Colonel Brian Cook is the Director of Theater Strategy at the U.S. Army War College where he instructs and advises future strategic leaders for the Army and the joint force. In addition to his theater strategy and campaigning portfolio, COL Cook instructs in the War College’s Middle East program on Turkey and Turkish affairs. He is a career armor cavalryman who’s had the opportunity to plan, coordinate, and synchronize joint and multinational operations at the strategic level in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
With 27 years of service, COL Cook has a wealth of knowledge dealing with diverse teams and challenges in some of the most complex operational environments in the world. A graduate of the United States Military Academy, Defense Language Institute (Turkish), Turkish Army’s Command and General Staff College, Army’s Command and General Staff College, and the Naval War College, COL Cook has experience across the defense enterprise.
In addition to his operational tours in support of Operations Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and New Dawn, he commanded at every level from platoon to battalion. COL Cook’s experience ranges from synchronizing a diverse operational scenario at our U.S. Army National Training to managing strategic resource portfolios in the Pentagon as a member of the Army Staff. He is a recognized expert in strategy, operational design, joint strategic planning, and Turkey and Turkish affairs.
Keith Smith is currently a criminology faculty member at the University of Lynchburg and a former U.S. Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) having served numerous domestic and foreign assignments including tactical teams, special operations, instructing, and mentoring foreign security forces. Mr. Smith worked and trained with the U.S. Coast Guard's International Training and Drug Interdiction teams in South America along with working with navies of several Latin American countries. In addition to the DEA, he served as an Air Marshal immediately after the September 2001 attacks and spent five years as a special agent with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Investigations as a member of the U.S. Foreign Service conducting investigations in numerous countries.
After retiring from the Foreign Service, Mr. Smith spent six years as an International Operational Advisor with the U.S. Army Asymmetric Warfare Group providing services to the U.S. military, foreign coalition military partners, and host nation security forces of various nations including Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, and Afghanistan.
During his career, Mr. Smith has worked in over 40 countries for the U.S. Government as both an employee and a consultant. Before his work with the federal government, he served nine years as a local police officer in both Portsmouth, VA and New York City, NY. His professional service began with the U.S. Marine Corps, initially as a member of the 2nd Marine Division, and later as a member of the White House Staff providing presidential security at Camp David. Mr. Smith holds a Masters in Criminal Justice from Boston University, a BS in Governmental Administration and minor in Political Science from Christopher Newport University, and is a graduate of the Defense Language Institute (Spanish).