Army War College faculty and researchers produce groundbreaking and innovative scholarship

By Carol KerrNovember 8, 2021

The Army War College celebrates its top researchers with the Madigan Award – six awards of Excellence in Scholarship, from a field of hundreds of research products from teaching and research faculty. These 2021 awardees were selected by a board of peer reviewers. Selected for quality of research and contribution of valuable, new knowledge to the national security community, the awards reflect the research and scholarship potential of PME at the U.S. Army War College.

Jacqueline Whitt, Ph.D., in History from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, was honored for “Willing and Qualified: Social and Cultural Considerations and the Generation of Landpower in the Global War on Terrorism,” published as a chapter in Landpower and the Long War: Projecting Force after 9/11.

“A lot has been written on joint warfighting, specific organizational structures, different tactical and operational approaches,” said Whitt. “I wanted to come at it from a different point of view,” she said about her decision to examine social and cultural considerations the Army and Marine Corps applied to staff the global war on terror, looking at the experiences of and policy about women, LGTBQ individuals, and non-US citizens.

“[T]he social and cultural implications of the ways militaries are organized, who serve in them, and under what terms people get to serve or are excluded from that service are actually quite fundamental to leadership at senior level,” she said. “These elements are especially important for leaders who are going to lead a diverse force to understand the origins of [policies] and the policy implications for different choices made about personnel.”]

In a typical year, the War College professor teaches the War Policy, and National Security core course, and the elective Great Books for Senior Leaders. She is the Editor in Chief of the War Room, a multimedia forum for Army War College students and faculty to publish informed insights about national security and defense.

Currently on sabbatical at the Office of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Whitt is drafting public diplomacy doctrine and standing up an organizational learning team to conduct training based on effective public diplomacy.


Anthony Pfaff, Ph.D. in Philosophy from Georgetown University, wrote the article, “The Ethics of Acquiring Disruptive Technologies: Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Weapons, and Decision Support Systems” published by the National Defense University Press.

Acquiring new military technologies requires one to integrate ethical considerations upfront during their development,” said Pfaff, about the argument in his award-winning essay. Studies have examined the ethics associated with deploying autonomous weapons, human enhancements, and cyber operations for military purposes, but there is not a lot on the ethics of acquiring these technologies in the first place, he said.

Pfaff is Professor of Strategy, the Military Profession, and Ethics at the USAWC research arm, the Strategic Studies Institute. He focuses research and publication and the Ethics and Warfare elective to help USAWC student-leaders prepare to advise senior leaders with ethical considerations. “These ethical questions come up all the time for them, and their advisors need to understand the vocabulary and logic of ethical reasoning,” he said.


Heather Gregg, Ph.D. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was singled out for her book, Religious Terrorism, part of the Cambridge University Press series, Elements in Religion and Violence.

“The book is an excellent primer for thinking about terrorism broadly and, also, thinking about this one aspect of terrorism which is religiously motivated terrorism,” said Gregg. When combined with certain political and social circumstances, religion provides powerful resources for justifying and motivating terrorist acts against civilians, explained Gregg.

Gregg is Professor of Military Strategy, teaching core courses and an elective on Terrorism, Counterterrorism, and Encountering Violent Extremism. She co-teaches a class on Special Operations.


Frank Jones, Ph.D in Political Science, Griffith University in Australia, earned the award for his book chapter, “Live Nobly, Die Gloriously’: The Battle for Saigon—Tet 1968,” published in Gregory Fremont-Barnes’ A History of Modern Urban Operations.

His work presents the battle within the larger context of the Tet Offensive, considered to be a strategic failure on the part of the United States. “My argument is that, while that may be true, it is not the turning point that scholars have argued and that there was a great operational, tactical cost the Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army suffered,” said Jones, himself an Army veteran of Vietnam whose career took him to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, prior to USAWC service.

As Professor of Security Studies, Jones teaches the War, Policy, and National Security-II core course. He is part of the faculty team launching a new curricular initiative, the Enterprise Management specialization, which links national security policy and strategy; defense management and military strategy; and military campaigning.


Steve Gerras, Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Penn State University, shared Madigan honors with co-author retired Dr. Leonard Wong, for, “Veteran Disability Compensation and the Army Profession: Good Intentions Gone Awry.”

This article was the product of three years of research, quantitative data collection, and interviews. The piece explores implications for the Army Profession from a culture shift in how VA disability is perceived and claimed. Wong and Gerras are both retired military officers, like other USAWC professors with both military experience at the strategic level and academic credentials.

Gerras is the Professor of Behavioral Science who teaches core courses in Strategic Leadership and Defense Management as well as the Critical Thinking and Judgment elective course.


Ron Granieri, Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, was honored for his essay, “It is only easy in retrospect: the U.S. Road to the INF Treaty.” Published in a collection of international perspectives on the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Force Treaty to ban intermediate range nuclear misses from Europe, the essay analyzes the domestic politics and diplomacy leading to President Reagan signature on this major milestone toward the end of the Cold War.

Granieri teaches the core courses of War, Policy, and National Security, and his work with the European Regional Studies propelled student evaluations resulting in the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2020.

He hosts the USAWC War Room podcast, “A Better Peace,” a series of conversations that explore significant challenges in national security and defense, such as Army leader development, soft power versus hard power, and decoding the state department.

“Being here at the War College allows me to do several things that interest me at once,” said Granieri. “I am back to teaching, and I get to talk about my area of specialty. I am also a big believer in the need to introduce people to new and complicated subjects. That is why I like doing the podcast, to reach audiences outside of the classroom.”


Kevin Weddle, Ph.D. in History from Princeton University, received Madigan honrs for his book, The Compleat Victory: Saratoga and the American Revolution, published in 2021 by Oxford University Press. The book covers the entire five-month campaign and focuses on strategy and leadership, two elements that set the book apart from other books on the Saratoga campaign, said Weddle.

Weddle is Professor of Military Theory and Strategy in the Distance Education Program – which multiplies the number of colonels and lieutenant colonels benefitting from USAWC education. As the department historian, he leads student strategic staff rides to the Gettysburg and Antietam battlefields.

Weddle has twice received the Army War College Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2006, he earned the William E. Colby Award for his book on a Civil War admiral, Lincoln's Tragic Admiral: The Life of Samuel Francis Du Pont (A Nation Divided), published in 2005 by the University of Virginia Press. This work received the Army War College Excellence in Public Scholarship Award.

At West Point where he earned his Army Engineer commission and later taught, “the American Revolution is all around you,” he said. So, Oxford Press’s request to write about Saratoga was an invitation to this Civil War expert to address his life-long interest in American Colonial and Revolutionary.