Michael J. Mooney

Associate Professor College of Distance Education
Col., U.S. Marine Corps, Retired
Michael J. Mooney faculty photo


During his 29-year Marine Corps career, Professor Michael J. Mooney commanded USMC reconnaissance units at the platoon, company and battalion level, with multiple combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He taught as an NWC Military Professor of Strategy and Policy, served in a U.S. Army Special Mission Unit, taught leadership at the U.S. Naval Academy, and served as the future operations division chief, U.S. Joint Special Operations Command. He is a senior associate in NWC’s Center on Irregular Warfare and Armed Groups and an adjunct faculty member for the Program on Terrorism and Strategic Studies (PTSS) at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.

Areas of Expertise

  • Afghanistan
  • COIN
  • Counterterrorism
  • Iraq
  • Irregular Warfare
  • Leadership
  • Military Planning
  • Military Theory
  • National Security
  • Operational Warfare

Professional Highlights


Senior Researcher, Russia Maritime Studies Institute, Naval War College

Conducted research examining Russian and U.S. weapons systems, doctrines, and warfighting capabilities in all domains, focusing on adversary military capabilities, maritime and naval doctrine, and strategy.

Adjunct Professor, Naval Command & Staff Course, Naval War College

Taught online Strategy & War course focusing on leadership, theory and nature of war, critical thinking, operational/strategic decision-making, analysis of historical case studies, how strategists translate operational outcomes into favorable, enduring strategic results, and war termination.

Adjunct Professor, Command & Staff Distance Education Program, Marine Corps University

Taught resident courses that comprised the entire JPME I curriculum, focused on national and international security studies, joint operations/planning, leadership, strategic thought, operational art, theory and nature of war, just war theory, and ethics.

Adjunct Professor, Program on Terrorism and Security Studies, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

Instruct U.S. and international government officials, law enforcement and military members on terrorist groups, leaders, strategies, tactics, and how to build effective, enduring whole-of-government counterterrorism strategies using all elements of national power.

Military Professor of Strategy & Policy, U.S. Naval War College

Taught/mentored six resident “Strategy & War” operational level of war courses and three resident “Strategy & Policy” grand strategy courses, as well as two Special Operations Forces electives.

Commanding Officer, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion

Commanded 600-man reconnaissance battalion for 35 months during counterinsurgency operations in Al Anbar/Ninewa Provinces as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom 8.1 and during counterinsurgency operations in Marjah/Sangin as part of Operation Enduring Freedom 10.1.


M.A., U.S. Naval War College, 2012, National Security and Strategic Studies, with distinction

M.S., Naval Postgraduate School, 2004, Leadership and Human Resource Development

B.S., U.S. Naval Academy, 1992, History, cum laude

Research Contributions and Publications

Awards and Decorations

Gannon Leadership Award
U.S. Naval Academy, 2004

Outstanding Adjunct Leadership Instructor
U.S. Naval Academy, 2005

Instructor of the Year
Command and Staff Distance Education Program, 2021

External Memberships and Associations

Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI)

Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC)

U.S. Naval Institute (USNI)

Naval Historical Foundation

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