Lt Col Shanks was a visiting scholar and national defense fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. He previously served as the provost of the U.S. Air Force’s Air Mobility Training Center and as commander of the 97th Training Squadron. He has served in several other command and staff positions, including as the director of strategic communications and speechwriter to the Commander of U.S. Transportation Command, as chief of executive development, Air Mobility Command and as air mobility division chief, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. He received his B.A. in aviation management from Ohio State University, an M.A. in unconventional warfare from American Military University and holds professional certificates from Saint Louis University and Georgetown University. An Air Force active duty officer and command pilot, he has flown more than 3,000 hours and 500 combat hours in the C-17 and C-21 aircraft and participated in combat operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and East Africa. In 2014, he graduated from the Air Force’s elite Joint Mobility Fellow program, where he authored ground-breaking research into the future use of unmanned and autonomous airlift systems in tactical environments.