Joseph J. Collins

Director, Center for Complex Operations, National Defense University

In August 2014, Dr. Joseph J. Collins became the Director of the Center for Complex Operations at National Defense University (NDU). The Center is a think tank that studies insurgency, counterinsurgency, stability operations, and humanitarian contingencies. Its focus is on whole of government responses. He joined NDU and the National War College faculty in 2004 as Professor of National Security Strategy. Prior to this assignment, Dr. Collins served for three years as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability Operations, the Pentagon’s senior civilian official for peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, and stabilization and reconstruction operations. From 1998-2001, he was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he did research on economic sanctions, military culture, and national security policy. In 1998, Dr. Collins retired from the U. S. Army as a Colonel after nearly 28 years of military service. His Army years were equally divided among infantry and armor assignments in the United States, South Korea, and Germany; teaching at West Point in the Department of Social Sciences; and a series of assignments in the Pentagon. His Washington assignments included service on the Army staff, the Joint Staff, and in the policy division of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Dr. Collins has also taught as adjunct faculty in the graduate divisions of Columbia University and Georgetown University. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and holds a doctorate in Political Science from Columbia University. He is also an honor graduate of the Army’s Command and General Staff College and holds a diploma from the National War College. His publications include books and articles on the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Operation Desert Storm, contemporary U.S. military culture, defense transformation, and homeland defense. His latest book is Understanding War in Afghanistan, published by the NDU Press in the summer of 2011. He and his team at NDU are hard at work on a book that will analyze the lessons learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.