Dr Colin Jackson

Dr Colin Jackson is Chairman of the Strategic and Operational Research Department at the US Naval War College. He was previously the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia in the US Department of Defense.

Colin F. Jackson is the Chairman of the Strategic and Operational Research Department at the US Naval War College. Dr Jackson oversees the work of a range of research groups focused on contemporary functional and regional challenges in the maritime domain. These research groups include the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI), the Russia Maritime Studies Institute, the Advanced Research Programs (Halsey A, Halsey B, Gravely, and Holloway), the Cyber and Innovation Policy Institute (CIPI), and the Institute for Future Warfare Studies.

Dr Jackson served from 2017-2019 as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia. In that capacity, Dr Jackson oversaw US defence policy throughout the region, advancing US national security interests through defence strategy development, security cooperation, contingency planning and program oversight. His duties included statutory oversight of the US$5 billion annual Afghan Security Force Fund (ASFF) appropriation supporting the development and sustainment of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. Dr Jackson also served as the senior Defense Department representative to the US-Taliban peace talks.

Prior to his service in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Dr Jackson was the Director of the Advanced Strategist Program and a Professor in the Strategy and Policy Department of the US Naval War College. He also taught a series of courses on strategy, counterinsurgency, counterterrorism and security studies at MIT and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). Dr Jackson is a Research Affiliate of MIT’s Security Studies Program. 

In 2011, Dr Jackson deployed to Afghanistan where he served in uniform as the Executive Officer for Policy Planning for the Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations, International Security Assistance Force, Afghanistan. In 2009, he served as a Senior Civilian Adviser to Task Force Mountain Warrior in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Before entering academia, Dr Jackson worked for several years in the corporate sector in financial trading, telecommunications, transportation markets and power development. He continues to serve in the US Army Reserve.

Dr Jackson holds degrees from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School (BA, Public and International Affairs), the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School (MBA, Finance), Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (MA, International Economics and Strategic Studies), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PhD, Political Science (Security Studies)).

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