Jahara Matisek, Ph.D.

Military Professor National Security Affairs
Lt. Col., U.S. Air Force
Jahara "Franky" Matisek faculty photo


Lt. Col. "Franky" Matisek is a command pilot with over 3,700 hours in the C-17, E-11 BACN, T-6 and T-53. He most recently served at the U.S. Air Force Academy as an associate professor in the Military and Strategic Studies Department, the research director for the Strategy and Warfare Center, and a senior fellow for the Homeland Defense Institute. In 2020, he was a Bronze Star recipient for serving as director of operations and commander of the 451st Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Lt. Col. Matisek is a team member of the Irregular Warfare Initiative at the Modern War Institute, an AFWERX fellow and a certified Project Mercury innovation coach.

Areas of Expertise

  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Arctic
  • Civil-Military Relations
  • Homeland Security
  • Information Operations
  • Irregular Warfare
  • National Security
  • Security Cooperation

Professional Highlights


Director of Operations & Commander, 451 EOSS

Directed and commanded air operations at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

E-11 BACN Instructor Pilot

Flew 60 combat missions in Afghanistan, ensuring 24/7 communications throughout Afghanistan.

Associate Professor & T-53 Instructor Pilot

Taught cadets the fundamentals of joint war-fighting and military strategy.

AFIT Ph.D. Student

Earned a Ph.D. in Political Science at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL); 1st field: Comparative Politics; 2nd field: International Relations

T-6 Instructor Pilot

Taught flying fundamentals at the prestigious Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) Program

C-17 Pilot

Instructor Aircraft Commander, 10th Airlift Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Also, deployed to the CAOC AMD in 2010, serving as the Chief of Diplomatic Clearances.


Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2018, Political Science

M.A., Northwestern University, 2017, Political Science

M.S., Troy University, 2012, International Relations

M.P.A., University of Oklahoma, 2010, Public Administration

B.S., U.S. Air Force Academy, 2005, Behavioral Science

C.V. or Resume

Related Credentials

Professional Certificate, Innovation Coach
University of Michigan (Ross School of Business), 2021

Professional Certificate, Innovation (Air University: Project Mercury)
University of Michigan (Ross School of Business), 2021

Professional Certificate, Dean's Teaching Certificate Program
U.S. Air Force Academy, 2019

Graduate Certificate, African Studies
Northwestern University, 2018

Special Experience Identifier, Master Resilience Trainer (MRT)
USAF Expeditionary Center at Ft. Dix, 2014

Research Contributions and Publications


"Military Strategy, Joint Operations, and Airpower (2nd Edition)"
Co-edited with Ryan Burke and Mike Fowler
Georgetown University Press, Summer 2022

"Old and New Battlespaces: Society, Military Power, and War"
Co-authored with Buddhika Jayamaha
Lynne Rienner Publishers, March 2022

Peer-Reviewed Articles

“Canadian Foreign Military Training: What Good is it among other Allied Providers?”
Co-authored with Will Reno
CDA Institute: On Track (Canadian Foreign Policy Journal), no. 29 (November 2022): 13-32.

“Supporting African Partner States through European Military Assistance Programmes”
Co-authored with Nils Zimmermann and Ivor Wiltenburg
RUSI Journal 167, no. 3 (2022): 42-53.

“The Soft Path to U.S. Hegemony in the 21st Century: An American Brain Drain Policy against Strategic Competitors”
Co-authored with Ryan Burke
Global Security & Intelligence Studies 7, no. 1 (2022): 73-94.

“The Polar Trap: China, Russia, and American Power in the Arctic and Antarctica”
Co-authored with Ryan Burke
Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs 4, no. 7 (October 2021): 36-66.

“Thinking outside of the Sandbox: Succeeding at Security Force Assistance beyond the Middle East”
Co-authored with Austin G. Commons
Military Review (March/April 2021): 33-42.

“Military advising and assistance in Somalia: Fragmented interveners, Fragmented Somali military forces”
Co-authored with Colin D. Robinson
Defence Studies 21, no. 2 (February 2021): 181-203.

“Assistance to Locally Appropriate Military Forces in Southern Somalia: Bypassing Mogadishu for Local Legitimacy”
Co-authored with Colin D. Robinson
RUSI Journal 165, no. 4 (2020): 68-78.

“International Competition to Provide Security Force Assistance in Africa: Civil-Military Relations Matter”
PRISM: Journal of Complex Operations 9, no. 1 (October 2020): 103-113.

“A Developmental Role for Militaries in Africa: The Peace Engineering Corps Solution”
Co-authored with Nils Zimmerman
S+F (Sicherheit und Frieden) (“Security and Peace”) 38, no. 2 (2020): 112-117.

“The Paradox of Security Force Assistance after the rise and fall of the Islamic State in Syria-Iraq”
Co-authored with Mike Fowler
Special Operations Journal 6, no.2 (2020): 118-138.

