Joseph Schafer Ph.D

Information Strategy and Disruptive Technology Department Chair

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Dr. Joseph H. Schafer joined the NDU faculty in 2016. He renewed the strategic leadership and cyberspace experiences curricula and serves as the Director of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) / Cyberspace Infrastructure Leadership Development Program (LDP). CIC faculty elected him to the Faculty Advisory Council and the FAC elected him as inaugural Chair from 2017-2020. Dr. Schafer served as Chair of the Leadership and Strategy Department and now serves as Chair of the Information Strategy and Disruptive Technology Department.


Earlier as a Professor at the Defense Systems Management College of the Defense Acquisition University he developed and delivered highly rated Cybersecurity and Cloud for Executives modules to the most senior industry and government acquisition executive students. He is a strategy-technology partner focused on cyber ventures and has served as CTO for a health IT startup.


His Fortune 500 executive experience includes Dell and L-3 Communications. At Dell he created strategies to enable clients to more intelligently and securely leverage Cloud and Big Data analytics. As Vice President at L-3, he won and ran the White House CIO business for the Executive Office of the President of the United States and for the Pentagon.


A career Soldier, Dr. Schafer’s final mission was reinvigorating a failing Congressional-interest software development effort supporting DoD’s $2B annual global relocation portfolio for the US Transportation Command. Prior to that he architected solutions and secured $300M for capital investments and led an international startup team of 1,000+ to deliver urgent and sustainable enterprise IT and telecommunications systems in combat for the US Central Command.


Dr. Schafer served three years in Korea and over three years in combat for Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Iraq. In Iraq he was awarded the Combat Action Badge, Bronze Star, and Legion of Merit. He is Airborne and Air Assault qualified and an honor graduate of the US Army Ranger School.

He teaches and has advised students at several universities including Georgetown, George Washington, George Mason, and the United States Military Academy at West Point. Industry certifications include Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Program Management Professional (PMP), and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH).


Dr. Schafer’s education includes a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (double major) from West Point, a MS in Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence & Software Engineering) and PhD in Computer Science (Usability & Cyber) from the George Washington University. He graduated from the US Army Command and General Staff Course (CGSC) and the Program Manager Course at the Defense Systems Management College (DSMC). Joseph has a MA in Strategy from the Naval War College and an MBA from the University of Virginia, Darden Graduate School of Business.


Current research focuses on the national security and strategy implications of information power and foreign malign influence in cyberspace and strategically disruptive emerging technologies, particularly innovations enabling asymmetric advantages among great powers. Recent examples: The Influence of Information Power Upon the Great Game1 in Cyberspace and a February 2020 Keynote at the 15th International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security: Russia and China: Information Power and Malign Influence in Cyberspace.


Dr. Joseph Schafer lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife, Dr. Maureen Schafer. They have six adult children.


1 The Great Game refers to a 19th Century period of Great Power Competition between the British Empire and the Russian Empire across the spectrum of conflict and instruments of power. It serves as an analogy for our current uncertain period of balancing ends, ways, means, risks, resourcing, and innovation. These avenues of research may help us avoid Thucydides’ Trap so that the rise of China and the strategic logic and fear that this may instill may not make war inevitable.