David Oakley

David Oakley, GNSI Academic Director

David Oakley
Academic Director


This is my first role at USF, having started with GNSI in October 2023. I oversee GNSI’s academic programs/activities, including the establishment of a master's program and a fellowship program. I also interface with the broader academic/research network across the USF system, key partners in USCENTCOM, USSOCOM, the military services, and other academic partners.

I served in the U.S. Army as a field artillery officer and strategist, in the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) National Clandestine Service/Directorate of Operations as a Staff Operations Officer (SOO), and as a contractor at the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center. My last assignment in the U.S. Army was as an assistant professor at National Defense University’s College of International Security Affairs in Washington. Prior to GNSI, I was an associate professor at Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) in Tampa. I am a Visiting Research Fellow with the King's Centre for the Study of Intelligence at King's College-London and I am on the editorial boards for Intelligence and National Securityand InterPopulum: Journal of Irregular Warfare and Special Operations. My book, Subordinating Intelligence: The DoD/CIA Post-Cold War Relationship, was published by the University Press of Kentucky in 2019/2022.

My education includes a Ph.D. in Security Studies from Kansas State University, an MPA from the University of Oklahoma, a Master of Military Arts and Science (MMAS) from the Army's School of Advanced Military Studies, an MMAS from the Army's Command and General Staff College, and a BA from Pittsburg State University


Get to Know Your GNSI Team

Flashback to 10 years old: What did you want to be when you grew up?
NBA basketball player.  I then realized there was not much need for a short guard who is a poor shooter and has a single-digit vertical leap.

What's the most "interesting" thing you've done that not many people know about?
In college, I won pie-eating and chicken wing-eating contests.

Favorite musician, genre of music?
I have an eclectic taste ranging from rock, to rap, to country (my karaoke repertoire is diverse). I especially like 1990s music like Gin Blossoms, Bare Naked Ladies, Oasis, Counting Crows, and Better than Ezra.

Where are you originally from? What was your first job?
I was born in Orange, California, and raised in Wichita, Kansas.  My first job was at an auction (I also worked at a hamburger restaurant and a grocery store in high school).

Books you're currently reading?
A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan's Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them by Timothy Egan; Crown, Cloak, and Dagger: The British Monarchy and Secret Intelligence from Victoria to Elizabeth II by Richard J. Aldrich and Rory Cormac; Empire by Invitation: William Walker and Manifest Destiny in Central America by Michael Gobat; The Lumumba Plot: The Secret History of the CIA and a Cold War Assassination by Stuart A. Reid (on audiobook--can't take credit for reading it:)

Favorite sport, team, athlete or "thing" you could be President of the Fan Club?
I love to watch soccer and college football. My favorite English football team is West Ham. I root for a couple of different college teams—Pittsburg State Gorillas, University of Oklahoma, and Kansas State.  I am now also a USF sports fan! (Editor's note: Darn right you are!)

Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me...
Hanging out with my family at home or on my way to a soccer match.

When's your birthday?
January 8