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U.S. Military Leaders Program

Founded in 2019, JINSA’s U.S. Military Leaders Program educates elite, active duty U.S. military officers about Israel’s unique security challenges and the importance of a robust U.S.-Israel security relationship.

The cornerstone of the program is an eight-day trip to Israel for up to 30 military officers who come from highly selective colleges and educational programs within their respective services and are on career tracks to become generals or admirals.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and JINSA CEO Makovsky Address JINSA 2020 USMLP Delegation in Jerusalem

U.S. Military Leaders Program Participants

Class of 2023

Senior Mentor: Lt Gen (ret.) Scott Howell, USAF
Major Tyler Johnson, USA
Major Devan Praymous, USA
Major Chandler Rochelle, USA
Major Schuyler VanBuren, USA
Major Brian Wittmeyer, USA
Captain Nicholas Azzolini, USA
Captain Weston Clarke, USA
Captain Liam Kozain, USA
Captain Sara Sbarbaro, USA

Captain Anthony Williams, USA
Colonel Ryan Lynch, USMC
Lieutenant Colonel Stephen DeTrinis, USMC
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Murray, USMC
Major Dennis Dunbar, USMC
Major Gordon Emmanuel, USMC
Major Casey Jenkins, USMC
Major Molly Muldoon, USMC
Major James O’Shaughnessy, USMC

Major Lauren Serrano, USMC
Major Jessica Kaster, USMC
Commander Richard Pyfrom, USN
Commander Jake Rankinen, USN
Commander Grant Wanier, USN
Lieutenant Commander Leigh Tate, USN
Lieutenant Colonel Brian Epperson, USAF
Lieutenant Colonel Brad Haynes, USAF

Class of 2022

Senior Mentor: LTG (ret.) Raymond Palumbo, USA
Major Janill Castillo, USA
Major John (Jake) Conrad, USA
Major Sean Thomas, USA
Major Ryan Timmons, USA
Major John Tompkins, USA
Captain Kyle Garis, USA
Captain Chris Kieschnik, USA
Captain Sarah McFarland, USA
Captain David Williams, USA

Colonel (ret.) Michael Morris, PhD, USMC
Lieutenant Colonel Caleb Reed, USMC
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Savage, USMC
Major Jacob Godby, USMC
Major Ryan Hamilton, USMC
Major Eric Prentice, USMC
Major Mark Saville, USMC
Major Clark Smith, USMC
Major Shawn Wehrle, USMC

Commander Maxwell Bjerke, USN
Commander Donald Bryant, USN
Lieutenant Commander Matthew Bush, USN
Lieutenant Commander Stephen Walsh, USN
Colonel Nelson Rouleau, USAF
Colonel William Soto, USAF

Class of 2021

Senior Mentor: Lt Gen (ret.) Thomas Trask, USAF
Colonel Matthew Moakler, USA
Lieutenant Colonel Peter Norris, USA
Major David Blanton, USA
Major Chad Burnette, USA
Major Gabe Montoya, USA
Major Thad Morris, USA
Captain Aaron Bodine, USA
Captain Alexander Boroff, USA

Captain Patrick Glazebrook, USA
Captain Jared Kuntz, USA
Brigadier General Raymond Adams, USMC
Colonel Craig Wonson, USMC
Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Davis, USMC
Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Sandler, USMC
Captain Cory Howes, USN
Captain James Kitzmiller, USN

Commander David Beam, USN
Commander Matthew Farrell, USN
Commander Thomas Goudreau, USN
Commander Mark Lickteig, USN
Colonel Rhett Hierlmeier, USAF
Colonel Stew Welch, Jr., USAF
Lieutenant Colonel Edward Seibert, USAF
Major Stephanie Mitchell, USSF

