Tad Schnaufer II, PhD

Dr. Tad Schaufer, II Profile Image

Tad Schnaufer II, Ph.D.
Strategy and Research Manager


Dr. Tad Schnaufer II is the Strategy and Research Manager at the University of South Florida’s Global and National Security Institute (GNSI). In this position, he oversees the planning and execution of GNSI conferences and events. Additionally, he manages the institute’s internal research and publication programs. He is the host of the “What’s Really Happening” Podcast with General (Ret) Frank McKenzie (USMC), and he has hosted several GNSI speaker series interviews.   

Outside of GNSI, Dr. Schnaufer serves in the Florida Army National Guard as an Infantry Officer. He graduated from the University of Florida in 2011, where he received his commission from Army ROTC. He has served in both line and airborne infantry units. From 2016-2017, he commanded Bravo Company 1-124 IN during its mission to secure Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. He has participated in two United States Southern Command Tradewinds Exercises in Barbados (2017) and Guyana (2021). In 2021, he deployed as a Battalion Tactical Group Advisor Team Leader in support of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine (JMTG-U). His unit was relocated from Ukraine to Germany just prior to the Russian invasion of February 2022. He finished this deployment serving on the Partner Force Liaison Team (PFLT) in eastern Poland. He is a graduate of Army Ranger, Airborne, Air Assault, and Pathfinder schools and the Combat Advisor Training Course (CATC). 

Dr. Schnaufer earned his Ph.D. in Security Studies from the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs (SPSIA) at the University of Central Florida. He earned a master’s degree in Global Affairs from New York University. 

Dr. Schnaufer has published a book chapter in “The Challenge to NATO: Global Security and the Atlantic Alliance” titled, NATO Burden Sharing in the Age of Hybrid Warfare. He has published articles in journals, including the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs and the Journal of Strategic Security. Dr. Schnaufer’ s research interests include alliance theory, NATO burden-sharing, hybrid warfare, and strategic competition.


Getting to Know Your GNSI Team

Flashback to 10 years old. What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a writer and still plan on being one. Got a few outlines ready. Authors I draw inspiration from include: Hemingway, Kakfa, Fitzgerald, Samuel Johnson, Jane Austen, Jay McInerney, David Mamet, and Homer.

What's the most "interesting" thing you've done that not many people know about?
I conducted interviews for my master's thesis around Ukraine in 2014 and 2015. Over a couple trips to Ukraine, I spent time in Kyiv, Dnipro, Mariupol, Odessa, and several smaller towns. 

Favorite musician/genre of music?
Erik Satie, Classical and Jazz

Where are you originally from? What was your first job?
I am from a small town in Pennsylvania. My first job was as a restaurant cook in an oyster bar.

What books are you currently reading?
"Ghost Fleet" by PW Singer and August Cole. "Napoleon" by Andrew Roberts. "Guns of August" by Barbara Tuchman.

What's your favorite sport, team, athlete or "thing" where you could be President of the Fan Club?
I am a runner by trade. I am always ready to hit the bricks.

Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me ...
The sun winks at me as it rises over the horizon. My hand anchors itself to the coffee cup resting on the lone cafe table situated in the middle of a mid-century Florida veranda. The black, bitter liquid compliments the sweet morning air. I reflect of the week past while looking to the week ahead.

When's your birthday?
March 30