The forefront of safety and security.

“It is a great honor to have my name on the Center that will help dedicated young men and women think about how to promote peace and advance security for our nation and all humanity.”
–  LTG H.R. McMaster ’80, ‘17HC

The H.R. McMaster Center of Security Studies
at Valley Forge Military College

The H.R. McMaster Center for Security Studies at Valley Forge Military College (VFMC) provides non-partisan, research-driven academic programs to prepare future leaders in the fields of national security, criminal justice, intelligence, and cybersecurity.  It will develop training and education programs for VFMC cadets as well as law enforcement agencies, business executives, national security professionals, policy makers, and others.

The McMaster Center produces the “blended” national security professional, one who can function across the full spectrum of private or public agencies.  They are equally successful whether in the executive boardroom, on a network, at an analyst’s desk, or on the battlefield.  Ultimately, The McMaster Center aims to be the preeminent, internationally recognized center of academic excellence in national security, criminal justice, intelligence, and cybersecurity.  To accomplish this vision, it is divided into two focus areas – National Security and Cybersecurity – and has three core competencies:

  • The capability to seamlessly merge perspectives from scholars and practitioners into coherent training and educational programs.
  • The ability to leverage existing and developed strategic and tactical relationships to create and enhance the Center’s offerings and programs.
  • The ability to provide subject matter specific and generalized expertise to stakeholders, constituents, and the general public to increase understanding and capabilities supporting common national security objectives.

Cybersecurity Division

The Valley Forge Military College H.R. McMaster Center for Security Studies Cybersecurity Division provides a critical nexus merging the theory of information assurance with practical application. The Cybersecurity Division of The McMaster Center supports innovative, comprehensive and multidisciplinary education in the Information Assurance (IA) / Computer Network Defense (CND) fields at VFMC. The McMaster Center Cybersecurity Division provides outreach with educational and professional resources for students, educators, and the community.

Learn more about our Cybersecurity program

The McMaster Center Cybersecurity division provides information for:

For more information contact: Dr. John Andrew Landmesser at or (610) 989-1452


Education Resources – Information for Students and Educators:

Professional Resources – Career development for Cybersecurity Professionals:

Research: Whitepapers, studies and other research promoting Cybersecurity education and the Profession

National Security Division

Valley Forge Military College’s H.R. McMaster Center for Security Studies National and Global Security Division coordinates the efforts of associated security professionals that are concerned with national and global security issues. We seek to enhance the awareness of the public, provide commentary for media, and information to the military, government, and industry.

Learn more about our National Security program

U.S. Government and Military Resources
The United States Government and Military produce an enormous amount of original, scholarly research for all aspects of American national security. All of this information is public and free when distributed in a digital format. The links below provide access to scholarly journals, virtual information portals, and digital libraries.

Research Institutes and Think-Tanks
There are hundreds of non-profit research institutes and think-tanks that focus on global, regional, and national security. Most, freely share their intellectual products with the public via the Internet. The hyperlinks below provide just a very small, but extremely worthwhile sampling.

Undergraduate Research Initiative

One of the unique aspects of VFMC’s Justice and Security Studies Program, specifically the Security Studies Concentration, is that students from their first semester to their last are taught writing skills and research methodologies normally neglected at other institutions. The H.R. McMaster Center for Security Studies Undergraduate Research Initiative promotes and develops the undergraduate student research begun during the classes of the Justice and Security Studies curriculum. The objective of the Initiative is to create scholarly experiences that students can carry with them to their transfer colleges/universities, internships, and future professions.

Students are required to work on research projects from the moment they step into the classroom. They are encouraged to continue their research when the class ends, and develop it into something that is presentable and publishable. The Undergraduate Research Initiative members are mentored throughout the scholarly investigative process by VFMC faculty. Students work individually or in teams, and have topics ranging from intelligence assessments of terrorist groups to policy position papers to assessments of VFMC’s network security to writing plans for training drills for emergency managers. Outside scholars are consulted and act as reviewers of students’ work. The ultimate goal of the Initiative is for students to submit an article to a scholarly journal before the they graduate. The long-term initiatives of The McMaster Center’s Undergraduate Research Initiative include undergraduate research symposia, student lectures at public venues (on campus, public libraries, etc.), creating research assistantships, funding research scholarships, web-publishing students’ papers, and making an undergraduate research e-journal.

No college credit(s) are earned for participation in The McMaster Center’s Undergraduate Research Initiative.

Cybersecurity Training & Competition Group

The Valley Forge Military College Cybersecurity Training & Competition Group is focused on community building among students sharing an interest in Cybersecurity at the College. Club members must demonstrate desire for enhanced learning in Cybersecurity beyond current Cybersecurity course information. The Club is focused on promoting increased knowledge of, and greater interest in, Cybersecurity throughout the College and the local community including other schools, and extending Cybersecurity awareness programs to people, places, and institutions in need of help and support. This outreach by the Cybersecurity Club is an important aspect of the Character Development cornerstone of the College.

The Club also plans and prepares to represent VFMC in select Cybersecurity competitions.

Search for Cybersecurity competitions:

Cybersecurity games and labs to help prepare for competition:


Established in 1928, Valley Forge Military Academy & College is seen as an international leadership institution, comprised of a middle school, high school, and college. The College is also known and has been designated by the Governor and Legislature as the Military College of Pennsylvania™.

Earl Catagnus, Jr., Ph.D.
Founding Director of the McMaster Center

Faculty Information

Academic Title: Assistant Professor

Department: History

Courses: American Experience I & II, Contemporary Issues in National Security, Terrorism and Counter Terrorism

Military Title: SSGT (USMC)

Dr. Earl J. Catagnus, Jr. (Captain/VFMAC) is the Founding Director of the Center for the Advancement of Security Studies, and an Assistant Professor of History and Security Studies at Valley Forge Military College.

Dr. Catagnus’s research has focused on questions concerning military history as well as current national security and intelligence dilemmas.  He served as a national security analyst for several documentaries and news programs, and his scholarship has been featured in both academic publications such as The Journal of Military History and service journals like Marine Corps Gazette and Naval Institute Proceedings.  In 2013, he was awarded a U.S. Army Center of Military History Dissertation Fellowship, and in 2012 he was a recipient of both a Marine Corps Heritage Foundation Dissertation Fellowship and the Robert L. Ruth and Robert C. Ruth Fellowship for the Army Heritage Center Foundation.  Currently, he is completing revisions for his book manuscript titled, Blood Brothers:  Tracing the U.S. Army Infantry and Marine Corps to a Crossroads, 1918-1945.

As for military service, Dr. Catagnus enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in September 1998.  During recruit training, he was the Platoon and Company Honor Graduate, and, upon graduation, was meritoriously promoted to the rank of lance corporal.  Immediately after entering the Fleet Marine Force as an infantryman, he was assigned to 3rd Battalion/2nd Marines Scout/Sniper Platoon where he eventually graduated from the U.S. Marine Corps’ Scout/Sniper School.  In 2004, he deployed as a section leader in 3rd Battalion/5th Marines’ Scout/Sniper Platoon during the Second Battle for Fallujah, popularly known as Operation Phantom Fury.  His military decorations include the Purple Heart, two Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals one with Combat V for valor, four Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals, Combat Action Ribbon, Humanitarian Service Medal, and two Certificates of Commendation.

He holds a B.S. in Life Science (with distinction) and a B.A. in History (with distinction) from The Pennsylvania State University, and a Ph.D. in History from Temple University.

Click here to view CV.

Contact Information


Phone: 610-989-1468

John Andrew Landmesser
Deputy Director of Cybersecurity

Faculty Information

Academic Title: Associate Professor

Department: Computer Science, Security Studies

Courses: Computer Information Systems, Computer Programming, Data Management & Security, Network Communications & Security, and Information Systems Security

Contact Information


Phone: 610-989-1452



Started at VFMAC: 2014
Other Experience:

Other Information

Military Education:



Click here to view CV

Dr. Martin Clemis
Assistant Director of Research

Martin G. Clemis – earned his PhD in 2015 from Temple University, where he studied under the tutelage of Gregory J.W. Urwin. He is Assistant Professor of History and Government at Valley Forge Military College and a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University, Camden. Martin’s first book, titled The Control War: The Struggle for South Vietnam, 1968-1975, will be published by the University of Oklahoma Press in spring 2018. He is also a contributing author in Beyond the Quagmire: New Interpretations of the Vietnam Conflict (University of North Texas Press, 2018), Drawdowns: The American Way of Postwar (NYU Press, 2017), and War and Geography: The Spatiality of Organized Mass Violence (Ferdinand Schoningh, 2017). He has also had articles published in Army History and Small Wars and Insurgencies. Martin was awarded a U.S. Army Center for Military History dissertation grant in 2012 and is an alumnus of the U.S. Military Academy’s West Point Summer Seminar in Military History. Martin lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.

Click here to view CV

Randy Davis, Jr.
Faculty Fellow

Faculty Information

Academic Title: Assistant Professor

Department: Justice and Security

Courses: Introduction to Criminal Justice, Criminology, Leadership Theory and Practice, Criminal Investigations, Criminal Law and Procedures

VFMAC title: Captain

Educational Background:

Philadelphia Police Academy: Police Science, Sociology, and Law Enforcement
Chestnut Hill College: BS in Criminal Justice and Certificate in Computer and Digital Forensics
Saint Joseph’s University: MS in Criminal Justice
Council on Licensure, Enforcement, and Regulation: National Certified Investigator/Inspector Basic and Specialized Training Program

Professor Davis graduated the Philadelphia Police Academy in 1990 and progressed through increasing levels of responsibility including 10 years as a Police Sergeant.  Professor Davis was responsible for supervising multiple squads, in various assignments, of 30+ police officers.  During his tenure in the Philadelphia Police Department, Professor Davis served over 24 years of service including 3 years as Tactical and Administrative Supervisor leading many task forces that comprised of plainclothes details that focused on homicides, burglaries, and robberies and a collaborative effort with the FBI to halt a large-scale theft and resale operations.

As an Administrative Police Supervisor, Professor Davis supervised police operations with many community organizations, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Youth Violence Reduction Partnership (YVRP), Philadelphia Coalition for Victim Advocacy (PCVA), and Philadelphia’s Police Advisory Commission.  Professor Davis was honored with numerous prestigious awards including Valor and Bravery commendations for armed combat encounters and confrontations with armed and dangerous felons resulting the use of deadly force.

Upon retirement with Philadelphia Police Department, Professor Davis joined the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of State – Bureau of Enforcement and Investigations as a Professional Conduct Investigator Supervisor.  Professor Davis led a team of investigators in investigating alleged fraud and misconduct including criminal, civil and regulatory violations by professionals licensed by the Board of Pharmacy, Board of Medicine, Board of Osteopathic Medicine, Board of Nursing, and others under the authority of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  During the course of his employment, Professor Davis liaise with the FBI, DEA, DHHS, and local law enforcement officials to conduct investigations, pharmacy inspections and led numerous investigations.  Professor Davis led task forces and covert operations related to opiate prescription abuse and fraud, child pornography and pedophilia involving professional licensed offenders, human trafficking and prostitution within massage parlor establishments, and unlicensed service operations.