Sep 19, 2018
Colonel Russ Thaden
Military Intelligence

Our program this week is Rotarian and retired Army Colonel Russ Thaden. The Colonel's experise is in Military Intelligence with an emphasis on Russia, a lot of years of service in Europe, and quite a few operational tours of duty in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans. He speaks at his Rotary club about every 6 months, so his presentation routinely changes. Most recently he's discussed the Russian attack on the US elections, the Iranian nuclear program, the North Korean nuclear weapons program, and the situation in Syria and Iraq.  

Colonel Russell Thaden retired from the Army in 2004 after 34 years as an intelligence officer.  He originally served in the Army as a Russian linguist and more than half of his career was focused on intelligence gathering and monitoring of the Soviet Union and Russia.  He has degrees in Russian language and European Area Studies focused on Russia.

He spent a combined total of 5 years deployed to various theaters of war from 1990 through 2009.  He is probably the only US intelligence officer ever to serve as chief of intelligence in three different theaters of war.  His final operational deployments were as chief of intelligence for NATO’s Kosovo Force, as deputy chief of intelligence for US Army V Corps during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and as chief of intelligence and senior US officer in 2003-04 as NATO took over the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. 

After retiring from active duty, he returned to Iraq for two tours of duty as a senior Army civilian (1-Star general equivalent) as the deputy intelligence chief for US and Coalition forces in 2006 and again in 2008-09.  He was the acting intelligence chief for several weeks in February 2006 when violence exploded after the Samara mosque bombing. 

While not deployed, he worked at the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas as an Assistant Professor of Joint and Multinational Operations.  He instructed officers attending a graduate level course in military operations with a focus on the strategic and operational levels of war.