United States Air Force Academy

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Lt. Col. Jahara Matisek

Assistant Professor / Director of Research, Center of Airpower Studies (CAPS)

Department of Military & Strategic Studies

Jahara Matisek
Contact Information

(719) 333-9033




Lieutenant Colonel Jahara ‘FRANKY’ Matisek (PhD) is an Assistant Professor of Military and Strategic Studies (MSS) at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., and is a two-time (2018-2020) Non-Resident Fellow at the Modern War Institute (MWI) at West Point, New York. Lt Col Matisek is a former C-17 Instructor Pilot and was a T-6 Instructor Pilot at the prestigious Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) program, and has over 1,000 combat hours. In 2020 he deployed to Afghanistan,flying the E-11 BACN (Battlefield Airborne Communications Node) as an Instructor Pilot and was the Commander and Director of Operations for the 451st Expeditionary Operational Support Squadron.

As the Director of Research at the Center for Airpower Studies(CAPS) he fosters a research-oriented environment for faculty and cadets. At CAPS, Lt Col Matisek mentors prospective authors on publishing innovative articles on strategy and warfare, while networking with other PME institutions and universities to enable American national security interests and the National Defense Strategy (NDS). His main intent is to establish CAPS and the MSS Department as world-class centers of forward thinking about future conflict, with a focus on how the US military, especially the US Space Force, can better transition towards dominating in a Multi-Domain War Fighting environment.

Finally, he is a Researcher/Investigator on the four-member team (Will Reno, Ryan Burke, and Buddhika Jayamaha) that was awarded $400,000 for their project “Foreign Military Training: Building Effective Host-Nation Armed Forces in Weak States,”by Minerva: Defense Education and Civilian University Research (DECUR) Partnership, Topic 3: Alliances and Burden Sharing. Their findings intend to improve the strategy and processes involved with American and Coalition Security Force Assistance (SFA) missions, such as the current TAA (Train, Advise, Assist) efforts in Afghanistan, A2E (Advise, Assist, Enable) in Syria, and other efforts throughout the world.


Air War College, correspondence (2020)

Ph.D., Political Science (Comparative Politics & International Relations), Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. (2018)

Graduate Certificate, African Studies, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. (2018)

Master of Arts, Political Science, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. (2017)

Air Command & Staff College, correspondence (2015)

Master of Science, International Relations (National Security Affairs & Regional Focus: Europe), Troy University, Troy Ala. (2012)

Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Ala. (2012)

Master of Public Administration, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Okla. (2010)

Air & Space Basic Course, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Ala. (2005)

Bachelor of Science, Behavioral Science, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. (2005)

Professional Experience

E-11 BACN Pilot, Commander and Director of Operations for the 451st Expeditionary Operational Support Squadron, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan (2020)

MSS Assistant Professor & Chief of MSS Faculty Development, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. (2018-2020)

Non-Resident Fellow at MWI at U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. (2018-2019)

AFIT Ph.D. Student, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. (2015-2018)

T-6 Instructor Pilot, 80FTW, Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls, Texas (2011-2015)

Chief of Diplomatic Clearances, Air Mobility Division, CAOC, Al Udeid AB, Qatar (2011)

C-17 Instructor Pilot, JB Lewis-McChord, 10AS, Tacoma, Wash. (2008-2011)

Student Pilot, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Vance Air Force Base, Enid, Okla. (2006-2008)

Pre-Cadet Assignee, 66WPS, Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Nev. (2005-2006)

Honors & Awards

Winning Paper (Bitcoin’s Blockchain Technology for Hybrid Warfare) for the Lieber Society Richard R. Baxter Military Prize, American Society of International Law's Lieber Society on the Law of Armed Conflict (2020)

Two-Time winner of the Allen E. Dorn Award for Outstanding Researcher of the Year, Department of Military and Strategic Studies, Academic Year 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo.

