Jim Cardoso

Jim Cardoso, Profile Image

Jim Cardoso
Senior Director


Full Profile

I'm the Senior Director for the University of South Florida’s Global and National Security Institute, assuming this role in July 2022. I direct all aspects of the build-up and daily operations of GNSI. I also assist the Executive Director in formalizing the mission, vision and priorities for GNSI, while formulating the strategy for our first five years.

Before coming to GNSI, I was Senior Manager for CAE, which specializes in modeling and simulation for the Department of Defense. Previously, I served 30 years in the U.S. Air Force, the majority in special operations command, staff and operational roles, retiring as a Colonel. My last Air Force assignment was Professor of Aerospace Studies and Commander of the Air Force ROTC detachment at USF, from 2014-2018.

I retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2018 as a Colonel, after a 30-year career as an officer and pilot. I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy, and master’s degrees in Strategic Studies from National Defense University and in Aviation Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.


Getting to Know Your GNSI Team

Flashback to 10 years old: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Baseball player for the Philadelphia Phillies. It was not until later I caught the "service" and "pilot" bugs.

What's the most "interesting" thing you've done that not many people know about?
I have to point to two events that, outside my marriage and children, shaped my life more than anything else. In 1999 I led the helicopter rescue of the F-117 Stealth fighter pilot shot down over Serbia, for which I was awarded the Silver Star. In 2004 I was selected as initial cadre for the CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, and as the commander of the Air Force's first CV-22 squadron.

Favorite musician/genre of music?
When I'm listening to something, it's normally a podcast, focused on current events, strategic topics, science, history, or faith. However, having been a 20-something in the 80's, when I do listen to music it's classic rock and likely The Eagles will be in there somewhere.

Where are you originally from? What was your first job?
I grew up in Cherry Hill, NJ, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. My first job (aside from paper route and short stint in fast-food) in high school was with a roofing company.

What books are you currently reading?
"A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking; "Carnage and Culture" by Victor Davis Hansen; "One Hundred Victories: Special Ops and the Future of American Warfare" by Linda Robinson; "Return of the God Hypothesis" by Stephen C. Meyer.

What's your favorite sport, team, athlete or "thing" where you could be President of the Fan Club?
Rugby! Played in college and occasionally after. Not a well-known sport in the U.S. but I love the team focus and camaraderie like no sport I've been involved in.

Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me...
Church. But on Saturdays, I'll be flying (general aviation), snorkeling, or yard work as part of never-ending home upkeep.

When is your birthday? 
December 18.