Watson welcomes largest-ever cohort of military fellows

The Watson Institute recently welcomed a new cohort to its Military Fellows Program for the 2023-2024 academic year. The six new fellows will spend the next year immersed in Watson's scholarly community, engaging with students and faculty, taking classes, giving special lectures, attending seminars and conducting research.

The Watson Institute's Military Fellows Program recently welcomed six new fellows, the largest-ever cohort for the program. Watson Director Edward Steinfeld said, "We are very excited to welcome this year's Military Fellows cohort, an exceptionally talented group with expertise across a wide array of disciplines." Steinfeld explained the rationale behind the program's expansion, "The increased size of the cohort will provide additional opportunities to integrate the fellows into the Institute's teaching and research, allowing our students, faculty and post-docs to reap the benefits of their experience and perspectives. The larger cohort also underscores Watson's growing role in providing lifelong learning to dedicated public servants, including across the armed services branches."

The fellowship program, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York since its inception in 2021, offers select military officers the opportunity to spend one year immersed in Watson's scholarly community. Fellows audit graduate-level courses, engage in policy-related seminars, and participate in research working groups with faculty, students and policy practitioners. This year's cohort includes two professors from the United States Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, as well as officers from the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force. 

The Military Fellows program provides a dynamic learning experience for the fellows, while at the same time enriching Brown University with the fellows' knowledge, expertise and unique perspectives. Program Director and Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs David Polatty said, "We are thrilled that the program has grown to include six impressive fellows, and we are especially excited that — for the first time — the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy are represented in the cohort."

We are thrilled that the program has grown to include six impressive fellows, and we are especially excited that — for the first time — the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy are represented in the cohort.

David Polatty Director, Military Fellows Program
David Polatty

Major(P) Semin Ahn, Republic of Korea Army

Before beginning his fellowship, Ahn worked at the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army Headquarters for the Army chief of staff. He is also currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Chungnam National University in Korea. He is a 2007 graduate of the Korean Military Academy who has served as an Infantry Officer, platoon leader and company commander. He has two master's degrees, one from Korean National Defense University in military strategy and another from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in national security affairs. 

Semin said that through the Military Fellows program, he wants to "study ways to alleviate the deepening security dilemma in East Asia as well as research the direction in which the U.S.-ROK alliance should move in the future."

Maj. Kingslee Gourrick, U.S. Marine Corps

A naturalized U.S. citizen, Gourrick was born in Guyana and moved to the U.S. just before starting ninth grade. Partly out of a deep sense of patriotism, he signed up to become a Marine at the age of 17 on a delayed entry program. While serving, he earned a B.A. in professional aeronautics with an emphasis in management and aviation safety and an M.S. in engineering management, with an emphasis on systems engineering, both from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Currently, Gourrick is a degree candidate in Brown's Master of Public Affairs program. Before coming to Watson he served as an aviation maintenance officer and logistician. Gourrick has held key leadership positions including squadron operations officer and deputy senior engineering officer. During his 25-year career, he has served around the globe — Guam, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Diego Garcia, Seychelles, Kenya, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Dubai, Iraq, Afghanistan, Norway, the United Kingdom and Germany — and has received multiple Navy and Marine Corps Commendations and Achievement Awards. 

Gourrick said that one of the issues he is most interested in addressing is the increasing level of political polarization he sees at home. "As a member of the military it's my job not to take sides," said Gourrick. "When I put on the uniform, I do it to protect all Americans, not just certain kinds of Americans or people on the left or on the right," he said. "We're all Americans. That's the bottom line. And I think that aspect of democracy needs to be brought back to the forefront of what we do."

Cmdr. Brian Hasse, U.S. Navy

Hasse is a military professor of national security affairs teaching foreign policy analysis at the U.S. Naval War College. He is a career naval aviator with over 3,000 hours in the FA-18. His deployments included support of numerous operations including Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Inherent Resolve. Most recently, he served as the 62nd Commanding Officer of the "Fighting Redcocks" of Strike Fighter Squadron 22 in Lemoore, California. He has also served in multiple staff assignments, including a tour at the United States Northern Command, where he advised senior leaders on risk management strategies to enhance the resiliency of critical defense infrastructure and networks. Hasse earned a B.A. in social sciences from the University of Southern California and an M.A. in defense and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College.

Upon his arrival at Watson Hasse said, "As a believer in the practitioner-scholar model, I'm hoping to bring the skillsets I've learned as a career Naval Aviator, combined with my current teaching experience at the U.S. Naval War College, to best serve the students and faculty at Brown. I'm incredibly grateful for this unique opportunity and am looking forward to engaging with Watson students, faculty and post-docs in the year ahead."

Lt. Col. Melissa J. Milner, U.S. Air Force

Milner is a career Public Affairs Officer with the U.S. Air Force. She recently served as the deputy director of public affairs at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, and previously served as the commander of the 2nd Audiovisual Squadron at Hill AFB, Utah, and as the public affairs advisor and speechwriter for the Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Milner holds a B.A. in journalism from Louisiana Tech University. In addition, she earned an M.S. in airpower strategy and technology integration from the U.S. Air Force's Air University and an M.S. in international relations and conflict resolution from American Military University.
Milner said she is honored to join this year's cohort of military fellows and the truly amazing team of faculty, postdoctoral fellows, staff and students at Brown.

"I'm incredibly passionate about this opportunity to learn from everyone, listen to different perspectives and connect with my experiences in the U.S. Air Force. I'm fascinated by the things I've already seen at Brown and see so many opportunities to collaborate, and I'm equally excited to take those valuable exchanges back into our military communities. I hope the relationships we develop here continue to grow our civilian and military connections," Milner said.

Cmdr. Daniel Post, U.S. Navy

Post is a permanent military professor assigned to the Strategy and Policy department at the U.S. Naval War College. His research focuses on nuclear strategy and policy, deterrence, escalation dynamics, limited nuclear war and conflict termination. Post conducts experimental survey work centered on nuclear deterrence strategies and escalation dynamics. He is a former Navy helicopter pilot and his most recent assignment was as nuclear strike advisor and the chief of strike advisor training in the Global Operations Center at U.S. Strategic Command. Post received a B.S. with honors in mathematics from the U.S. Naval Academy, an M.A. with highest distinction in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College, an M.A. in political science from Brown University and a Ph.D. in political science from Brown University.

Post said he "hopes to continue to refine my research agenda and existing projects while taking advantage of the unique educational and networking opportunities available through Watson during my fellowship year." He added that he was also looking forward to attending classes, giving guest lectures and offering some  "lectures of opportunity" to the wider Brown community.

Col. John E. Turner, U.S. Army

Turner comes to Watson after having last served as the chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation Support Division in the U.S. European Command J5. His previous assignments include tank platoon leader, scout platoon leader and troop executive officer in the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Stewart, Georgia. Turner served as a battalion plans officer in the 1st Battalion, 13th Armored Regiment during a deployment to Iraq. This was followed by an assignment as a company commander in both the 3rd Brigade, 1st Armor Division and 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas, and as a planner at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Honolulu, Hawaii. He also served at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul, Afghanistan and U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany. Turner holds a B.A. in biology from Carson Newman University and a Master's of Military Arts and Sciences from the School of Advanced Military Studies. He also holds a Master's of Adult Education from Kansas State University.

Turner said, "I am excited to join the community at Brown University and become a part of an amazing educational environment. This year will provide me an opportunity to learn from the faculty and students as well as the greater community while sharing some of my experiences from the military."