HR McMaster Center for Security Studies Names New Director
Valley Forge Military College's HR McMaster Center for Security Studies has named Jonathan Duecker as its new director.
Mr. Duecker has been a member of the VFMC faculty since 2017 beginning as an adjunct and serving in that capacity before engaging full time in 2018. (Show more) Since then, he has been an assistant professor of security studies. In 2020, he was appointed Coordinator of the Security Studies Program, creating and maintaining the program's curriculum and advising students in that major.
"This is a logical addition to Mr. Duecker's responsibilities," said Robert F. Smith, Ph.D, Med, provost, and chief academic officer. "The HR McMaster Center for Security Studies is renowned for its prestigious speaker series and debate and discourse on matters of domestic and global security. He is well-equipped to lead the Center in an ever-changing environment for our military and nation."
HR McMaster Center for Security Studies
The HR McMaster Center for Security Studies provides academic support for currently enrolled cadets and training opportunities for alumni and community members. Mr. Duecker's role entails developing programming for the annual Speaker's Series and educational seminars on current security studies issues.
The fall 2021 Series includes:
General Gustave Perna, '81C. Recently retired as a four-star general, his last command was Operation Warp Speed, guiding the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. His forty-year career included numerous staff and command roles. He will address his VFMC experience and share how current cadets can leverage their own experiences to be successful in the army. General Perna will be speaking to cadets and alumni via Zoom on November 18.
Brigadier General George Schwartz, director of the emergency planning and management program at Immaculata University, and assistant adjutant general of the Pennsylvania National Guard. He will speak on various aspects of his leadership experience both in and out of the military. Brigadier General Schwartz will be speaking to cadets in person on October 14.
Mr. Sam Chen, assistant professor of political science Northampton Community College and private political consultant is an expert in state election campaigns. He addressed cadets about the election and political process in the United States in person on September 16.
"I am very excited to add this new challenge," said Jonathan Duecker. "History defines the future, and we bear a great responsibility to educate our cadets in all aspects of military history because they will help shape our future. Being part of an institution which can incorporate esteemed leaders as part of its routine education sets VFMC apart in a very positive way."
In addition to the Speaker's Series, Mr. Duecker will collaborate with the college administration to schedule, plan, and execute a variety of engaging activities for cadets such as the Semester Staff Rides – much anticipated events in which cadets visit battlefields and examine, on site, the details of tactics and military action relevant to the battle. Cadet instructors research and present vital battle information, which is then tied together by leading experts on the battles who are invited to participate.
In the past, the Staff Ride included Valley Forge National Park, Fort Mifflin, and the Philadelphia Navy Yard. For fall 2021, the Staff Ride will be to Washington's Crossing, Trenton and Princeton, NJ, examining the 10 crucial days that transformed the American Revolution from a lost cause to a viable war for independence. The day will be guided by Dr. Smith, an expert in the American Revolution and author of Manufacturing Independence: Industrial Innovation in the American Revolution.
Mr. Duecker graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1986, commissioning as ensign in the US Navy. After attending the US Navy's flight school at Pensacola, FL, he was assigned to the EA-6B "Prowler" tactical electronic warfare community and flew electronic countermeasures missions from several fleet aircraft carriers. After seven years of active duty, he joined the Naval Reserve as an Intelligence Officer performing counterdrug, counterintelligence, and counterterrorism intelligence analysis and production, retiring in 2010 with a rank of commander.
After leaving active duty, Mr. Duecker attended and graduated from the University of Wisconsin Law School and was admitted to the Wisconsin Bar and the two Federal Districts in Wisconsin. After graduating from the US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration Basic Agent Training at Quantico, Virginia, he was assigned as a Special Agent to the DEA's Philadelphia Field Division.
Immediately after the events of September 11, 2001, Mr. Duecker was assigned by the DEA to the Philadelphia FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and mobilized to active duty to the Joint Intelligence Task Force – Combating Terrorism at the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency providing counterterrorism intelligence analysis and production in support of Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and the Global War on Terrorism.
While at DIA, Mr. Duecker was responsible for creating the Homeland Defense Division, monitoring transnational terrorist threats to the continental US. He created the "Joint Regional Information Exchange System" (JRIES), an information sharing system between the federal, state, and local intelligence and law enforcement agencies that was eventually adopted by the US Department of Homeland Security and renamed the "Homeland Security Information Network" (HSIN).
Demobilized at the end of 2002, in 2003, Mr. Duecker was appointed Deputy Director of the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security by then-Governor Edward Rendell, and in 2004 was elevated to Director. He served in that position until the end 2005. He was then appointed Assistant Commissioner (Counterterrorism) of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) by then-Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and served in that capacity until the end of 2008.
From 2009 - 2011, Mr. Duecker was the General Manager and Director of Operations for the Middle East and Arabian Gulf providing counterterrorism, intelligence, security, and critical infrastructure protection counsel and training to the Critical National Infrastructure Authority, the principal UAE government agency responsible for protecting the nation's critical infrastructure (oil, gas, water, nuclear, airport, and seaport).
Mr. Duecker returned from Abu Dhabi, UAE to serve as the Senior Counterterrorism Advisor on the Committee on Homeland Security in the US House of Representatives for the 112th Congress. In 2013, Mr. Duecker became the Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Narcotics Investigations and Drug Control (BNIDC) at the Office of the Attorney General, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He subsequently took on the additional role as Chief of Staff for the Office.
Mr. Duecker currently teaches courses in Leadership, Terrorism and Counterterrorism, Incident Command, Constitutional Law, Global Conflict, International Relations, Introduction to National Security, and Intelligence Studies.