Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis


Program Director

James Dalton, MA

Welcome to Norwich University's Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis (SSDA) Bachelor's Degree Completion Program

This program has been designed with the Special Operations Forces (SOF) member in mind. The curriculum builds upon your experience as well as the extensive training and education you have received as part of your military career in the Special Operations community. As a student, you will be able to harness what you have learned in foreign language studies, cultural studies, counterinsurgency, civil affairs, and national security policy to grow and develop within your area of specialty and expertise. The SSDA program is highly interactive and experiential in nature. It is based on the assumption that students will be proactive, engaged and critical thinkers and learners.

You will learn not only from your instructors, but also from your fellow students - soldiers and sailors who embrace the values and mission that define SOF. Learning outcomes will give you practice in applying theory to solve real-world problems in the field. Your writing and communication skills will be honed in ways that will increase your effectiveness and expand your professional opportunities in and outside of the military.

The SSDA team will do whatever it can to ensure that your learning is maximized and that you graduate from the program with the knowledge that you have accomplished your goals.

Read Bio

James Dalton is an experienced educator, with a focus on graduate and undergraduate military college program development and instruction. Earning the rank of commander with 27 years of active duty military experience in the U.S. Navy, Dalton has served as a naval flight officer and a professor at the Naval War College. As a military professor, he developed and managed military education programs for advanced warfare studies related to conventional and unconventional warfare across all phases. During his assignment as a joint experimentation officer, he designed and coordinated test programs for new systems to benefit all branches of the U.S. Special Forces and developed curriculum dedicated to unconventional warfare education. He has his master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College, as well as a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Missouri.

Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis
Bachelor of Science in National Security Studies
Master of Arts in Strategic Studies

Associate Program Director
Chelsea Copeland

Chelsea Copeland joined Norwich University Online in May 2016 as an enrollment adviser for bachelor's students. In February 2018, she assumed the role of Assistant Program Manager for Strategic Studies, National Security Studies, and Criminal Justice degree programs for a number of areas related to curriculum, instruction, and the assessment of student learning outcomes. Chelsea previous worked on Norwich's residential campus and handled the South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia states for admissions’ recruiting territory. Chelsea completed her bachelor’s degree in communications from Norwich in 2012. Her hobbies include running, hiking, yoga and spontaneous travel as she enjoys seeing/learning what the world has to offer.

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Assistant Director of Student Services
Michael Anton, MA

Michael Anton was named the Assistant Director of Enrollment Advising in September 2017, and will work primarily with the online bachelor's degree students. For the prior four years, he was instrumental in the development of the admissions department for Norwich University Online, serving as a counselor and Assistant Director. He graduated with honors from Norwich University with two bachelor’s degrees in 2010, and in 2013 earned his Master of Arts in Military History from Norwich. In his free time, he enjoys reading and writing science fiction stories.

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Enrollment Advisor
Cara Briggs, MSEd

Cara joined the bachelor's degree enrollment advising team in February 2018, and works primarily with students in the SSDA program. Cara is a 2011 graduate of Wright State University where she received an athletic scholarship for swimming. She completed a Master of Arts in Education and Counseling from Purdue University in 2015. She has a background in swimming and coaching swimming at various levels of competition.

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Enrollment Advisor
Joe Rheaume, MPA

Joe joined the bachelor's degree enrollment advising team in November 2017, and will work primarily with students in the SSDA program. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree is in Sociology/Anthropology from Johnson State College, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Arkansas State University. Joe has a background in both law enforcement and the National Guard, and most recently worked as a Zoning Administrator for the town of Charlotte, Vermont.

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Featured Faculty

Angelo J. Collura, PhD, CAPT USN (Ret)

Angelo J. Collura is a retired Navy captain who served more than 30 years assigned to various commands within the Department of Defense and the Office of the Director of Naval Intelligence. His assignments included military duties, as well as four commanding officer positions, within all of the major intelligence commands, including the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

His educational background includes a BA from the Pennsylvania State University, an MS from Georgetown University, and a PhD from Catholic University, all in the fields of linguistics and international studies. In addition, he served as instructor in both Italian and German at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis after assignment to NATO in Naples, Italy. Further instructional and course development duties included those relating to leadership and management programs for the Directorates of Operations and Intelligence within the Central Intelligence Agency. Later foreign tours included both military and Congressional duties in assignments dealing with the Middle East, the Pacific Rim area and Russia.

Other short-term U.S. government assignments included special projects as a Congressional liaison to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on negotiations with Somalia, and Chinese (PRC) and Russian participation with that country on the Horn of Africa. In addition, there were later projects as a Secretary of Defense interface with the People's Republic of Vietnam on bi-lateral negotiations dealing with post-Vietnam Conflict resolutions concerning repatriation of U.S. and Allies' military and civilian personnel.

During his last decade of government service, he served as both Chief and  Director of Archival Research in the Office of the International Security Agency of the Department of Defense.

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Robert R. Greene Sands, PhD

Robert R. Greene Sands is an anthropologist and Director/Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Culture and Language (ISCL) at Norwich University. He is also Editor of the ISCL’s online journal: the Journal of Culture, Language and International Security (JCLIS). He is also currently a Senior Research Consortium Fellow for Army Research Institute. From 2008 to 2011, Dr. Sands was Culture Chair, then Chair, of the Cross-Cultural Competence Department, and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the Air Force Culture and Language Center (AFCLC) and Air University at Maxwell AFB, AL. He was also Director of the Minerva Initiative for Energy and Environmental Security during his tenure at Air University. Dr. Sands is a consultant supporting the development of culture and cross-cultural competence programs across the Department of Defense. He has presented to organizations such as AFRICOM, 17th Air Force, the US Air Force Expeditionary Center, the Joint Chaplains College, Special Operations Command, the JAG School, Advanced Air Mobility Operations, Joint Military Attaché School, Joint Foreign Area Officer Phase One course, Defense and National Intelligence professionals, among others. Dr. Sands has authored seven books and numerous chapters and articles on topics such as cross-cultural competence, environmental security, building partnerships and sustainability, sport and culture, ethnographic theory, and the cognitive origins of religion. His seventh book (co-authored with Allison Greene-Sands) is Cross-Cultural Competence for a 21st Century Military Culture: the Flipside of COIN (2013, Lexington Books). Dr. Sands holds a BA from Illinois State University, an MA from Iowa State University and a PhD from University of Illinois, all in anthropology.

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Col. Edward J. Mays, MS

Colonel Edward J. Mays (retired) served a nearly 30-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps in Command, Acquisition Program Management, Logistics, Software Development, Information Technology, Acquisition Education, Planning, Programming, and Budget and Execution. He began his career with a BS from the University of Florida in 1984. He then worked in logistics billets while stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and then became the Program Objective Memorandum (POM) Officer at the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Virginia. There he created the Asset Tracking for Logistics and Supply System – a major Marine Corps logistics system that has been used in the Marine Corps for over 25 years. In 1997, Col. Mays graduated from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School with a master’s in computer science. He moved on to serve as an Assistant Program Manager and Marine Corps Liaison Officer to several programs in the U.S. Army's Program Executive Office for Intelligence Electronics Warfare & Sensors (IEW&S) and the U.S. Army's Program Executive Office for Command, Control, and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T).

Excelling in the area of program management, Col. Mays has held several positions including Quarter Master and Logistics Officer at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. He used program management to facilitate historic structure modernization and led the planning and designing for the new Marine Barracks Annex and Band Support Facility. Subsequently in 2005, Col. Mays served as an Acquisition Professor in the Program Management and Leadership Department at the Defense Acquisition University. He was then sent to Kabul where he taught acquisition to the Afghan National Army Acquisition Agency. He was selected for Command in 2007 and was promoted in 2008 to Operations Assessment Officer for Multinational Forces – West (MNF-W), Al Anbar, Iraq, where he played a substantive role in the return of Anbar Province to the government of Iraq.

Later on, he became the Director for Product Group-10, executing almost $1 billion annually through procuring all enterprise software and hardware for the Marine Corps Enterprise Network (MCEN). Early in 2012, he accepted his most recent position as the Assistant Commander, Acquisition Logistics and Product Support, at Marine Corps Systems Command.

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Brett J. Morash, PhD

Brett J. Morash is the Director of Operations and Finance at the Bob Woodruff Foundation based in New York City and a retired U.S. Naval Officer with over 20 years of diverse leadership experience in assignments across the globe. Previously he was the Vice President of Veteran’s Services at Services for the UnderServed, Inc. a nonprofit based in New York City focused on improving at risk people’s lives where he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of multiple programs related to veterans' issues including homeless prevention, employment, mental health and wellness, with over a $15 million annual budget. Prior to retirement his final assignment was on the military faculty of the U.S. Naval War College where he educated military officers and senior civilian personnel on strategy, risk analysis, and operational planning. He received a bachelor’s in marine transportation from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. He furthered his education at Framingham State College earning a master’s in business administration. He later earned a master of arts degree in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College. Most recently he earned his PhD in the Humanities from Salve Regina University where his dissertation was entitled “The Rise and Fall of the Union of Islamic Courts.” His professional experience has developed his skills in research, management, technological innovation, and concept creation.

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Edwin (Leigh) Armistead, PhD
David Blank, PhD, MBA

A member of the Norwich University faculty since 2008, David Blank primarily teaches courses in chemistry and forensic science. He previously held teaching positions at Dartmouth College, Castleton State College, and Keene State College. In addition to teaching, he works as an independent contractor conducting pharmaceutical industry and chemical research. The owner of five patents and the author of more than 20 publications, he holds a PhD in organic chemistry from Dartmouth College, an MBA in organizational leadership from Norwich University, an ScM in analytical organic photochemistry from Saint Joseph’s University, and a BS in chemistry from Albright College.

Laurette Brady, MBA
Andrew Countis, MA

Andrew Countis is the Coordinator of Prior Learning for the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Norwich University and an adjunct faculty member for several Norwich online bachelor’s programs. He has over 15 years of experience in education in a variety of capacities. For Norwich, he has developed and taught several history courses including HIST210 History of the United States Constitution, HIST310 Historical Studies, and HIST425 American Foreign Policy in the Twentieth Century. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Louisiana State University, and his master’s degree in history from Southeastern Louisiana University. His areas of specialization include the modern American presidency and presidential elections.

Jack Covarrubias, MA
Victoria Greene, MS
R. Alan King, PhD, MA

R. Alan King specializes in 21st-century security matters, counterinsurgency, strategic communications, and Middle Eastern geopolitical issues. He is a retired colonel of the Army Reserve and has been an advisor to both state and defense department leaders. In 2004, he served as a Civil Affairs Battalion commander and the deputy director of the Office of Provincial Outreach, Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad and as a senior member of the ceasefire negotiations in Fallujah.

His book Twice Armed, An American Soldier’s Battle for Hearts and Minds in Iraq received the 2008 William E. Colby Military Writer’s Award for contributions to intelligence operations and international affairs.

King holds degrees from the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Air Force Air War College, Webster University, and East Tennessee State University. He is pursuing his doctorate degree from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Allison Greene-Sands, PhD

Allison Greene-Sands is the associate director for Culture for the Defense Language and National Security Education Office, within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. She is responsible for the research and study plan for the role of culture in Department of Defense (DoD) policy, which entails analysis of DoD culture-related policies, requirements, and capabilities in the operations and planning process for the Defense Language, Regional Expertise and Culture Program. She has also worked for multiple non-profit organizations supporting intercultural conflict resolution initiatives in the Middle East, South Africa, Northern Ireland, and Cyprus, and was a doctoral intern at the North American NATO Headquarters (Supreme Allied Command, Atlantic) in Norfolk, VA. She received both her PhD and MA in international studies from Old Dominion University, and holds a BA in philosophy from Dartmouth College. Her research focus areas include intercultural conflict resolution, culturally-based language pedagogy, and the impact of the Internet on diplomatic communications. Along with Dr. Robert Greene Sands, she is co-editing the seminal volume on cross-cultural competence in support of 21st Century military operations. Languages studied include French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and American Sign Language.

Cyndi Levy, PhD

Cyndi Levy has taught courses in political science, strategic studies, and public administration at Norwich University, Colorado College, Zrinyi Miklos National Defense University in Budapest, the U.S. National Defense University in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where she also served as assistant provost for external affairs. Her career includes service as special assistant to the Secretary of Defense, as an analyst at CIA headquarters in Langley, the Maritime Administration, and as the Executive Assistant to the former Dep Director of the CIA, Dr. Ray Cline, while he was the Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She has also served as a Legislative Aide for Defense and Intelligence for US Senators Orrin Hatch and John Chafee. She received an AB from Syracuse University in Soviet and East European studies and socialist economics, and studied for a MA in law and diplomacy at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, specializing in strategic studies and international law. She then studied for her MPA and subsequently pursued a PhD in American government and public administration at the Maxwell School of Public Administration. While assigned by the US Naval Postgraduate School to teach at Zrinyi Miklos National Defense University of the Republic of Hungary, she studied for her PhD in military strategy and philosophy. Along the way, she was awarded an Honorary PhD from Moscow State University in Russia. She is also the owner of Hilton Head Design, an artisan glass company.

Charles Lynch, MS
Greg Makuch, MS
Martin McMahon, MLitt
Randall H. Miller, MA

Randy Miller teaches in both the Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis program as well as the Teaching and Learning Certificate program. He graduated as a member of the Norwich Corps of Cadets in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and then served on active duty in the U.S. Army’s 2nd Infantry Division and 82nd Airborne Division.

He worked in the pharmaceutical and high-tech sectors for several years before becoming an educator, and has taught online, face-to-face, and hybrid courses at various levels, including six years in the Dominican Republic. He returned to Norwich as a student and earned a master’s degree in diplomacy in 2007 and a Teaching and Learning Certificate in 2009. He is an active alumnus and has written two books about Norwich history, Norwich Matters and Norwich Heroes.

James Miskel, PhD
Darlene Olsen, PhD
Robert Pauly, PhD

Robert Pauly is a faculty member in the diplomacy and international relations graduate programs at Norwich. Specializing in American foreign policy and national security, he is fluent in French and German languages. Robert has published numerous books, articles and book chapters on various subjects. He a tenured Associate Professor of International Policy and Development at The University of Southern Mississippi. He earned his master's and doctorate in international studies from Old Dominion University.

Recent Publications

US Foreign Policy and the Persian Gulf: Safeguarding American Interests Through Selective Multilateralism (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2005).

Islam in Europe: Integration or Marginalization? (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2004).

Ashgate Research Companion to US Foreign Policy, edited volume (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2010).

“An Assessment of the Barack H. Obama Administration’s Approach to the Threats to US National Security Posed by Iran,” in Jack Covarrubias, Douglas Brattebo, Tom Lansford and Robert P. Watson, ed., The Obama Presidency: A Preliminary Assessment (New York: SUNY Press, 2012).


Shawn White, PhD
Lea Williams, PhD