Dr. Wray R. Johnson is an award winning author, lecturer, and former special operations officer currently serving as Professor of Military History at the U.S. Marine Corps School of Advanced Warfighting (SAW), Marine Corps University. Prior to this post, Dr. Johnson was Professor of Strategic Studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College (CSC). In Academic Year 2010-11 he received the Dr. Elihu Rose Award for Teaching Excellence for Marine Corps University.
Dr. Johnson retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2001 upon reaching the grade of Colonel. His terminal assignment in the Air Force was Professor of Military History at the School of Advanced Airpower Studies, an elite institution dedicated to educating future airpower strategists. Prior to that assignment, Dr. Johnson was the Senior Defense Advisor to the Director of the United States Information Agency (USIA) in Washington, D.C. In that capacity he was responsible for issues of mutual import between USIA and the Department of Defense and was responsible for strategic psychological operations worldwide, garnering accolades from the White House and the Secretary of Defense for his efforts to integrate public diplomacy and military information operations in furtherance of national security and foreign policy objectives (and for which he received the Defense Superior Service Medal in 1998).
From 1991 to 1995, Dr. Johnson was instrumental in the design, creation, and operations of the first-ever Air Force squadron dedicated to foreign internal defense, the 6th Special Operations Squadron, at Hurlburt Field, Florida. During that time he conducted counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, and counter-drug missions throughout Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. Other, previous assignments include a stint on the faculty of the USAF Special Operations School, the Air Force Office of Antiterrorism in the Pentagon, and as a junior officer he led the largest combat arms training and maintenance unit in the Air Force.
Dr. Johnson received his baccalaureate degree with Highest Honors from Southwest Texas State University and was commissioned as a distinguished graduate of Air Force ROTC. He completed his Ph.D. in American History at Florida State University, concentrating on the American military experience in limited and unconventional warfare. In his current academic post, he leads seminars on military theory and history, strategy and policy, airpower, operational art, and small wars topics, among others. Dr. Johnson is a former adjunct professor with National Defense University’s School for National Security Executive Education, leading seminars on terrorism and counterterrorism. Dr. Johnson is also a distinguished lecturer and former adjunct professor at the Air Force Special Operations School, lecturing on insurgency and counterinsurgency, terrorism, psychological operations, and cultural factors in irregular warfare. In 2000, Dr. Johnson received the Major General John R. Alison Special Operations Educator of the Year award for the school. Dr. Johnson was also an adjunct professor for American Military University for almost 20 years, directing graduate level courses on military theory, air warfare, and special operations topics. He continues to lecture regularly within the Department of Defense and the interagency and has lectured at a variety of other institutions, including the Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre, the Canadian Royal Military College, the Swedish National Defence College, the Norwegian Defence Command and Staff College, the Colombian War College, Joint Special Operations University, and the US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.
Dr. Johnson has served as a special consultant to several international corporations as well as to several federal and state agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Asian Organized Crime) and the Georgia State Human Relations Commission. While on active duty, Dr. Johnson was regarded as the USAF expert on cultural factors in irregular warfare.
Dr. Johnson is the author of numerous book reviews, conference papers, and peer-reviewed articles on a variety of topics (one of which received the Ira Eaker award from Aerospace Power Journal regarding aviation in Foreign Internal Defense) as well as two books: Vietnam and American Doctrine for Small Wars(2001) and Airpower in Small Wars: Fighting Insurgents and Terrorists (2003). His third book, Biplanes and Bandits: US Marine Corps Aviation in the Small Wars Era, 1915-1935, is due to be published in the Spring of 2018 by the University Press of Kentucky.
Dr. Johnson is widely traveled, particularly in Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.