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Robert Cassidy

Chamberlain Project Retired Officer Teaching Fellow
Wesleyan University, 2017-2018, 2018-2019

Bob Cassidy is a recently retired U.S. Army colonel with over three decades of experience studying and practicing the art of war and peace. He is conducting research on policy and strategy problems in America’s wars. His books include War, Will, and WarlordsCounterinsurgency and the Global War on Terror; and Peacekeeping in the Abyss. Colonel Cassidy has served as a special assistant to three senior generals, a special operations director of assessments, a special mission task force planner, a battalion commander, and a brigade operations officer. He has also served as a military intelligence sergeant in the 82nd Airborne Division. He has deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, and Grenada.

Bob Cassidy earned his Ph.D. from the Fletcher School, where he concentrated in security studies, diplomacy, and international law. He has master’s degrees in international relations and security studies from Boston University, the Fletcher School, and the U.S. Naval War College. Bob earned the Diplôme d'Études Supérieures de Défense from the École de Guerre. He has taught strategy and campaigning at the U.S. Naval War College and international relations at West Point. He was a Senior Fellow in the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group. His military qualifications include ranger, jumpmaster, helicopter aviator, survival, evasion, resistance, escape, and Russian and French proficiency.

Bob Cassidy's scholarly work has generally explored strategy, irregular war, and military culture. Specifically, his research and publications include comparative studies on peace operations in Bosnia and Somalia, the Soviet and Russian wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya, and the post-2001 insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  His recent research and writing have focused on the absence of strategy and its implications for the West's wars against non-state sectarian militants. Colonel Cassidy raises questions about the costs and consequences of a propensity for tactics over strategy for the United States and its partners. 

Read this interview with Col. Cassidy to learn more about his approach to teaching, and how commanding troops compares to teaching students.


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Derek Handley

Chamberlain Project Retired Officer Teaching Fellow
Amherst College, 2019-2020

Derek G. Handley is a retired Navy Commander who earned his Ph.D. in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University in May 2018 while completing a Mellon predoctoral fellowship at the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference. He also earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh in 2007.

Derek’s Navy career began at the Naval Recruit Command, San Diego. After graduating from boot camp, he attended and graduated from the Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training (BOOST) program in 1990.  A 1994 graduate of Hampton University, Derek was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Program.  He was designated a Naval Aviator in 1997 and flew SH-60 Bravos in Mayport, Florida. 

In 2000, Derek was selected for redesignation as a public affairs officer (PAO) and in 2001, he became the PAO for Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, Fallon, NV. In 2003, he served on a seven-person public affairs team supporting the Department of Defense’s Media Embed Program for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In 2004, Derek left active duty and immediately affiliated with the Navy Reserve as a public affairs officer for Navy Community Outreach. Subsequent positions include serving as a media operations officer for U.S. Joint Forces Command, as Executive Officer of the Joint Public Affairs Support Element Reserve, and as a public affairs officer in the Office of Special Assistant for Public Affairs to the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In 2014, he returned to active duty to serve as an instructor in the English Department of the U.S. Naval Academy. In 2017, Derek retired from the Navy with 28 years of active and reserve service.