Honorable Mention Essay (The Strategic Crisis in the American Way of War) in The Strategy Bridge’s 2nd Annual Writing Competition on Strategy (2018)

Honorable Mention Essay (The Death of American Conventional Warfare) in The Strategy Bridge’s 1st Annual Writing Competition on Strategy (2017)

Small Wars Journal and Military Writers Guild Writing Contest Finalist (Dealing with the Arab Spring) Article (2017)

Winning paper (Gray Deterrence) for the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM)

General Larry D. Welch Deterrence Writing Award (2016)

Outstanding Aircrew Flight Equipment Officer in Air Education and Training Command (2014)

Company Grade Officer of the Year, 80th Operations Support Squadron (2013)

Distinguished Graduate of Squadron Officer School (2012)


Air Medal (7 OLC)

Aerial Achievement Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal (1 OLC)

Air Force Achievement Medal

Air Force Combat Action Medal

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, 1 device

Combat Readiness Medal

Afghanistan Campaign Medal, 3 devices

Iraq Campaign Medal, 2 devices

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Humanitarian Service Medal (Haiti-Operation UNIFIED RESPONSE)

Air & Space Campaign Medal (Libya-Operation ODYSSEY DAWN)

Air Force Overseas Ribbon Long

Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border, 1 device

(Non-Article 5) NATO Medal (Libya-Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR)

Research and Scholarly Interests

Security Force Assistance

Military Effectiveness

Civil-Military Relations

Conflict in Africa & Middle East

Gray Zone Warfare Strategies

Blockchain and Bitcoin for Hybrid Warfare



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

Train, Advise, and Assist: The Perils of Risk Adverse Military Assistance Missions, (Manuscript under Revision, 2021)

Old and New Battlespaces: How Military Power, Society, and Technology Weaponized Everything, Coauthored with Buddhika Jayamaha, Lynne Rienner Publishers (Under Contract, Forthcoming Spring 2021)

Peer-Reviewed Articles

“International Competition to Provide Security Force Assistance in Africa.” PRISM: Journal of Complex Operations 9, no. 1 (forthcoming 2020).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commentary and Reply, Parameters 49, no. 1-2 (Spring-Summer 2019), 82-84.

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

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.” Joint Force Quarterly 92 (January 2019): 65-73. (coauthored with William Reno)

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

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 WashingtonOutlines of Global Transformations: Politics, Economics, Law 10, no. 3, (2017): 54-67.

Recommended read in Bookforum (July 18, 2017)

Shades of Gray Deterrence: Issues of Fighting in the Gray Zone.” Journal of Strategic Security10, no. 3, (2017): 1-26.

Policy Relevant Publications
Cased Telescoped Ammunition: The Next Step in Ammo Evolution?Small Arms Defense Journal, 18 December 2019. (coauthored with Cadet Nathan Fairhurst
The Soft Power of an American Cartoon: South Park and the Information War with China,”Modern War Institute, 14 October 2019.
How America got Dragged into the Saudi-Iranian Proxy Game.” Modern War Institute, 23 September 2019. (coauthored with Buddhika Jayamaha)

Grab your Coats: Can America succeed in the Arctic?Modern Diplomacy, 11 June 2019. (coauthored with Cadet Mathieu Barron)

NATO at a Crossroads: Why Turkey is becoming such a Problem for the Alliance.” Modern War Institute, 7 June 2019. (coauthored with Buddhika Jayamaha)

Executive Orders and Troops on the Border: Political Norms and the Securitization of American Problems.” Modern War Institute, 15 February 2019. (coauthored with Ryan Burke)

Why Airpower needs Landpower.” Modern War Institute, 5 November 2018. (coauthored with Jon McPhilamy)

The Strategic Crisis in the American Way of War: A Global Discount Security Shop?The Strategy Bridge, 23 October 2018. (coauthored with Buddhika Jayamaha)

Hybrid War: Attacking the ‘Civil’ in Civil Society.” US Army War College: War Room, 13 April 2018. (coauthored with Buddhika Jayamaha)

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.” Columbia SIPA: Journal of International Affairs, 27 February 2018 (coauthored with Buddhika Jayamaha).

