Brent D. Ziarnick

Senior Fellow in Defense Studies

Areas Of Expertise

  • Defense Technology
  • Military Innovation
  • Science And Technology
  • U.S. National Security Strategy

Affiliated Programs

Brent D. Ziarnick is a Senior Fellow in Defense Studies at the American Foreign Policy Council and a visiting assistant professor in the US Space Force Officer Professional Military Education program at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Dr. Ziarnick studies the nexus between commercial and military space efforts with a focus on whole-of-nation space development. He has written three books, including Developing National Power in Space and To Rule the Skies, a Cold War biography of Air Force General Thomas S. Power.  His book 21st Century Power: Strategic Superiority for the Modern Era won the Air Power History Book of the Year award from the Air Force Historical Foundation.

Dr. Ziarnick is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, where he spent 20 years as a space operations officer in both active duty and reserve statuses. In the service, Lt Col Ziarnick served as a Global Positioning System engineer and tactician, a deployed space control officer, an Air Operations Center planner and strategist, a Professional Military Education instructor, and a reserve space operations squadron commander. Lt Col Ziarnick is a distinguished graduate of Air Command and Staff College and a graduate of the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies. 

In civilian life, Dr. Ziarnick was an operations engineer for the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, where he launched three rockets and helped design Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built inland commercial spaceport and host to Virgin Galactic suborbital space tourism operations. As an assistant professor at Air Command and Staff College, Dr. Ziarnick was chief architect and inaugural director of the Schriever Space Scholars concentration, the first year-long, space-centric professional military education curriculum in the United States.

A 2003 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Dr. Ziarnick received his master’s degree in Space Systems Engineering from the University of Colorado–Colorado Springs, a doctorate in Economic Development from New Mexico State University, and a doctorate in Military Strategy from the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies.