Lt Gen (ret) Christopher Miller

Senior Advisor, Homeland Defense Institute

Lt Gen (ret) Chris Miller last served on active duty as the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs, responsible for Air Force program formulation and long-range planning. In addition to his current work at the US Air Force Academy, he is the inaugural Senior Advisor for the Homeland Defense Institute.

Over nearly 33 years as an active Airman, he also led planning, policy, and strategy for U.S. Northern Command & NORAD (responsible for homeland defense, civil support, and security cooperation with Mexico and Canada); served as the senior USAF commander on the ground in Afghanistan; commanded the nation’s only B-2 bomber wing; directed personnel assignments for 340,000 officer and enlisted Airmen; was defense policy adviser to the U.S. ambassador to NATO, a military fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, and an analyst and planner at Headquarters US Air Force. He commanded flying units at squadron, group and wing levels and has over 3200 flying hours in T-38, B-1, B-2 and other military and civilian aircraft.

General Miller was a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and of the College of Naval Command and Staff, and holds an M.Phil. in International Relations from Oxford University. He is the President of the Air Force Historical Foundation, a director of the Academy Research and Development Institute, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In April 2018, he was appointed by the President to serve as Chair of the US Section, Permanent Joint Board on Defense, US-Canada

LTC Matt Cavanaugh

Director, Homeland Defense Institute

Lieutenant Colonel ML (Matt) Cavanaugh, PhD, is an active duty US Army Strategist with experience in 11 countries and assignments ranging from Iraq to the Pentagon and Korea to New Zealand (abbreviated CV available here). He serves as a Professor of Practice with the Arizona State University School of Politics & Global Studies, and is a co-founder of and a Senior Fellow with the Modern War Institute at West Point. Matt also has been the youngest recipient of the Army Strategist Association’s professional award – the Order of Saint Gabriel the Archangel (2015), in addition to earning West Point’s faculty-wide Apgar Award for Excellence in Teaching (2014), and was once named the US Army’s Athlete of the Year (2009). Matt served as an Associate Fellow with the Royal United Services Institute from 2019 to 2020, on the Wounded Warrior Project’s Advisory Council from 2014 to 2016, was a Term Member with the Council on Foreign Relations from 2014 to 2018, and is a co-founding Member of the Military Writers Guild. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Sydney Morning HeraldUSA Today, the Chicago Tribune, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Colorado Springs Gazette, and at ForeignPolicy.com. Matt earned his Master’s in Strategic Studies at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, and his PhD in International Relations under Professors Colin Gray and Beatrice Heuser at the University of Reading (UK).

Dr Ryan Burke

Research Director, Homeland Defense Institute

Dr. Ryan Burke is an Associate Professor and Deputy Department Head (Curriculum) in the Department of Military & Strategic Studies (MSS) at the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA). He is a two-term (2019-2020: 2020-2021) Non-Resident Fellow with the Modern War Institute at West Point, where he is also the Co-Director of Project 6633, an initiative dedicated to identifying, discussing, and promoting security solutions in the polar regions against the backdrop of evolving 21st Century power dynamics in the Arctic and Antarctica. As Deputy Department Head for Curriculum, Dr. Burke oversees the design and implementation of 26 MSS courses taught to over 2,000 students per year. He teaches courses on international security studies, international power projection, strategy in the Americas, and other contemporary military and defense issues. Ryan received his USAFA appointment after completing a Department of Defense-funded post-doctoral research fellowship in the University of Delaware’s Joseph R. Biden School of Public Policy and Administration. He also earned his Ph.D. from the Biden School where – in addition to teaching undergraduate public policy courses – he was awarded the prestigious University Dissertation Fellowship, serving as a University Research Fellow during his final year. Ryan’s research emphasizes military strategy and defense policy across the spectrum of conflict. His research is currently funded by the DOD Minerva Research Initiative and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. He has completed other funded projects via the Strategic Studies Institute; the Department of Homeland Security; and the US Marine Corps. Ryan has authored, co-authored, or edited greater than 50 publications to date, including multiple monographs focused on defense policy; journal articles; book chapters; conference papers; technical reports; and winning essays in national competitions. His latest book, On Thin Ice: Great Power Competition in the Arctic and Antarctica is forthcoming with Lynne Rienner Publishers (summer 2021). He is also the chief editor of Military Strategy, Joint Operations, and Airpower: An Introduction (Georgetown University Press, 2018) and is an opinion contributor to The Hill on national security matters. Ryan has been interviewed, quoted, or otherwise featured on TV and in print with Fox News, NBC News, ABC, Business Insider, USA Today, the Weekendavisen (Denmark), and other media outlets. He also serves as a peer-reviewer for multiple journals and presses and consults for the Department of Defense and other entities on a variety of matters.

Prior to his academic pursuits, Ryan was a U.S. Marine Corps officer where he served as a platoon commander, operations officer, and company commander during his fleet tour. He then served as the Deputy Marine Officer Instructor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Naval ROTC unit teaching naval science courses. After leaving the Marines, he worked as a Senior Consultant and Defense Analyst for Booz Allen Hamilton supporting Department of Defense projects in the Pentagon and with the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, VA. He earned his bachelor’s from Penn State University – where he attended on a Marine-Option Naval ROTC scholarship – and his master’s from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia prior to earning his doctorate at the University of Delaware.

Samantha Twiggs

Operations Director, Homeland Defense Institute

Ms. Samantha Twiggs is originally from Missoula, Montana, where she studied Political Science and Global Public Health, and participated in the Peace Corps Prep Program at the University of Montana from 2014 to 2017. During her undergraduate studies, she initiated an independent research project on the correlation between chemical pesticides and epigenetic changes in ruminant species, which received recognition from Yale University and the Department of the Army. Samantha was also involved in efforts to establish international consensus on environmental law and environmental criminal law through the London Zoological Society and the United Nations World Heritage Congress. In May of 2020, she completed her graduate studies in Criminal Justice, Public Administration, Homeland Defense and Emergency Management, and National Intelligence Studies at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS).

In 2018, Samantha participated in the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Volunteer Student Internship Program (VSIP), where she served as the Deputy VSIP Coordinator. After completing her internship with NORAD and USNORTHCOM, she worked briefly as the Contract Manager for the Policy, Security and Analysis Branch of Analytic Services (ANSER), and then as a Tabletop Exercise (TTX) and Defense Support of Civil Authorities Executive Seminar (DSCA ES) Specialist for Strategic Enterprise Support Services (SE2S). Ms. Twiggs currently serves as the North American Defense and Security Academic Alliance (NADSAA) Program Coordinator at NORAD and USNORTHCOM.

Dr Phil Brown

Senior Research Fellow, Homeland Defense Institute

Dr. Phil Brown is a Senior Research Fellow at the Homeland Defense Institute at the United States Air Force Academy in partnership with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). He provides senior technical expertise and research focus to investigate substantive National Security issues that explore and examine strategic policy and planning across the spectrum of globally integrated operations. His current research interests concentrate on Pan-Arctic policy and strategy, national resilience, and matters to solidify relationships with Allies and partners. Dr. Brown concurrently serves at the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Training and Exercise Directorate where he works with a leadership team concentrating on developing a portfolio to enable the Commander’s vision and strategy. In addition, Dr. Brown holds a position as an Adjunct Professor at San Diego State University (SDSU) where he works with the Visualization Center to investigate policy issues associated with natural disasters and emergency response. He also interacts with SDSU graduate students pursuing advanced degrees in Homeland Security. Dr. Brown’s additional leadership and supervisory expertise includes thirty years of service in the United States Air Force, six years in the defense contractor industry, and extensive time in private business as a Certified Executive Coach.  Dr. Brown’s education includes a BA in American Civilization Studies from the University of Miami, FL; a MS in Systems Management from the University of Southern California, CA; and a Doctorate of Management with concentration in Organizational Development and Change from Colorado Technical University.

Lt Col Chad Tossell

Research Fellow, Homeland Defense Institute

Lieutenant Colonel Chad Tossell is an Associate Professor and Senior Military Faculty in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Master of Science in Applied Psychology from Arizona State University and a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (Human-Computer Interaction) from Rice University. Lt Col Tossell has taught courses in psychology, human factors, and systems engineering for over a decade and captured the department’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2009. As the Director of the Warfighter Effectiveness Research Center (WERC), Lt Col Tossell has enabled faculty and cadet research across disciplines and mentored dozens of capstone research projects in human-AI teaming, automated driving, social robotics, training, virtual reality, mobile computing, and the human will to fight and make costly sacrifice. This research has resulted in a wide range of publications and has been covered in media outlets such as The Economist and Time Magazine. In 2016, he and his team were awarded theDean’s Team of the Year for Human-AI Teaming research. In 2018, he was awarded the Raja Parasuraman Scientific Excellence Award at the Annual Neuroergonomics Conference. Many of the cadets Lt Col Tossell has mentored in research have went on to graduate school at institutions such as Stanford, MIT, and Johns Hopkins University. Lt Col Tossell has served as a Behavioral Scientist and Developmental Engineer in a variety of technical and leadership positions around the world. In support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Resolute Support, Lt Col Tossell deployed to Afghanistan in 2014-2015 where he served as the Director of Operations for the Security Assistance Office and awarded the Bronze Star Medal. 

Lt Col Jahara “Franky” Matisek

Research Fellow, Homeland Defense Institute

 Lieutenant Colonel Jahara ‘FRANKY’ Matisek, PhD, is an active duty US Air Force Senior Pilot serving as an Associate Professor in the Department of Military and Strategic Studies and as the Research Director for the Strategy and Warfare Center at the US Air Force Academy. He has over 3,600 hours of flight time (with more than 1,300 combat hours), having served as an Instructor Pilot in the C-17, E-11, T-53, and T-6 at the prestigious Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) program. FRANKY has published over 60 articles in peer-reviewed journals and policy relevant outlets on the topic of modern warfare, strategy, and security force assistance. Most recently he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his 2020 deployment to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, serving as the Director of Operations and Commander of the 451st Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron. Finally, FRANKY earned his PhD in Political Science at Northwestern University and his forthcoming book, Old and New Battlespaces, describes how sociopolitical-information warfare is leading to the weaponization of everything in society, as every citizen becomes a combatant.