Class of 2020

Senior Mentor: GEN (ret.) David Rodriguez, USA
Major Sadat Allhassan, USA
Lieutenant Colonel Scotty F. Boler, USA
Major Nicholas A. Costello, USA
Major Jeffrey C. Tolbert, USA
Captain Anthony A. Joyce, USA
Lieutenant Colonel Peter E. Ankney, USMC
Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Boada, USMC
Lieutenant Colonel Aaron C. Lloyd, USMC
Lieutenant Colonel Daniel W. Micklis, USMC
Lieutenant Colonel John Nash, USMC

Major Shawn Connor, USMC
Major Geoffrey S. Englund, USMC
Major Nathan Knowles, USMC
Major Tristan Murray, USMC
Major Robert Spodarek, USMC
Commander Jonathan L. Baron, USN
Commander Kevin Harrington, USN
Commander Daniel Kwiatkowski, USN
Commander Michael L. Peters, USN Reserves
Commander Aleksei Razsadin, USN

Colonel Edmund X. Loughran, USAF
Colonel Stewart J. Parker, USAF
Colonel James Peterson, USAF
Lieutenant Colonel Nishawn S. Smagh, USAF
Lieutenant Colonel William J. Clayton, USAF
Lieutenant Colonel James H. Dailey, USAF
Lieutenant Colonel Robert S. Smith, USAF
Major Christopher C. Campbell, USAF
Major Keith Griefer, USAF
Major Stephen R. Struber, USAF

Class of 2019

Senior Mentor: Gen (ret.) James Amos, USMC
Lt Col Jeffrey Brewer, USMC
Col David Brown, USA (Ret.)
Dr. Craig Bullis, USA
Capt. Matthew Culp, USN
Maj. Andrew Eckert, USMC
Capt. Rafael Facundo, USN

Maj. Jonathan Frerichs, USMC
Col Thomas Genter, USA
Col Jerad Harper, USA
Col. James Hewitt, USAF
Lt. Col. Shawn Keller, USA
Col. Matthew Lundgren, USMC
Lt Col Stephen Owen, USA

Congressman August Pfluger, USAF
Col Dustin Richards, USAF
Col Joseph Ringer, USAF
Col Aaron Walenga, USAF
Maj. Daniel Walker, USMC
Captain Derek Wessman, USN


“The JINSA trip really helped my understanding of the region.”

“The JINSA program really imparted the resolve, professionalism, and fortitude of the IDF in the face of a challenging security situation. Walking the ground, meeting the IDF, and experiencing some of the culture gave me a new perspective and continued respect for Israel. This was a once in a lifetime experience.”
2022 Program Participant

“The JINSA Military Leaders Program enhanced my understanding of regional security dynamics and relationships in ways I could not replicate by study alone. The immersive program balanced lectures, military interactions, industrial engagements, and cultural opportunities to provide a diverse and rewarding experience. I am a better military professional for having participated in this program and I look forward to continued interaction with JINSA.”
2022 Program Participant

“Over my 26-year military career year, many changes have taken place in the strategic security environment. These alterations have led to changes in the nature and potency of the threat facing Israel. The JINSA U.S. Military Leaders Program keystone eight-day trip to Israel provides U.S. military strategist and planners with a bespoke lens in which to view these security challenges. If you’re going to be a serious U.S. military strategist or planner and provide your best military advice you have to touch the terror tunnels; you need to meet with the young IDF soldiers who work on the Iron Dome; you need to talk to the Israeli citizens who rely on those Soldiers; you need to walk the diverse landscape, swim in the Mediterranean Sea, and experience the airspace. You need to experience the history to see a better future. Only then will your military strategy or plan really matter.”
2022 Program Participant

“The JINSA program and visit to Israel have given me a perspective on how powerful a nation can be when its members share a common sense of duty to contribute to its very existence. Interacting with the IDF and Israeli people, Jewish and non-Jewish, have demonstrated to me how much Israel is capable of and an example to the world.”
2021 Program Participant