The Death of American Conventional Warfare: It’s the Political Willpower, Stupid.” The Strategy Bridge, 5 November 2017 (coauthored with Ian Bertram).

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 Journal11, no. 9, 2 September 2015.

​​Peer-Reviewed Chapters (Edited Volumes)
“Libya – 2011.” Chapter in: Modern Air Campaigns: The Effectiveness of Air Power since Desert Storm, eds., Phil Haun and Colin Jackson, Cambridge University Press, (forthcoming Summer 2021).

“Military Effectiveness: The African Alternative.” Chapter in: Rethinking Civil Military Relations in Contemporary Africa, eds., Christopher R. Day and Moses Khisa, (forthcoming Spring 2021).

“African Militaries and Contemporary Warfare.” Coauthored with Will Reno. Chapter in: Rethinking Civil Military Relations in Contemporary Africa, eds., Christopher R. Day and Moses Khisa, Lynne Rienner (forthcoming Spring 2021).

“Senegal: How the Casamance Conflict did not impact society.” Chapter in: Security Threats, Militarization and Democratic Control of the Military, eds., David Kuehn and Yagil Levy, Lynne Rienner (forthcoming December 2020).

“Security Force Assistance as a Preferred Form of 21st Century Warfare: The Unconventional Becomes the Conventional.” Coauthored with Dutch Army Major Ivor Wiltenburg. Chapter in: The Conduct of War, ed. Rob Johnson, Routledge (forthcoming Fall 2020).

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 in: Military Strategy, Joint Operations, and Airpower, eds., Ryan Burke, Mike Fowler, and Kevin McCaskey, Georgetown University Press, 1 July 2018.

Technical Writing
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, George Popp (Ed.), 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 Parity, Sarah Canna and George Popp (Eds.), 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), 12 October 2018.

