James F. Powers, Jr.

Senior Fellow - National Security Program

Research Areas:

Terrorism, USA, Military, Special operations

Colonel James F. Powers, Jr., USA (ret.) is a Senior Fellow in FPRI’s Program on National Security. He also currently serves as a consultant to two governmental organizations whose mission nexus is Combating Terrorism – The Pennsylvania State University and the US Special Operations Command. Appointed as Pennsylvania’s Director of Homeland Security on June 5, 2006, Mr. Powers’ duties primarily focused on the identification and protection of Critical Infrastructure and the analysis and assessment of federal and Commonwealth Homeland Security-related legislation and executive branch policies and programs for potential impacts on emerging and existing Homeland Security initiatives. As Director, Powers served as the Commonwealth’s primary point-of-contact on Homeland Security issues and the Governor’s Senior Advisor on Homeland Security issues for the nation’s 6th most populous state comprising 67 counties, over 2500 municipalities and 500 school districts. He retired from that position in October 2010.

Prior to his appointment as Pennsylvania’s Director of Homeland Security, Colonel Powers served 30 years as a career U.S. Army Special Forces officer retiring in August 2001. In his last assignment prior to retirement, Colonel Powers served as the Director of Special Operations Studies, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. As Director, Powers authored three core Special Operations courses and five Special Operations electives:

  • Special Operations
  • Civil Affairs
  • Psychological Operations
  • Civil-Military Operations
  • Special Operations Case Studies

Following military retirement, Colonel Powers served as a Special Operations consultant to KWG Consulting of Waterford, Virginia supporting the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Command, Control, Communications & Intelligence; an adjunct Faculty Instructor (resident & non-resident) with the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania; and a Senior Fellow with the Joint Special Operations University (JSOU), U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

As a JSOU Senior Fellow, Powers’ duties include supporting USSOCOM Capstone doctrine and strategic initiatives, objectives, programs and outreach activities through research and analysis, subject matter expertise, exercise support, symposia participation and other methods. In support of the Department of Defense’s Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program, Powers is a frequent seminar lecturer/facilitator with nations allied with the United States in the War on Terror.

As a Faculty Instructor with the US Army War College and Senior Fellow with the JSOU, he has authored:

National Assistance and Civil-Military Operations: The Gap in Professional Military Education” (US Army War College, March 1996)

“Civil-Military Operations and Professional Military Education,” (JSOU Press, May 2006)

Filling Special Operations Gaps with Civilian Expertise” (JSOU Press, December 2006)

Shaping Operations: Special Operations Forces as a National Enabler” (Canadian Defence Academy Press, 2011)

Coauthor, “Civil Affairs: A Function of Command” (Military Review, (U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 1995)

Other Special Operations-related assignments include command and staff assignments in the United States, Republic of Korea, the Middle East, Africa, and Germany.

He holds degrees from the University of Alabama (Bachelor of Arts, German, 1969) and Shippensburg University (Masters of Public Administration, 1996) as well as being a graduate of numerous military schools and courses.