“The JINSA U.S. Military Leaders Program provides a comprehensive and insightful view of the Israeli strategic perspective. We were immersed in the ancient history of the Jewish homeland, the modern history of the State of Israel, and the geopolitics of the region that contribute to Israel’s strategic challenges. We enjoyed exceptional access to the IDF from soldiers and generals alike who all spoke to us with candor and professionalism. It is clearer to me than ever why the U.S. and Israel share such a strong relationship culturally, ideologically, and strategically. And of course, the VIP treatment by JINSA turned a busy itinerary into a pleasurable experience.”
2021 Program Participant

“Understanding Israel’s unique strategic dilemmas in the context of their history, geography, and culture coupled with where they invest to maintain an edge has helped me better understand our own strategic choices and opportunities.”
2021 Program Participant

“The JINSA U.S. Military Leaders program was, without question, the best educational experience I have had in over 23years of military service. I gained a deep appreciation of the many and varied threats Israel faces on a daily basis and a concomitant understanding of the profound importance of the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship. The briefings by current and retired IDF officers, and the opportunity to talk with currently-serving IDF personnel, provided context to the threats with which Israel must contend and ideas for ways the U.S and Israel can work together to counter those threats. I was amazed at the professionalism and spirit of innovation displayed by the IDF. The program gave me a strong deep appreciation of the Israeli culture and world-view, and I walked away very impressed with the resilience of the Israeli people. The trip also greatly enhanced my understanding of the multi-millennial ties of the Jewish people to their homeland and the importance of countering the various narratives that seek to downplay those historical ties.”
2021 Program Participant

“Having studied the Middle East during my undergrad, and spending time in the region, I thought I understood the complexity of the issues facing Israel.However, being on the ground, walking the borders of Gaza, Lebanon, and the Golan Heights; speaking with Soldiers and civilians who live in a constant shadow of aggression; and experiencing the culture of the Israeli people, opened my eyes to the threat to their plight.Fighting for freedom and existence is a tangible reality for the IDF, not an abstract concept, as it is when Americans deploy to war.

I walk away with a connection to the Israeli people, and an appreciation for their successful struggle to maintain productive, fulfilling lives while living beneath an umbrella of hostility and hatred. Constant opposition would destroy most people, but against all odds, Israelis have used it to be refined into mentally, emotionally, physically stronger people. I hope to be able to instill in my fellow Soldiers and coworkers a renewed sense of duty and loyalty to American values as a result of this incredible experience.”
2021 Program Participant

“Israel believes that they face threats from multiple axes – the professionalism and proficiency of their armed forces stands as testament to their determination to face these threats.”
2020 Program Participant

“The professionalism and proficiency of the Israel Defense Forces ensures Israel is prepared for the many security challenges it faces. Our ability to better understand the strategic and operational challenges faced by Israel was greatly enhanced, while our appreciation for the Israeli people and their culture was significantly broadened.”
2020 Program Participant

“The opportunity to see the Israeli security challenge through the IDF’s eyes was invaluable and the immersion in the region’s rich culture and history was unparalleled to anything I learned or experienced through an American lens.”
2020 Program Participant

“There is no better way to understand the complexity of Israel’s security challenges than to walk its borders. However, engaging with our IDF hosts highlighted significance of our special relationship and shared vision.”
2020 Program Participant

“It was the best educational trip experience I have ever had in the US military.”
2019 Program Participant

“I thought I understood Israeli security issues…but it wasn’t until I stood on a border outpost overlooking Lebanon and Syria, that I could grasp the magnitude and urgency of defending against a determined enemy.”
USAF Lt Col, F22 Pilot

“Even after hundreds of combat hours in Syria, I didn’t understand how dangerous the Iranian threat is to Israeli national security until I visited Israel on the JINSA trip. This was hands-down the most educational trip in my 19-year career.”
USAF Lt Col, F22 Pilot

“It is impossible to understand Israeli national security without knowing Israelis. The JINSA trip allowed me to meet Israeli officers and officials and really understand how the culture and history have shaped the IDF.”
USAF Lt Col, F22 Pilot