The Minerva Chairs program, funding endowed faculty chairs at DoD academic institutions, was created in 2010 with a two-part goal:
To meet these objectives, the Office of the Secretary of Defense has partnered with a range of Defense educational institutions to launch Minerva Chair programs at select Joint Professional Military Education schools and Service Academies.
Dr. Robert J. Bunker is Distinguished Visiting Professor and Minerva Chair at the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College. He is also Adjunct Faculty, School of Politics and Economics (SPE), Claremont Graduate University. Past professional associations include Futurist in Residence (FIR), Training and Development Division, Behavioral Science Unit (BSU), FBI Academy, Quantico; CEO, Counter-OPFOR Corporation; Adjunct Faculty, School of Policy, Planning, and Development (PPD), University of Southern California; Terrorism Instructor, California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI), California Office of Emergency Services (OES); Staff Member (Consultant), Counter-OPFOR Program, National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center-West (NLECTC-West); Fellow, Institute of Land Warfare (ILW), Association of the US Army (AUSA); Adjunct Faculty, National Security Studies M.A. Program and Political Science Department, California State University San Bernardino; and Faculty, Unconventional Warfare M.A. Distance Education Program, American Military University. Dr. Bunker holds university degrees in political science, government, social science, anthropology-geography, behavioral science, and history. He has delivered over two-hundred presentations- including papers and training- to military, law enforcement, academic and policy audiences including US Congressional Testimony. He has over two-hundred publications ranging from edited books and booklets through reports, chapters, articles/essays, response guidance, subject bibliographies and encyclopedia entries in academic, policy, military and law enforcement venues. Among those are the work Red Teams and Counterterrorism Training (with Steve Sloan) and the edited works including Criminal Insurgencies in Mexico and the Americas: The Gangs and Cartels Wage War; Narcos Over the Border: Gangs, Cartels and Mercenaries; Criminal-States and Criminal-Soldiers; Networks, Terrorism and Global Insurgencies; and Non-State Threats and Future Wars.
Dr. Jeff McCausland, Colonel, US Army (retired) is a Distinguished Professor of Research and the Minerva Chair holder at the Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, with research emphasizing new approaches in deterrence. He is also a Visiting Professor of International Security Affairs at Dickinson College. Dr. McCausland is a retired Colonel, holds a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and is a West Point graduate. His military assignments included: the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Army Staff; command of an artillery battalion during the Gulf War; Dean of the Army War College; and Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control, National Security Council Staff, the White House. Since retiring from active duty he has served as a Chaired Professor of Leadership at the U.S. Naval Academy and subsequently a Visiting Professor at the Penn State Graduate School of International Affairs. Dr. McCausland is also a Senior Fellow at both the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs and the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at the Naval Academy. He has published and lectured broadly both in the United States and in numerous foreign countries on national security affairs, NATO, the wars in Afghanistan/Iraq, and leadership development.
Dr. Cigar is Director of Regional Studies and the Minerva Research Initiative Chair at the Marine Corps University, Quantico, Virginia. Before retiring, he was on the staff of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the Marine Corps School of Advanced Warfighting, where he taught military theory, strategy and policy, military history, and regional studies. Previously, he was a senior political-military analyst in the Pentagon, where he was responsible for the Middle East in the Office of the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, and supported the Secretary of the Army, the Chief of Staff of the Army, and Congress with intelligence. He also represented the Army on national-level intelligence issues with the inter-agency intelligence community. During the Gulf War, he was the Army's senior political-military intelligence staff officer on the Desert Shield/Desert Storm Task Force.
He is the author of numerous works on politics and security issues dealing with the Middle East and the Balkans, and has been a consultant at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague. He has also taught at the National Defense Intelligence College and was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Conflict Analysis & Resolution, George Mason University. He is now focusing on the strategic and military aspects of radical Islamic movements and on proliferation issues.
Dr. Cigar holds a D. Phil. from Oxford (St Antony's College) in Middle East History and Arabic; a Master of International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs, and a Certificate from the Middle East Institute, Columbia University; and a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the National Defense Intelligence College. He has studied and traveled widely in the Middle East.