Unpublished Work
Your Hamburger is a Matter of National Security: Veganism in Support of American Power.” US Army War College: War Room, with Cadet Kerilee Berger (under review)
Civil Society as a Critical Battlespace: The Information Age Problem of Intensity and Connectivity.” Parameters, with Buddhika Jayamaha (under review)
“The Polar Trap: America’s Bi-Polar Power Problem.” Naval War College Review, with Ryan Burke (under review)
“The Crisis of Security Sector Reform in Fragmented States: Oligopolies, Duopolies, and Monopolies of Violence.” with Joseph Greenbaum and Buddhika Jayamaha (in-progress)
“The Case for Staying in the Middle East: The Dilemma of American Military Assistance.” Expeditions with MCU Press, with Cadet Josh Williamson (under review
“The Bleak Prospects of Army Reconstruction in Somalia.” RUSI Journal, with Colin Robinson (Under Review)
“America’s Failing Foreign Military Training Enterprise: Why a New Combatant Command is needed.” Joint Force Quarterly, with Cadet Patrick Walker (in-progress)
“American Security Cooperation in the Periphery: The Divergence of the Philippines and Colombia.” Strategic Studies Quarterly, with Ian Bertram and Jesse Humpal (in-progress)
“The Paradox of Security Force Assistance after the rise and fall of the Islamic State in Syria-Iraq.” Special Operations Forces Journal, with Mike Fowler (under Review)
“Analyzing Security Partnerships: A Typology of Civil-Military Relations.” Armed Forces & Society, with Mike Fowler (in-progress)
“A Path to American Hegemony in the 21st Century: Letting China and Russia Drain Themselves.” Parameters, with Ryan Burke and Wilson VornDick (in-progress)
“Reinventing the Marine Expeditionary Spirit for 21st Century Warfare.” Marine Corps Gazette, (Accepted).
Invited Presentations
“The Politics of International Military Training in Failed States.” Panel on The Politics of Security Assistance in Weak States, International Studies Association (ISA) 61st Annual Convention, Honolulu, Hawaii, co-presented with Will Reno, 25-28 March 2020. [postponed due to COVID-19]
“What does Military Assistance look like in the Middle East?” The Royal Military Academy (Koninklijke Militaire Academie), Breda, Netherlands, 17 February 2020
“Security Force Assistance: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” Workshop on International Training Activities, Canada Research Chair on the Politics of Violence and Center for International Peace and Security Studies (CEPSI), Université de Montréal, Montreal, Canada, 14-15 November 2019.
“Challenges in Security Cooperation.” Panel on Teaching Insurgency, Biennial International Conference of the Inter-University Seminar (IUS) on Armed Forces and Society, Reston, Virginia, 8-10 November 2019.
“The American Polar Pivot: Gaining a Comparative Advantage in Great Power Competition.” Panel on US Foreign Policy and Geopolitics. International Studies Association (ISA), ISSS-IS Annual Conference, co-presented with Ryan Burke, 18-19 October 2019.
“Libya 2011 – An Air War on the Cheap that Failed.” Workshop on Contemporary Air Wars, US Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, 17-18 October 2019.
“The American Role in the Great Saudi-Iranian Proxy Game.” MSS Department Fall ‘Brownbag Series’, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado, co-presented with Buddhika Jayamaha, 25 September 2019.
“Wide Area Security: The Burgeoning Security Force Assistance Enterprise.” Humanities / SocSci Works-in-Progress ‘Brownbag’, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado, 26 August 2019.
“Security Force Assistance as the New and Preferred Alternative Form of War in the 21st Century.” The Changing Character of War Centre Conference, ‘The Conduct of War: Past, Present And Future’, The University of Oxford, Oxford, England, 26-28 June 2019.
“The Ebb and Flow of the Casamance Conflict in Senegal: The Militarization that never was.” Preliminary workshop program ‘Security Threats, Militarization and the Democratic Accountability of the Use of Military Force’, German Institute of Global Area Studies (GIGA), Hamburg, Germany, 9-10 April 2019.
“Peeling back the Onion of Security Force Assistance: Patron-Client Disconnects.” ‘Security force assistance in fragile states’ workshop for the SFAssist project, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Norway, 5-7 December 2018.
“Military Effectiveness: The African Alternative.” Rethinking Civil-Military Relations in Africa: Beyond the Coup? Workshop at North Carolina State University, School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), 16 November 2018.
“Civil Wars, Violence and International Responses.” American Academy of Arts & Sciences (AAAS), Roundtable Discussion led by Francesca Giovannini, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 24 April 2018.
“The Rise of Strong Militaries in Africa: Defying the Odds?” Symposium 2: Fragile and Failing States – Challenges and Responses, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Berkshire, United Kingdom, 7 February 2018.
“Africa’s New Models of Civil – Military Relations: Not your grandfather’s militaries.” Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, Program of African Studies, co-presented with Will Reno, 31 January 2018.
“New Formations for US Policy in the Sahel? The Obama Years and Trump’s Agenda.” Post-Intervention Governance and Security in the African Sahel Conference, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, co-presented with Will Reno, 19 May 2017.
“Military Strength, State Capacity, and Foreign Aid: An exploration of outlier cases in Africa.” 75th Annual MPSA Conference, Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, 8 April 2017.
“Military Capacities in Africa: Variations in relation to State Capacities.” Knowing Africa: The Power of Narrative on a Global Continent Conference, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 17April 2016.

International Security

Journal of Defense Analytics and Logistics

Journal of Strategic Security

Journal of Strategic Studies

Modern War Institute (West Point, U.S. Military Academy)

Oxford University Press (Chapters in Edited Volumes)


PRISM (Center for Complex Operations, National Defense University)

Security Studies