Featured Speakers, Authors, and Guests

2023 Norwich University Military Writers’ Symposium

MWS 2023

Featured Speakers, Authors, and Guests 

The biographies of our 2023 distinguished featured speakers, authors, and guests appear below. We invite you to learn more about them.

Don Bentley Portrait

Don Bentley is the New York Times Bestselling author of the Matt Drake thriller series including Hostile Intent, The Outside Man, and Without Sanction as well as one forthcoming title. Don also writes in the Tom Clancy Jack Ryan, Jr. universe with Zero Hour, Target Acquired, and one forthcoming title.      

Don spent a decade as an Army Apache helicopter pilot during which time he was stationed in South Korea, Germany, and Texas. While deployed to Afghanistan as a Troop Commander in support of Operation Enduring Freedom VI, Don was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Air Medal with “V” device for valor. Following his time in the military Don worked as an FBI Special Agent and was a member of the Dallas Office Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.         

After leaving the FBI, Don worked for companies that developed technology for the U.S. Special Operations Community. He holds a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Ohio State University, and an M.F.A in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.

Dmitri Beliakov

Dmitri Beliakov was born in 1970 in the Vologda region of Russia. He graduated from the foreign languages department of Yaroslavl University and started working in 1993 as a translator and researcher for Express Newspapers U.K. and stringer for various TV channels during the First Chechen War.

Beliakov began to take pictures professionally in 1997 freelancing for the AP, the Daily & Sunday Express U.K., The Telegraph U.K., The Times and The Sunday Times of London. From 2002 to 2008 Beliakov was a photographer on a freelancer contract for Bloomberg News.

His pictures illustrated business, political, economic and feature stories from throughout Russia and the former Soviet Union.

Captain Rebekah "Rose" Bernheim

Captain Rebekah "Rose" Bernheim is currently an operations officer in the US Army's Special Operations Command.

Over her nine-year Army career, Rose served at various organizational echelons of leadership to meet tactical and strategic requirements and garnered extensive experience in leading small unit teams.

In 2017, Rose became the tenth woman to complete Ranger School, the US Army's premier combat leadership course that first opened to women in 2015. She holds of a Bachelor of Arts in Studies in War and Peace from Norwich ('14).

LTC Chris Cadigan

LTC Chris Cadigan (Ret.) entered Rookdom shortly after returning from Operation Desert Storm. While at Norwich he served in the Army Reserve, participated in the Mountain Cold Weather Company, Ranger Platoon, Professional Officer Development Seminar and served as Aide de Camp and Driver to President Schneider. 

He was elected by his peers as Freshman Class Vice President, Sophomore Honor Committee, Junior Ring Committee, Criminal Justice Students Association Executive Committee, and Association of the United States Army Chapter President. 

He graduated from Norwich in 1995 as a Distinguished Military Graduate with a B.A. in Criminal Justice. He was commissioned in the U.S. Army and served as an Infantry, Signal, and ultimately a Special Forces officer. Chris led his Special Forces Operational Detachment-A on hundreds of combat operations and more deployments than any other “A Team” in the U.S. Army Special Forces Regiment to Afghanistan, Colombia, & Iraq. He went on to serve in a variety of command and staff positions in special operations at the Regional, Operational and Strategic levels and completed his 29-year career working in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Chris holds a Masters of Military Art and Science from the School of Advanced Military Studies, Command and General Staff College. He has written, red teamed and innovated extensively including on Joint and International field manuals, He is the chief architect of Village Stability Operations, and the Peace Reconciliation and Reintegration Plan, and is a coauthor of the Campaign Plan for Global Special Operations, and the Counter-Russian Unconventional Warfare Strategy. 

Chris currently works as a “Professor of Practice” in Operational Art, Design, Strategy and Campaign Development and Planning to organizations within the Department of Defense and throughout the US Government as well Private Clients. His comments here tonight do not represent the Position of the Department of Defense or the US Government.

Lieutenant General In-Bum Chun (ROK, Ret)

Lieutenant General In-Bum Chun (ROK, Ret)Lieutenant General In-Bum Chun (ROK, Ret) served his country with both honor and integrity for nearly four decades. Chun retired in 2016 after of distinguished service in the South Korean Army. During his military career which started in 1978 at the Korea Military Academy he ascended to positions of leadership that included, the Chief  of the Election Support Branch, Civil Military Affairs/Strategic Operations Directorate of the Multinational Forces in Iraq, the Director of U.S. Affairs at the Ministry of National Defense (ROK), Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff of Operations for the U.S.-ROK Combined Forces Command, Senior member of the UNCMAC, the Commander of the ROK Special Warfare Command, and the Deputy Commander for the First ROK Army.