Dr. McFate is a cultural anthropologist who works on defense and national security issues. Currently, she is the Minerva Chair at the Center for Naval Warfare Studies at the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Formerly, she was the Senior Social Scientist for the US Army's Human Terrain System. She has held positions at a variety of think tanks, including RAND and the Institute for Defense Analyses. She also worked at the US Navy's Office of Naval Research, where she was awarded a Distinguished Public Service Award by the Secretary of the Navy. She has served on the Army Science Board and the Defense Science Board, and was an instructor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Dr. McFate received a B.A. from University of California at Berkeley, a PhD in Anthropology from Yale University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Her PhD dissertation concerned British counterinsurgency in Northern Ireland. She has published in such journals as Journal of Conflict Studies, Military Review and Joint Forces Quarterly. Additionally, she was one of the primary contributors to Army Field Manual 3-24, Counterinsurgency. She is a native of Marin County, California.
Susan Ariel Aaronson serves in the Minerva Research Fellow Faculty Chair (Minerva Chair) at the National War College within National Defense University, while maintaining an Associate Research Professorship at The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.
Aaronson is currently directing a project examining how the U.S., EU, and Canada use trade agreements to govern the Internet and to advance Internet freedom/stability. Her research is funded by MacArthur Foundation. While at GWU, Aaronson has also received recent grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation and Ford Motor Company for her work on corruption and business and human rights.
Dr. Aaronson is a frequent speaker on public understanding of globalization issues and regularly appears on VOA Issues and Opinions/China to discuss US and international economic developments. She was a regular commentator on "All Things Considered" in 1994-1995, "Marketplace" from 1995-1998, and "Morning Edition" from 1998-2001. She has also appeared on CNN, the BBC, and PBS to discuss trade and globalization issues. She has also been a Guest Scholar in Economics at the Brookings Institution (1995-1999).
Dr. Aaronson serves on the Advisory Board for Business-Human Rights and is a Senior External Advisor to the Business and Society Team of Oxford Analytica. In recent years, she has been a pro-bono advisor to the UN Special Representative on Transnational Corporations and Human Rights, and the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. She has also consulted for the ILO; the World Bank; Free the Slaves; the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative; the Stanley Foundation; several corporations; and the governments of Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands, among others.
Dr. Natali is the Minerva Chair at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University (NDU). For the past nearly twenty years, she has lived, worked and conducted independent research in the Kurdish regions of Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria, and is the author of numerous publications on Kurdish nationalism, politics, economy, and identity, including The Kurdish Quasi-State: Development and Dependency in Post-Gulf War Iraq (Syracuse University Press, 2010) and The Kurds and the State: Evolving National Identity in Iraq, Turkey and Iran (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2005), which received the 2006 Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title (Trans to Turkish as Kurtler ve Devlet: Iraq, Turkiye ve Iran'da Ulusal Kimligin Gelismesi (Istanbul: Avesta Press, 2009)). Her current research is on the political-economy of federalism in Iraq and resource-based conflicts linked to energy sector development. She is writing a book on the changes and continuities in populations and places across the Kurdistan regions of Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria based on interviews and journals she has kept since the 1990 Gulf War.
Dr. Natali also specializes in post-conflict relief and reconstruction, having worked for INGOs and the US Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance in Peshawar, Pakistan and post-Gulf War Iraqi Kurdistan respectively. Prior to her position at NDU, Dr. Natali was engaged in initiatives to develop the higher education sector in post-Saddam Iraqi Kurdistan, including the University of Kurdistan in Arbil and the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani, where she was the Academic Dean, Research Centers Director, Associate Professor, and Director of International Programs and Exchanges.
Dr. Natali received a Ph.D in political science at the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of International Affairs (MIA) at Columbia University. Dr. Natali also has studied at the L'Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales in Paris, University of Tehran, and Tel Aviv University. She speaks English, French, Kurdish, and conversational Farsi.
