Announced today: To the USMMA Community: I’m pleased to announce that John R. Ballard, Ph.D., has been selected as the new Academic Dean and Provost. Dr. Ballard will visit the Academy later this week and will meet with key leadership in preparation for his permanent arrival later in September. Dr. Ballard brings rich academic and leadership experience to the Dean’s office. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy (B.S.), California State University, Dominquez Hills (M.A.), and The Catholic University of America (Ph.D.). He began his career as a Marine Infantry Officer. He commanded at the platoon, company, battalion, and group levels, in both the active and reserve components, served in peace operations in Haiti, and commanded Marines, Soldiers, and Sailors in combat during the Iraq War. His academic experience includes service at the Joint Forces Staff College, New Zealand’s Massey University, the Naval War College, and as the Dean of Faculty and Academic Programs at the National War College. He was also the founding Dean of the National Defense College in the United Arab Emirates. Most recently, he served as the Vice President for Veteran’s and Military Partnerships and Director of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. He is a published author and has lectured and presented seminars around the world on matters of national security, leadership, and military history. He has published six books and is awaiting publication of his latest work, the co-authored book, National Security Education: Developing Strategic Leaders for 21st Century Security Challenges. Dr. Ballard has been recognized with a Distinguished Writing Award from the Army Historical Foundation and a Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Medal. His military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, and the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star medals for service in combat during the Iraq War. He is married to Dr. Rose Cardarelli, an international humanitarian and non-governmental organization representative to the United Nations in New York City. They have one daughter and one granddaughter. We also would like to extend our deepest thanks to Interim Academic Dean, Captain Preston DeJean, who stepped in to the interim position and has served there throughout the search and selection of the Dean. His even-keeled leadership and professional example were instrumental in the recently completed reaccreditation efforts with Middle States, and his role in the development and publication of the education priority in the new USMMA strategic plan was unparalleled. After a sabbatical period, Captain DeJean will return to his full-time faculty position in the Marine Transportation Department in Academic Year 2019.