“Limited Wars in the Periphery: The Dilemma of American Military Assistance”
Co-authored with Cadet Josh Williamson
Expeditions with MCU Press, June 2020

“The Illogical Logic of American Entanglement in the Middle East”
Co-authored with Ryan Burke
Journal of Strategic Security 13, no.1 (2020): 1-25.

“The “Goldilocks Zone” of War and Peace”
Co-authored with Ryan Burke
The Journal of Character & Leadership Development (JCLD) 7, no.1 (2020): 112-123.

“Extending the American Century: Revisiting the Social Contract”
Co-authored with Travis Robison and Buddhika Jayamaha
Georgetown Journal of International Affairs 20 (Fall 2019): 5-15.

“The American Polar Pivot: Gaining a Comparative Advantage in Great Power Competition”
Co-authored with Ryan Burke
The Marine Corps University (MCU) Journal 10, no. 2 (2019): 70-91.

“The Great Saudi-Iranian Proxy Game”
Co-authored with Buddhika Jayamaha, et. al.
Middle East Quarterly 26, no. 4 (Fall 2019): 1-10.

“Bitcoin’s Blockchain Technology for Hybrid Warfare: Laws to the Rescue?”
Co-authored with Wilson VornDick
Journal of Information Warfare 18, no. 1 (Winter 2019): 56-68.

“Western Security Force Assistance in Weak States: Time for a Peacebuilding Approach”
Co-authored with Emily Knowles
The RUSI Journal 164, no. 3 (2019): 10-21.

“Turkish Breakup with the U.S. and NATO: The Illogical Logics”
Co-authored with Buddhika Jayamaha
Journal of Political Risk 7, no. 5 (May 2019).

“Social Media Warriors: Leveraging a New Battlespace”
Co-authored with Buddhika Jayamaha
Parameters 48, no. 4 (Winter 2018-2019): 11-24.

“Changing Weather Patterns, Climate Change and Civil War Dynamics: Institutions and Conflicts in the Sahel”
Co-authored with Buddhika Jayamaha, William Reno, and Molly Jahn
The Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations (Fall/Winter 2018-2019): 70-88.

“An Effective Senegalese Military Enclave: The Armée-Nation "Rolls On"”
African Security 12, no. 1 (2019): 62-86.

“Getting American Security Force Assistance Right: Political Context Matters”
Co-authored with William Reno
Joint Force Quarterly 92 (January 2019): 65-73.

“A New Era of Insurgent Recruitment: Have ‘New’ Civil Wars changed the Dynamic?”
Co-authored with William Reno
Civil Wars 20, no. 3 (2018): 358-378.

“The Crisis of American Foreign Military Assistance: Strategic Dithering and Fabergé Egg Armies”
Defense & Security Analysis 34, no. 3 (2018): 1-24.

“American Civil-Military Relations since George Washington”
Outlines of Global Transformations: Politics, Economics, Law 10, no. 3, (2017): 54-67.

“Shades of Gray Deterrence: Issues of Fighting in the Gray Zone”
Journal of Strategic Security 10, no. 3, (2017): 1-26.

Policy Relevant Essays

“I-25 Corridor of Colorado Spacepower”
Co-authored with Rob Rogers
Colorado Springs Business Journal, 28 October 2022.

“Homeland Defense in the Information Space: Learning from Russian Influence Campaigns in Eastern Europe”
Co-authored with Olga R. Chiriac
Modern War Institute: Shield Notes, 19 October 2022.

“Establishing a vision for Spacepower in Colorado Springs”
Co-authored with Rob Rogers
The Gazette (Colorado Springs), 5 October 2022.

“Meet the Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian Brigade, A Little-Known Unit that Presents a New Model for Security Cooperation”
Co-authored with Will Reno
Modern War Institute, 28 September 2022.

“Little Red PRCs: Could China Conquer Taiwan Without Fighting?”
Co-authored with Ben Lowsen and John Amble
The National Interest, 30 June 2022.

“The New Battlespace is Here: The American Homeland is No Longer Safe”
U.S. Army War College: War Room, 8 April 2022.

“Reinventing Expeditionary Excellence: A New Marine Corps Spirit for 21st Century Warfare”
Marine Corps Gazette 106, no.2 (February 2022): 62-66.

“Little Blue Helmets in Kazakhstan: A Blue Line was crossed; the international community must respond”
Co-authored with ML Cavanaugh
The Diplomat, 19 January 2022.

“Why a Hybrid Defense will beat Russia’s Hybrid War on Ukraine”
Co-authored with ML Cavanaugh
1945: The Embassy, 18 January 2022.

“Back to the Future: Security Force Assistance after Afghanistan and the End of the US Strategic Vacation”
Co-authored with Will Reno
Modern War Institute, 29 December 2021.

