Dr. Brian A. Maher is the 4th President of the Joint Special Operations University (JSOU), MacDill AFB, Florida. JSOU was activated in September 2000 as a direct reporting activity of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), a global combatant command that synchronizes special operations planning and provides fully capable Special Operations Forces (SOF) to support our Nation’s interests. JSOU prepares SOF to shape the future strategic environment by providing specialized joint professional military education, developing SOF specific undergraduate and graduate level curriculum and by fostering special operations research, analysis and outreach. Dr. Maher serves as the senior advisor to the Commander, USSOCOM on joint SOF education and represents the command at key Department of Defense education counsels.
A native of Brooklyn, NY, Dr. Maher graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1970. He later earned a Masters in Business Administration and attended the Air Force Institute of Technology, receiving an M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering. In 2005, he completed his Doctorate of Education at the University of West Florida, specializing in distance learning. A life-long special operator, Dr. Maher was assigned to a variety of Special Operations units and has commanded at several levels. His academic credentials include assignment to the faculty of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Commandant of the USAF Special Operations School, and Vice President of the Joint Special Operations University. He was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in June 2007.
His key joint assignments were as air operations staff officer in the newly formed USSOCOM at MacDill AFB, Florida, participating in command-level planning for Operation JUST CAUSE; and commanding the Joint Special Operations Air Component at Fort Bragg, NC, where he participated in Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, conducting SOF operations from aboard the USS America (CV-66). While in academic assignments, he maintained his operational credentials by serving as JSOTF TWO commander, San Vito, Italy; deploying as Director, Special Operations Liaison Element to Joint Task Force-Southwest Asia during early operations in Iraq and served as Chief of Staff to a key Special Operations Joint Task Force in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM at Bagram AB, Afghanistan. Colonel Maher retired from active military duty on 1 July 2000 after 30 years of service as a command pilot with over 5100 flying hours.
Following military retirement, Dr. Maher began his career in government civilian service where he was instrumental in JSOU’s early development. In 2007, he was appointed as JSOU President and launched a strategic initiative to re-shape the university into a globally recognized and accredited institution. He established the Joint SOF Senior Enlisted Academy, re-located the university from Hurlburt Field to MacDill AFB, expanded international engagement programs, and initiated a postgraduate curriculum accepted by major civilian universities. Culminating this vision, he led the planning for and completion of a new academic facility on MacDill AFB, positioning JSOU to begin an era of academic excellence in a dedicated, high tech building specifically designed for 21st century learning.
1970 Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
1979 Master's degree in business administration, Oklahoma City University
1979 Master of Science degree in aeronautical engineering, Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson, Air Force Base, Ohio
2005 Doctorate of Education, University of West Florida, Pensacola
2000 - June 2007, Vice President, Joint Special Operations University, Hurlburt Field, Fla.
June 2007 - July 2010, President, Joint Special Operations University, Hurlburt Field, Fla.
August 2010 - present, President, Joint Special Operations University, MacDill AFB, Fla.
(Current as of March 2016)