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Charlotte Lee received a bachelor's degree in political economy and Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She completed her Ph.D. program at Stanford University's political science department. Lee's dissertation Party Adaptation, Elite Training, and Political Selection in Reform-Era China explores how market incentives have shaped the behavior of organizations located within the Chinese Communist Party. She teaches courses on Chinese politics, comparative politics and international relations.
Dr. Luke Gerdes joined the faculty as a Minerva Chair in the USMA Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership in March 2012. His research will combine network methodology with the study of Islam to better understand how socio-structural factors impact the formation of ideologies and shared values, particularly in Muslim Southeast Asia. This work will develop models of society to account for the connectivity of people, information, and resources through social, cultural, political, and spatial systems.
Dr. Gerdes most recently completed a visiting researcher position at the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, where he facilitated the completion of a dynamic network model that examines operational, logistical, financial, ideological, training, familial, and friendship ties among individuals and organizations.
He is currently in the final stages of his Doctoral Program at the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA). He has studied at the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism in Singapore, where he focused on extremism in Southeast Asia. He has also studied the Global Salafist movement at the Center of Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems (CASOS) at Carnegie Mellon.
Dr. Makame Muhajir is USMA's Department of Geography & Environmental Engineering Minerva Fellow for the Social, Spatial and Cultural Topologies of African Villages research project. He received his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Kansas and specialized in Human Geography and Urban Planning. He has also served as the Director of Surveys and Urban Planning Department in Zanzibar, Tanzania and the Director of World Heritage City of Zanzibar's Urban Conservation Program. His research includes: Integrated collaborative urban and rural development programs in the urbanizing world and their localization within sub-Saharan African cities, Middle East, Asia, and Australasia and the evaluation of urban, political, and cultural dynamics within African indigenous environments, among other geographical study areas. He foresees beginning his residence at the Academy in June 2012.
Dr. Meredith Lair is the 2013-2014 Minerva Research Fellow in the Department of History at the U.S. Naval Academy. She is an associate professor in the Department of History & Art History at George Mason University, where she teaches courses in war and American society, post-1945 US social and cultural history, the Vietnam War, and historical methods. She also directs Mason's Interdisciplinary Studies master's program. Broadly speaking, Dr. Lair's research investigates the role that culture can play as an instrument of war. Her first book, Armed with Abundance: Consumerism and Soldiering in the Vietnam War, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2011. It examines the non-combat experiences of American soldiers in Vietnam and finds that the US military relied heavily on consumerism and material abundance to maintain soldier morale, a phenomenon that continues to the present day. Her current project, tentatively titled "The [In]Visible Soldier: Vietnam Veteran Activism and the Militarization of America", addresses legacies of the Vietnam War, in particular how ideas about veteranhood have been constructed and changed over time. She also developed content and wrote the exhibit script for the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation's Vietnam Era Educational Center, the first permanent museum about the Vietnam War in the United States. Dr. Lair received her PhD from Penn State University.
Each chair-holding defense education institution has its own candidate selection process to fill its Minerva Chair position(s). Minerva Research Professors will ideally serve in these chair positions for 2-4 years, though one year is possible when the candidate currently holds a faculty position elsewhere and comes on sabbatical.
Scholars accepted as research faculty into Minerva Chair positions must investigate Minerva-relevant research topics and have a Ph.D. in social sciences or foreign area studies research, as well as a significant track record of research, teaching, academic presentation and publication exploring given the topic area. The program is intended to build DoD in-house expertise in the social sciences by incorporating social science expertise into strategic levels of study and engagement across the Services and within the Department. As the program also aims to bridge between civilian and defense research institutions and to foster new defense connections in the academic world, the ideal candidate will not have been previously employed by the Department of Defense.
Institutions currently seeking Minerva chairholders for the 2013-2014 academic year:
Institutions currently seeking Minerva chairholders for the 2014-2015 academic year:
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Scholars previously holding Minerva Chair positions include: