Bradley Podliska, NSSP'01
Asst. Prof. of Military and Security Studies, US Air Force Air Command and Staff College
Bradley Podliska is an Assistant Professor of Military and Security Studies at the US Air Force Air Command and Staff College in Montgomery, Alabama. He graduated from the National Security Studies Program, SSP’s predecessor, in 2001.
When looking at graduate programs, Bradley was impressed with the instruction that matched theory and practical application, a clear differentiation from other programs. In a final paper on national security decision making, Bradley recalls making recommendations to the president in light of the Prague Spring of 1968.
These simulations and practice with real-world scenarios led to a perfect landing spot for a Ph.D. Bradley completed his Doctorate in Political Science (International Relations major) at Texas A&M in 2007.
Bradley has fond memories of classes with James B. Bruce, in particular, a course focused on intelligence and national security. Again, he recalls the mix of theory and practice with contemporary issues: Bradley remembers debating the Y2K problem, a point of concern at the time.
With Dr. Bruce’s 20+ years experience with the CIA, Bradley says he and his fellow students learned “how it actually happens.” Like Dr. Bruce, Bradley’s experience in the field has now equipped him with the knowledge of what works and what doesn’t work. He’s carried this inductive approach to his teaching and research.
After finishing his Ph.D. at Texas A&M, he authored Acting Alone: A Scientific Study of American Hegemony and Unilateral Use-of-Force Decision Making (Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2010).
More recently, the 2012 Benghazi Attack has been the focus of his research. His works argue for a bipartisan approach to investigations—in this case, on foreign policy—and not “a cost-free political attack against a political opponent.” Bradley’s presentation, “Fire Alarm: A Taxonomic Study of the Select Committee on Benghazi Investigation,” concludes with lessons learned, including recommendations for ex post U.S. government reforms.
With his insight in the field, Bradley notices a shift from qualitative to quantitative skills—although he notes the importance of both. While students with a background in languages, international relations, or political science are traditionally ideal candidates for careers in the security field, students with a background in math and science shouldn’t be deterred, as their skills are a real benefit to the field.