“Breadth and Scope: Combining the Social Sciences and Humanities for Better Writing”
Items: Insights from the Social Sciences, 21 December 2021.

“From Little Green Men to Little Blue Helmets: Imagining the Future of Russian Aggression—and what to do about it”
Modern War Institute: Shield Notes, 2 November 2021.

“Requiem for the Afghan “Fabergé Egg” Army: Why did it Crack so quickly?”
Modern War Institute: Irregular Warfare Initiative, 28 October 2021.

“Your Hamburger and National Security: Veganism, Food Insecurity and American Power”
Co-authored with Cadet Kerrilee Berger
U.S. Army War College: War Room, 6 August 2020.

“Can the Illogical Inertia of American Involvement in the Middle East Be Broken?”
Co-authored with Ryan Burke
Real Clear Defense, 17 July 2020.

“Communications in Multi-Domain Operations: What Does the BACN Bring?”
OTH Journal, 24 June 2020.

“Is Human Rights Training working with Foreign Militaries? No one knows and that’s O.K.”
Co-authored with Emily Knowles
War on the Rocks, 12 May 2020.

“Cased Telescoped Ammunition: The Next Step in Ammo Evolution?”
Co-authored with Cadet Nathan Fairhurst
Small Arms Defense Journal, 18 December 2019.

“The American Polar Pivot: Great-Power Competition at the Ends of the Earth”
Co-authored with Ryan Burke
Modern War Institute, 3 December 2019.

“The Soft Power of an American Cartoon: South Park and the Information War with China”
Modern War Institute, 14 October 2019.

“Does the World need a Geneva Protocol for Blockchain?”
Co-authored with Wilson VornDick
Modern War Institute, 1 October 2019.

“How America got dragged into the Saudi-Iranian Proxy Game”
Co-authored with Buddhika Jayamaha
Modern War Institute, 23 September 2019.

“Grab your Coats: Can America succeed in the Arctic?”
Co-authored with Cadet Mathieu Barron
Modern Diplomacy, 11 June 2019.

“NATO at a Crossroads: Why Turkey is becoming such a Problem for the Alliance”
Co-authored with Buddhika Jayamaha
Modern War Institute, 7 June 2019.

“Executive Orders and Troops on the Border: Political Norms and the Securitization of American Problems”
Co-authored with Ryan Burke
Modern War Institute, 15 February 2019.

“Why Airpower needs Landpower”
Co-authored with Jon McPhilamy
Modern War Institute, 5 November 2018.

“The Strategic Crisis in the American Way of War: A Global Discount Security Shop?”
Co-authored with Buddhika Jayamaha
The Strategy Bridge, 23 October 2018.

“Hybrid War: Attacking the ‘Civil’ in Civil Society”
Co-authored with Buddhika Jayamaha
U.S. Army War College: War Room, 13 April 2018.

“The Blockchain Arms Race: America vs. China”
The National Interest, 14 March 2018.

“Is China Weaponizing Blockchain Technology for Gray Zone Warfare?”
Global Security Review, 13 March 2018.

“Turkey and the U.S. on the Brink in Syria”
Co-authored with Buddhika Jayamaha
Columbia SIPA: Journal of International Affairs, 27 February 2018.

“The Death of American Conventional Warfare: It’s the Political Willpower, Stupid”
Co-authored with Ian Bertram
The Strategy Bridge, 5 November 2017.

“Redefining Drones in the Professional Lexicon”
Over the Horizon: Multi-Domain Operations & Strategies, 1 September 2017.

“Dealing with the Arab Spring from the Combined Air Operations Center”
Small Wars Journal, 17 April 2017.

“Physical Fitness is not the key to winning America’s Future Wars”
Modern War Institute, 7 February 2017.

“Trump’s Russian Cyber-Hack Controversy: New era of post-Civil-Military Relations?”
Duck of Minerva, 18 January 2017.

“Change Physical Standards to Recognize Most Jobs Don’t Require ‘Combat Fitness’”
Task & Purpose, 17 November 2016.

“5 Reasons an F-22 Raptor Restart Is a Terrible Idea”
Task & Purpose, 20 June 2016.

“A pilot responds: No, General Petraeus, airpower isn’t the answer in Afghanistan”
Foreign Policy: The Best Defense, 19 January 2016.

“As US Bombs ISIS, Be Wary of Moscow’s Spies”
Defense One, 2 December 2015.

“Let’s Make ISIS a State”
Cicero Magazine, 30 September 2015.

“Drones and Airpower: A Lack of Deterrence in Unconventional Warfare”
Small Wars Journal 11, no. 9, 2 September 2015.

