Teaching is my greatest privilege as an academic, and I truly value the opportunities I have had to teach a variety of students in a number of different venues. Below are examples of some of the courses and lectures I have given since receiving my PhD.
Sample of Courses Taught at NPS
I currently teach in the Defense Analysis Department at NPS, which works primarily with U.S. and international Special Operations Forces officers and NCOs. My overall goal as a professor is to create an environment where students can engage in learning and debate with each other around topics that are directly relevant to their operational environment. I also aim to expose students to academic debates on a wide range of issues that address causes of violent conflict and paths to conflict mitigation and resolution. Finally, I believe that introducing students to new frameworks for analysis is critical for expanding their capabilities to investigate causes of conflict and possible resolutions. Samples of courses that I have designed and teach include:
“Rise of Religious Violence” This course aims to explore the conditions under which religious groups engage in violent activity as a means of achieving various political, social and religious goals. In particular, this course will a) offer an introductory foundation in the world’s major religious traditions; b) investigate how religion influences conflict, violence and war; c) compare the rise and fall of religious groups engaging in violent activity with the intent of better understanding the conditions under which religious groups resort to and abandon violence; d) compare other examples of religious violence with the current rise of Islamic militancy; e) consider ways in which religiously motivated violence can be mitigated; f) investigate how the United States and the U.S. military can address religiously motivated violence directed at its government, military, citizens and other interests. The course draws on a mixture of primary and secondary literature that outlines the beliefs and practices of the world’s major religious traditions, investigates religiously motivated violence, and offers statements and communiqués of specific militant religious groups of the five religions investigated—Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.
“Culture and Influence” This seminar aims to provide analytical tools for thinking about culture as a warfighting capability in Irregular Warfare. The first section of the course asks the questions: what are we trying to do in irregular warfare? What is the strategic goal? What should our grand strategy be? The second section offers a theoretical overview of academic debates about culture and its role in creating viable states—including economic development, governance, and civil society building—drawing on literature from the fields of anthropology, political science, and economics. The third section of the course considers literature on influence, including debates about who needs to be influenced in IW, how and why, along with intelligence gathering and measures of effectiveness. The course concludes with a discussion on what victory looks like in IW.
“The Human Domain as the Sixth Domain of Warfighting” This seminar aims to define and distinguish the Human Domain as the sixth domain of warfighting. In addition to defining the Human Domain, this seminar will also explore how this domain affects the other five domains of warfighting—land, sea, air, space, and cyber. Topics of discussion will include: disaggregating the human domain; different contexts of the human domain; the dynamic nature of the human domain; training requirements and knowledge necessary to engage in human domain centric warfare; and Special Operations’ unique relationship with and contribution to the human domain.
In addition to the above courses, I have also worked on developing more extensive curricula for short courses to U.S and international security officers. In 2013, I had the privilege of developing a two-week short course on terrorism and land border security for several North African countries’ security forces. The course covers topics ranging from the threat of transnational extremism to mathematical methods of detecting fissile material at land borer crossings. The course is sponsored by the U.S. State Department and is currently in its fourth year of operation.
I also helped develop a short course on religious extremism for the Center for Civil Military Relations at NPS, and participated in the course from 2013-2015, including a series of workshops held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and several courses held for international officers at NPS.
In 2016, I competed for and was awarded a six-month sabbatical from NPS. I used my sabbatical to spend a term at the Indonesian Defense University, teaching in their Asymmetric Warfare and Defense Management Curricula. I offered ten topics while at IDU ranging from an introduction to the Just War traditions in Christianity and Islam, to population centric warfare and community based approaches to countering Irregular Warfare. With each topic, I provided a reading list, study questions, and powerpoint presentation so that these topics can be taught at IDU in the future.