Chun is a holder of three U.S Legions of Merit, the US Bronze Star Medal and the USSOCOM Medal. His interests and expertise in national defense and security policy saw him awarded positions that included Visiting Fellow at the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, Visiting researcher at the US-Korea Institute at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University and as Visiting fellow at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Tech.

Currently, Chun is serving as a Senior Fellow with the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) and the Vice-president of the Air and Space Forces Association (AFA) MIG Alley Chapter and is on the Advisory board for the National Bureau of Asian Research, the Global SOF Foundation, the Global American Business Institute and the Korean Modelers Association as well as a Senior Contributor for the Asia Society Korea and a fellow with the Institute for Corean-American Studies and Distinguished Military Fellow with the Institute of Security and Development Policy in Sweden. He is also a board member for the Korean Animal Welfare Association which advocates for animal rights and humane treatment of all animals.

In addition to his many roles with various military and defense organizations, he is active on social media as a military analyst with his YouTube channel where he uploads videos discussing defense and security matters related to South Korea and Northeast Asia.

Dr. Joan Johnson-Freese

Dr. Joan Johnson-Freese is a Senior Fellow with Women in International Security (WIIS) and served as a University Professor and Chair of the National Security Affairs Department at the Naval War College (NWC) between 2002-2022; now as Professor Emeritus. She has also been part of the Government Department faculty of Harvard Extension School and Harvard Summer School since 2004, where she teaches courses on Women, Peace & Security, Leadership in War and Peace, and Grand Strategy and US National Security.

As a political scientist, she has published multiple articles on aspects of Women, Peace & Security, particularly focusing on raising awareness regarding the framework generally and within security communities specifically, believing that you can’t implement what you don’t know about. She is the author of Women, Peace & Security: An Introduction (2018, 2nd edition 2024) and Women v Women: The Case for Cooperation (2022). Over the arc of her academic career, her research also focused on space security, authoring seven books in that field and over 100 published articles, many with a particular focus on the Chinese space program.

She has testified before Congress on multiple occasions about space issues and served on the National Academy of Sciences Space Studies Board. Dr. Johnson-Freese has also published multiple articles and written a book, Educating America’s Military, on Professional Military Education (PME). She testified before a Congressional House Armed Service subcommittee on PME reform in May 2022.

More information and links to her recent articles on Women, Peace & Security can be found at: https://joanjohnsonfreese.carrd.co/

Lyle Goldstein

Dr. Lyle Goldstein is director of the Asia Engagement program at Defense Priorities. Formerly, he served as research professor at U.S. Naval War College for 20 years. In that post, he was awarded the Superior Civilian Service Medal for founding and leading the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI). His main areas of expertise include both maritime security and nuclear security issues. Major focus areas have also recently included the Arctic, as well as the Korean Peninsula. He has published seven books on Chinese strategy, including Meeting China Halfway (Georgetown UP, 2015). He speaks both Chinese and Russian and is currently writing a book on China-Russia relations. He has a PhD from Princeton, an MA from Johns Hopkins SAIS, and a BA from Harvard.

Areas of expertise: air power, alliances, arms control, Asia, China, civil-military relations, deterrence, diplomacy, drone warfare, Europe, grand strategy, great power competition, intelligence, military comparisons, military defense, NATO, naval power, nuclear weapons, pentagon spending, regime change, Russia, submarine warfare, the Quad, trade change

CSM Matt Kitchin

CSM Matt Kitchin, a native of Vermont, enlisted in the United States Navy in January 1993. He attended basic training at Recruit Training Command and Aviation controller ‘A’ school in Great Lakes, Illinois, and was assigned to the USS SAIPAN LHA-2 based out of Norfolk Naval Base, Virginia. He enlisted in the United States Army in September 1998 as an M1 A-1 Abrams Tank Mechanic, attending Basic Training at Ft. Leonardwood, Missouri and Advanced Individual Training at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. As an Abrams mechanic, he served at Fort Riley, Kansas and Fort Stewart, Georgia.

CSM Kitchin attended Special Forces Assessment and Selection in 2001, graduating the Special Forces Qualification Course as an 18C (Special Forces Engineer) in 2003. Assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), CSM Kitchin held positions as an Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) Engineer, ODA Operations Sergeant, First Sergeant, Company Sergeant Major, BN Operations Sergeant Major and served as the 1ST BN 10TH SFG(A) Command Sergeant Major. He has also served at the NATO Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ) on SHAPE, Mons, Belgium, as the NSHQ First Sergeant, and in Stuttgart Germany as the Special Operations Command Europe J3 Senior Enlisted Advisor. From 2008 to 2011, CSM Kitchin served at the Military Freefall School in Yuma, Arizona, as a basic course instructor and assisted in establishing the Advanced Tactical Infiltration Course (ATIC) in 2009.

