Wednesday, May 9, 2012

APSU Military History Alum earns prestigious fellowship with customs and ... - Clarksville Leaf Chronicle

Last year, Maj. Paul Witkowski of the United States Army was stationed on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, trying to keep enemy combatants and supplies from passing through the region. It was a tricky assignment, given the province’s mountainous terrain and the absence of a fence or other obstruction between the two countries.

Later this summer, he’ll take what he learned in that war zone to Washington, D.C., where he’ll spend a year with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency as part of an Interagency Exchange Program fellowship. But there’s another item on Witkowski’s resume, in addition to his experience in Afghanistan, which he believes helped him earn the distinguished assignment â€" the Master of Arts degree in military history he earned from Austin Peay State University.

“I did the security studies concentration at Austin Peay, and I think that was definitely a feather in my cap for the application,” he said.

The APSU M.A. in military history offers an optional certificate in security studies, which requires students to take six graduate courses that have current military applications, Dr. Dewey Browder, chair of the APSU Department of History and Philosophy, said. Those classes include “The Cold War I: 1945-1960,” “The Cold War II: 1960-1991,” “The Battle for God: Jihad, Herem and Other Theologies of War and Peace,” “The Military in Nontraditional Roles,” “Special Operations Perspectives” and “Unconventional Warfare in History.”

“Dr. (Christos) Frentzos had great classes on the cold war,” Witkowski said. “Also, the unconventional warfare class was geared toward terrorism and national security, with a historical perspective.”

Witkowski will draw on the knowledge he gained from these classes during the next year at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency.

“I’m very excited about it,” he said. “I’ll look at synchronizing their assets a little better. I’ll be headquartered out of Washington, D.C., but by trade I’m an infantry officer, so hopefully I’ll get out in the field.”

The Interagency Fellowship Program is open to exceptional Army captains and majors, with the intent of increasing collaboration and interoperability between the military and government agencies.

For more information on the APSU M.A. in military history, with an optional security studies certificate, contact the APSU Department of History and Philosophy at 221-7919.

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