Presentations to U.S. and International Military Units
During my time at NPS, I have also had the privilege of presenting topics and participating in short courses to U.S. and international military units, particularly on religiously motivated violence. Below are some examples:
- “Countering Religious Extremism,” part of a NPS Center for Civil Military Relations team that provided a two-week long resident course to international military officers at NPS, Monterey:
–November 30-December 11, 2015
–November 9-20, 2015
–May 18-29, 2015
–November 3-14, 2014
- “Countering Religious Extremism,” part of a NPS Center for Civil Military Relations team that provided a week-long course to Tajik military officers, Dushanbe, Tajikistan:
–August 10-15, 2015
–February 2-6, 2015
–March 31-April 4, 2014
–January 20-24, 2014
–March 4-8, 2013
- “Social Movements, Fundamentalists and Cosmic Warriors: Three Paths to Religiously Motivated Violence,” presented at:
–Special Operations Forces UW Course, Fort Bragg, February 25, 2016
–Special Operations Forces UW Course, Fort Carson, January 14, 2016
–Pre-deployment training and education, 10th Group Special Forces, October 30, 2014
–The PSYOP Qualification course, Fort Bragg, 2011-2012
— Joint Psychological Task Force, CENTCOM forward, Qatar, December 7-13, 2008
- “Culture and Unconventional Warfare,” presented at:
–The Irregular Warfare Seminar, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 2011-2013
–The Irregular Warfare Seminar, Hurlburt Airfield, FL, February 10, 2009
- “Bridging the Short and Long Term Goals of Counterinsurgency: Theory and Practice,” presented at:
–Special Forces First Group, Third Battalion, December 4, 2009
- “Culture and Counterinsurgency,” presented at:
–Navy EOD Lieutenants’ Course, San Diego, CA, April 3, 2013
— WARCOM seminar, Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, CA, January – July 24, 2009
–WARCOM seminar, Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, CA, January 23, 2009
- Briefings aboard the USS Eisenhower while underway, June 1-10, 2016; USS Makin Island while underway, November 14-21, 2011; USS Theodore Roosevelt while underway, September 7-18, 2008; the USS Lincoln while underway, March 17-26, 2008.
–Introduction to Islam
–Islamic Activism and the Arab Spring
–Ethnic Antagonisms in the Middle East
–Cultural Awareness in the Middle East
–Iran in Transition
–US Middle East Security Policy
–Regional Implications for the 2006 War in Lebanon
I have also been invited to give lectures to civilian groups, particularly in Monterey County. I have been an enthusiastic supporter of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), which provides courses for senior citizens, in addition to the World Affairs Council, Monterey chapter. Samples of courses taught include:
- “The Evolution of ISIS,” presented at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), California State University, Monterey Bay, April 19, 2016
- “History of Women in U.S. Armed Forces,” presented at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), California State University, Monterey Bay, October 20, 2015
- “Social Movements, Fundamentalists, and Cosmic Warriors: Three Paths to Religious Activism,” presented at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), California State University, Monterey Bay, April 14, 2015
- “History of Women in U.S. Armed Forces,” presented at Democratic Women of Monterey County luncheon, February 19, 2015
- “Mysticism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam,” presented at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), California State University, Monterey Bay, October 28, 2014
- “Shia vs. Sunni Islam,” presented at the presented at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), California State University, Monterey Bay, April 28, 2014
- “Shia vs. Sunni Islam,” presented at the World Affairs Council, November 20, 2013
- “Social Movements, Fundamentalists and Cosmic Warriors: Three Paths to Religious Violence,” presented at Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service, June 17, 2011
- Discussed the Three Circles of War, interview on the John Batchelor Show (Radio), aired November 27, 2010
- “Counterinsurgency Tutorial,” presented at the Institute for Defense and Global Advancement Conference on Irregular Warfare, Washington, DC, May 21, 2010
- “Religion and Violence,” presented at the National Defense University, August 18, 2009
- “Why Gaza Matters,” presented at the World Affairs Council of Monterey, August 29, 2007
- “Islamic Fundamentalism and Terrorism toward the US,” presented at the Star Island International Affairs Conference, Star Island, New Hampshire, July 21-28, 2003
- “Religion and Political Violence,” presented at Interim Activities Period Panel at MIT, January 28, 2002 (coordinator and speaker)