CSM Kitchin has completed numerous combat deployments in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, and Operation ATLANTIC RESOLVE.

His awards and decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Purple Hearts, Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal and various unit and campaign awards. He has earned the Combat Infantry Badge, the Special Forces Tab, Master Parachutist Badge and Military Freefall Parachutist Jumpmaster Badge with combat star.

Alison MacDonald

Alison MacDonald is a Threat Manager on JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Threat Management Team. Her duties include investigating cases of concern using behavioral threat assessment to mitigate potential acts of violence at company locations. Prior to joining the Threat Management Team, Alison was Credit Card Public Relations and Communications Associate and spent time as a Middle Market Commercial Banking Associate and a Card Corrections Project Manager. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice from Norwich University. In addition, she also earned a Master of Arts in Homeland Security from the American Military University. Alison is a member of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP) and is studying to become a Certified Threat Manager.                     

Alison is a U.S. Army veteran and served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, for which she humbly received the Bronze Star medal for her meritorious service duty as a Cultural Support Team Leader in 2011. Alison served six years on active duty in the US Army as an intelligence officer. She was a member of the Army’s Cultural Support Team program selecting elite females to serve on the front lines of Afghanistan with Army Special Forces and Navy Seals. Alison spent her last 2 years in the Army as a Counterintelligence Special Agent and Special Agent in Charge of a Counterintelligence field office whose mission was the planning, coordinating, and executing of Army Counterintelligence special operations, counterespionage and international terrorism investigations.

David Maxwell

Dave Maxwell is the Editor-in-Chief of Small Wars Journal. He is the Vice President of the Center for Asia Pacific Strategy (CAPS) and a Senior Fellow at the Global Peace Foundation (where he focuses on a free and unified Korea). He is a 30-year veteran of the US Army, retiring as a Special Forces Colonel. He has worked in Asia for more than over 30 years, primarily in Korea, Japan, and the Philippines. Colonel Maxwell served on the United Nations Command / Combined Forces Command / United States Forces Korea CJ3 staff where he was a planner for UNC/CFC OPLAN 5027-98 and co-author of the original ROK JCS – UNC/CFC CONPLAN 5029-99. He later served as the Director of Plans, Policy, and Strategy and then Chief of Staff for the Special Operations Command Korea. He commanded the Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines (JSOTF-P), served as the G3 for the United States Army Special Operations Command and culminated his service as a member of the military faculty at the National War College. Following retirement, he served as the Associate Director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Colonel Maxwell is a fellow at the Institute of Corean-American Studies, and on the Board of Directors of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, the International Council of Korean Studies, the Council on Korean-US Security Studies, the Special Operations Research Association, the OSS Society, and the Small Wars Journal. He earned a B.A. in political science from Miami University, and an M.A. in Military Arts and Science from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and from the School of Advanced Military Studies, and an M.S. in National Security Studies from the National War College. Colonel Maxwell teaches Unconventional Warfare and Special Operations for Policy Makers and Strategists.

Major Tahina Montoya

Major Tahina Montoya working tactical, operational, and strategic missions in 9 countries spanning 4 continents including two deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Maj Montoya currently serves as a Political-Military Analyst and Military Gender Advisor at the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Americas Transnational Threat Center.

In her civilian capacity, Tahina serves as a Political Appointee for the Biden-Harris Administration, is a Women in International Security (WIIS) Fellow, a Doctoral candidate at Georgetown University, and an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs. Tahina holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Norwich University (’08); a Master’s in Strategic Intelligence from American Military University (’10), and a Master’s in Science and Technology Intelligence from National Intelligence University (’18). Her publications include A Gendered GFA: How the US can turn a missed chance in Afghanistan into an opportunity to change; From Exception to Norm: Closing the Women, Peace, and Security Implementation Gap Through Joint Professional Military Education; and Gendered Implementation of the Global Fragility Act: A Case for Haiti.

Mike Nagata

Mike Nagata, U.S. Army (Ret.) is Corporate Strategic Advisor and Senior Vice President of CACI International Inc, an international provider of expertise and technology serving enterprise and mission defense, intelligence, and federal civilian government customers.

In this role, Mr. Nagata advises corporate efforts to advance CACI’s presence in national security and supports the development and evolution of CACI’s corporate strategy, with a particular focus on strengthening the company's ability to anticipate future national security requirements.

Mr. Nagata’s depth of policy, strategy, operational, and combat experience, including senior counterterrorism policy and strategy positions, ensure CACI continues to anticipate and meet the needs of our national security customers. He brings increased value to our customers' missions, using his keen insight, gleaned from more than three decades in top posts with Army and Joint Special Operations Forces, the Intelligence Community, and in U.S. Diplomatic posts.

Prior to CACI, Mr. Nagata served as director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center’s Directorate of Strategic and Operational Planning. Previously, he served as commander of Special Operations Command-Central, where he helped to oversee the campaign against the Islamic State in the Middle East. As a general officer, he also served as deputy chief of the Office of the Defense Representative to Pakistan and as the deputy director for special operations and counterterrorism on the Joint Staff.

Rachele Pojednic, Ph.D., Ed.M

Rachele Pojednic, Ph.D., Ed.M  is an assistant professor and program director of exercise science in Norwich University’s Health and Human Performance Department and a research associate at the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Pojednic’s work examines nutrition and physical activity education for health care and fitness professionals as well as overall diet, supplementation and physical activity interventions on muscle physiology, chronic disease and healthy aging.

Pojednic received her doctorate from the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. She also holds a Master of Education in Physical Education from Boston University and a Bachelor of Science in Cardiopulmonary and Exercise Science from Northeastern University.

Her research at Tufts was completed in the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia laboratory at the U.S. Department of Argiculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, where she received the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Charles E. Stanley Jr.

Charles E. Stanley Jr. is the author of Lost Airmen: The Epic Rescue of WWII U.S. Bomber Crews Stranded Behind Enemy Lines. Norwich University gave the book the 2023 Colby Award as the best military history book by a first-time author. Stanley has also contributed articles to Fox News and to newspapers and magazines across the country.

The author holds a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from the University of Buffalo, a master’s degree in international studies from the University of South Carolina and completed further post-graduate work at the University at Albany. He has held a number of key positions in New York State government, serving as an aide to Governor George Pataki during the State’s response to the 9-11 World Trade Center disaster. He has taught graduate-level courses as an adjunct professor at Marist College.

An internationally recognized expert on US Airmen downed in Yugoslavia during World War II, he has been consulted by the National Museum of Contemporary History, Ljubljana, Slovakia. He has also been interviewed by several radio stations and podcasts.

The author’s experiences during the 9-11 World Trade Center disaster, plus unpublished archival records, interviews of other participants, and the detailed journal he kept as he directed aid to the emergency response teams, will be the primary sources for his second book.

James Stejskal

James Stejskal is a military historian and author. He was a “Green Beret” for 23 years with the US Army Special Forces living and operating in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. He was badly wounded in Somalia and retired in 1996, but continued to serve another 13 years with the Central Intelligence Agency as a case officer conducting intelligence operations around the world.

He has written five military histories books including Special Forces Berlin: Clandestine Cold War Operations of the US Army's Elite, 1956-1990, No Moon as Witness, a history of SOE and OSS operations in World War II, and Masters of Mayhem, a study of Lawrence of Arabia and the inception of modern British unconventional warfare, a Military History Matters Silver Medal winner.

Additionally, he has written four military / espionage novels in the well-received series called “The Snake Eater Chronicles” including A Question of Time, Appointment in Tehran, Direct Legacy, and, most recently, Dead Hand.

He has also published numerous military history and national security articles in peer-reviewed journals and elsewhere.

He holds a BA in history and an MA with Honors in Asymmetric Warfare & Military Studies. He lives in northern Virginia with his wife.

James Stejskal

LTC (Ret.) Jeff Tiegs (Special Forces) served more than twenty-five years as a counter- terrorism and counterinsurgency expert in US Army Special Operations. From young ranger private to Delta Force lieutenant colonel, he has braved—and commanded—combat operations around the globe, including in Panama, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Through decades of triumphs and traumas, he leaned on ancient stories from the Bible to help him find meaning, inspiration, and the will to keep fighting—no matter the odds.

He is the author of Where Have All the Heroes Gone? A Pilgrimage Through the Bible, the Battlefield, and Back Home Again.

David J. Ulbrich, Ph.D

David J. Ulbrich, Ph.D assumed his current role as Associate Dean of the Arts and Sciences Division in the College of Graduate and Continuing Education in August 2022. He supervises all online programs in diplomacy, international relations, criminal justice, interdisciplinary studies, strategic studies, history and military history. Ulbrich also remains Associate Professor and Program Director of Master of Arts in History and in Military History programs since 2017. He earned his doctorate in history in 2007 from Temple University where he studied with Gregory Urwin, Richard Immerman, and the late Russell Weigley.

Ulbrich previously served as an adjunct instructor, course developer, and capstone advisor for Norwich from 2007 until 2017. Ulbrich also taught at Ball State University, Ohio University, and Rogers State University. He earned his doctorate in history in 2007 from Temple University where he studied with Gregory Urwin, Richard Immerman, and the late Russell Weigley.

Ulbrich is an award-winning author, instructor, and consultant.

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