Peer-Reviewed Chapters (Edited Volumes)

“Military Effectiveness: The African Alternative”
Chapter 6 in: Rethinking Civil-Military Relations in Africa: Beyond the Coup d’État, eds., Christopher R. Day and Moses Khisa, (May 2022).

“African Militaries and Contemporary Warfare”
Co-authored with Will Reno
Chapter 5 in: Rethinking Civil-Military Relations in Africa: Beyond the Coup d’État, eds., Christopher R. Day and Moses Khisa, Lynne Rienner (May 2022).

“Libya 2011: Hollow Victory in Low-Cost Air War”
Chapter 8 in: Air Power in the Age of Primacy: Air Warfare since the Cold War, eds., Phil Haun, Colin Jackson, and Tim Schultz, Cambridge University Press, (December 2021).

“A Practical Guide for Advisors in Fragile States: Peacebuilding Approaches for SFA Programming”
Co-authored with Emily Knowles
Chapter 1 in: Promoting the Rule of Law and Good Governance - SFA Implications in International Initiatives, ed., Ludovica Glorioso (Rome: NATO University Press) (October 2021).

“Senegal: Managing Civil War Without Militarization”
Chapter 9 in: Mobilizing Force: Linking Security Threats, Militarization, and Civilian Control, eds., David Kuehn and Yagil Levy (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner) (May 2021).

“Security Force Assistance as a Preferred Form of 21st Century Warfare: The Unconventional Becomes the Conventional”
Co-authored with Dutch Army Major Ivor Wiltenburg
Chapter 11 in: The Conduct of War in the 21st Century Kinetic, Connected and Synthetic, eds. Rob Johnson, Martijn Kitzen, and Tim Sweijs, Routledge, March 2021.

“The Rise of Strong Militaries in Africa: Defying the Odds?”
Chapter in: Fragile and Failing States: Challenges and Responses [Sandhurst Trends in International Conflict Series], eds., David Brown, Donette Murray, Norma Rossi, and Martin Smith, Howgate Publishing, February 2020.

“Multidomain Airpower Strategy: Integrating Air, Space, and Cyber Assets”
Chapter 8 in: Military Strategy, Joint Operations, and Airpower, eds., Ryan Burke, Mike Fowler, and Kevin McCaskey, Georgetown University Press, 1 July 2018.

Technical Writing

Invited Contributor: JP 3-04 Information in Joint Operations, (Classified and Unclassified Versions)
Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C., (December 2021).

“Infrastructure as a key point of American Weakness: Ripe for Attack?” in: The Character of Global Competition and Conflict, 2019-2029
George Popp (Ed.), Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) Future of Great Power Competition & Conflict Project, J39, Pentagon, Washington, DC, (September 2019): 29-31.

“Adversarial Information Warfare undercutting America” in: Kinetic and Non-Kinetic Tactics of Competing Powers over the Coming Decade
Sarah Canna and George Popp (Eds.), SMA Future of Great Power Competition & Conflict Project, J39, Pentagon, Washington, DC, (September 2019): 24-26.

“Increasing Importance of the Polar Regions: Potential for Conflict?” in: Types and Locations of Challenges to US Interests, 2019-2029
SMA Future of Great Power Competition & Conflict Project, J39, Pentagon, Washington, DC, (September 2019): 21-22.

“Outlasting China and Russia: An Alternative American Way to Victory in the 21st Century.” in: Power under Parity
SMA Future of Great Power Competition & Conflict Project, J39, Pentagon, Washington, DC, (September 2019): 12-14.

“Air Coercion Campaigns: Are they Viable in the 21st Century?”
White Paper for Military Deputy to the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation
Written for U.S. Army Brigadier General Michael Fenzel (Special Envoy to Afghanistan), October 12, 2018

Awards and Decorations

Bronze Star

Meritorious Service Medal

Combat Action Medal

Air Medal
7 Oak Leaf Clusters with "C" Device

Afghanistan Campaign Medal

Iraq Campaign Medal

Humanitarian Service Medal

Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal

Air Force Expeditionary Service Medal

Allen E. Dorn Award for Outstanding Researcher of the Year

Honorable Mention Winner, Lieber Society Richard R. Baxter Military Prize, American Society of International Law's Lieber Society on the Law of Armed Conflict

Allen E. Dorn Award for Outstanding Researcher of the Year

Honorable Mention Essay, The Strategy Bridge’s 2nd Annual Writing Competition on Strategy

Finalist Article, Small Wars Journal and Military Writers Guild Writing Contest

Honorable Mention Essay, The Strategy Bridge’s 1st Annual Writing Competition on Strategy

U.S. Strategic Command General Larry D. Welch Deterrence Writing Award

AETC Aircrew Flight Equipment Officer (Flight Commander) of the Year

Other Honors

Distinguished Graduate
Squadron Officer School

Material and external links contained herein are made available for the purpose of peer review and discussion and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Naval War College, Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense.