum for those who dare to read, think, speak, and write to advance the professional, literary, and scientific understanding of sea power and other issues critical to global security.
Originally from Accident, MD, Lieutenant Commander Rachael Gosnell graduated with honors from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2001 with a BS in Political Science and Spanish minor. At sea, she 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).
Ashore, Lieutenant Commander Gosnell was stationed in La Maddalena, Italy and was part of the base closure team. Following her Department Head tours, she was selected for the Navy’s Political-Military Masters Program, where she earned a MA in International Security Studies, with honors, from Georgetown University.
LCDR Gosnell then served in the Pentagon in OPNAV 513 Strategy & Policy and as the Speechwriter for the Chief of Naval Operations. Awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (4), Navy Achievement Medal (2), Top Gunner Award, Newport Navy League Award, and various campaign and unit awards.
She also has a Masters of Engineering Management from Old Dominion University and is pursing doctoral studies at the University of Maryland. LCDR Gosnell is currently assigned to the US Naval Academy as a Political Science instructor.
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 in USS Carney (DDG-64) and USS Chung-Hoon (DDG-93) and commanded 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), FBI Headquarters, COMNAVSURFLANT, and at the US Naval Academy as First Battalion Officer and Plebe Summer Officer in Charge. In 2004 he earned a master of arts degree in national security and strategic studies (with distinction) from the Naval War College. CAPT Erb is currently Commanding Officer, Center for Security Forces.
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.
A native of Vienna, Virginia, CDR Harrison graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1995. CDR Harrison first served as a Deck Watch Officer on U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) STORIS (WMEC-38) in Kodiak, AK, followed by service as Executive Officer of USCGC KISKA (WPB-1309) in Hilo, HI, Protocol Officer for the Commandant of the Coast Guard in Washington, DC, and Commanding Officer of USCGC AQUIDNECK (WPB-1336) in Fort Macon, NC, and later Manama, Bahrain. In March 2003, CDR Harrison led AQUIDNECK during the invasion of Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Upon returning from the Arabian Gulf, CDR Harrison served as the Senior Instructor of the Maritime Boarding Officer School in Yorktown, VA, and then established the Maritime Law Enforcement Academy in Charleston, SC, where she served as Executive Officer. She returned to sea in 2006 as Executive Officer of USCGC LEGARE (WMEC-912) in Portsmouth, VA. After earning a master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University, she was responsible for strategic oversight, policy formulation, and Congressional briefings for programs representing $2.7 billion of the Service’s operating base as a Program Reviewer in the Office of Budget and Programs. CDR Harrison earned a second master’s degree in Educational Technology Leadership from The George Washington University in 2010.
In 2010, CDR Harrison was chosen by President Barack Obama to serve as of one of 13 White House Fellows for 2010-2011 during which she served as a senior advisor to the Administrator of NASA and acting Deputy Chief of Staff of NASA. She then served as a Strategic Analyst in the Strategic Management and Doctrine Directorate before assuming command of USCGC NORTHLAND (WMEC 904) in Portsmouth, VA. After NORTHLAND, her research as the Coast Guard’s first National Security Affairs Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution focused on the Arctic and sexual assault prevention. She reported to the Office of Management and Budget in July 2015.
CDR Harrison’s awards include the Bronze Star, Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medal, Coast Guard Commendation Medal (5 awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Coast Guard Achievement Medal and Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
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.
Officer Representative, Political Science DepartmentB.S., Political Science, US Naval AcademyM.A., International/Global Security, The Johns Hopkins UniversityGradCert, Legislative Studies, Georgetown University
Amy McGrath graduated from USNA with a B.S. in Political Science in 1997. While being a midshipman, she was a member of the varsity women’s soccer team and was the Midshipman Director of NAFAC in her senior year. After her commissioning as a Marine Corps officer and completion of flight school in 1999, she was assigned as a F/A-18 Weapons Systems Officer to Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 121. In 2002, Captain McGrath, deployed to Kyrgyzstan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom flying combat missions in Afghanistan. In 2003, she completed her second combat tour to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
From 2005-06, Capt. McGrath transitioned to become an F/A-18 pilot. In her second tour with 121, she completed a deployment to East Asia from 2007-09. In 2010, she deployed to Afghanistan with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. While operational, she accrued over 2000 flight hours, and flew 85+ combat missions. She has flown in multiple exercises in the continental U.S., Alaska, Egypt, Australia, Korea and Japan.
In 2011, Major McGrath was assigned to Capitol Hill as a Congressional Fellow. She worked in the office of Representative Susan Davis of San Diego as the congresswoman’s defense and foreign affairs policy advisor. From 2012-13, she served in the Pentagon at Headquarters Marine Corps, Strategy & Plans Division, International Affairs Branch as the Marine Corps’ liaison to other federal government agencies such as the Department of State and US Agency for International Development.
Lieutenant Colonel McGrath holds a Masters of Arts in International/Global Security from The Johns Hopkins University and a Graduate Certificate in Legislative Studies from Georgetown University. She is a graduate of the Marine Amphibious Warfare School, Marine Fighter Weapons Division Tactics Course, and Marine Corps Command and Staff College.
Her awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, (8) Strike Flight Air Medals, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, and Iraqi and Afghan (2) Campaign medals.
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.
Lieutenant Commander Joseph “Grant” Thomas, Jr. was commissioned in February of 2003 and upon graduation from Officer Candidate School he reported aboard CGC BEAR (WMEC 901) where he was initially the Weapons Officer and then the Deck Department Head while also serving as a Landing Signaling Officer, Maritime Law Enforcement Officer, and Operation NEW FRONTIER over-the-horizon boat mission commander for narcotics interdiction operations.
In February 2005, he departed CGC BEAR to serve as the prospective Commanding Officer for the pre-commissioning detachment of CGC TIGER SHARK (WPB 87359). In April 2005 he took delivery of the cutter in New Orleans, LA as the “plank owner” Commanding Officer and then in the summer of 2005 CGC TIGER SHARK was commissioned into active service in Newport, RI.
LCDR Thomas reported to Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC in August of 2007 to serve as the military aide to the Coast Guard Chief of Staff. In July of 2008 he transferred from Coast Guard Headquarters to Coast Guard Atlantic Area in Portsmouth, VA to continue serving as a military aide.
Upon completion of his assignment at a military aide in May of 2009, LCDR Thomas assumed command of CGC MONOMOY (WPB 1326) which is one of six U.S. Coast Guard cutters forward deployed to the Kingdom of Bahrain in the Middle East under tactical control of Naval Forces Central Command.
Upon completion of his overseas command supporting Operations IRAQI and ENDURING FREEDOM, he assumed command of CGC BLOCK ISLAND (WPB 1344) in Atlantic Beach, NC in July 2010. In the summer of 2012 he relinquished command of CGC BLOCK ISLAND and began graduate studies at the National Intelligence University. In July of 2013 he graduated with a Masters in Science and Technology Intelligence and a certificate as a denial and deception analyst. His current assignment is the chief of analysis and Executive Officer of Military Personnel within the Coast Guard Counterintelligence Service.
Since 1997 LCDR Thomas has been certified as an Emergency Medical Technician and has remained actively involved with fire and emergency services. He established the Alexandria Fire and Emergency Medical Services Explorer Post 1774 in March of 2014 and is currently the lead advisor. In addition to being a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician, LCDR Thomas holds his 100 ton U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner License.