The Institute of World Politics is pleased to welcome COL Brian J. Mennes as our newest U.S. Army War College Fellow. COL Mennes has served our country at home and abroad (he has deployed eight times), and looks forward to participating in the academic life of the Institute. He will be working with the Army War College and others to determine the nature and scope of his research assignment while with us at the Institute. His bio appears below.
COL Brian Mennes
Commander, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division
COL Brian Mennes graduated from The United States Military Academy and was commissioned as an Infantry Officer in May 1988. After attending the Infantry Officer Basic Course at Fort Benning GA., his first assignment was with the 7th Infantry Division (Light) at Fort Ord, CA, where he served as a Platoon Leader, a Support Platoon Leader, Logistics Officer for the 4th Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, and as the Detachment Executive Officer for the Division Long Range Surveillance Detachment, 107th Military Intelligence Battalion. During his time as a platoon leader, COL Mennes deployed in support of Operation Just Cause (Panama and to the Sinai as a part of the Multi-National Force and Observers).
Following the completion of the Infantry Officer Advanced Course at Fort Benning, he served as the Plans Officer for 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, and commanded Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Inf. Division (Republic of Korea). Following that Assignment the Mennes family returned to Fort Benning, GA., and joined the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment serving as the Battalion Adjutant, Assistant Operations Officer and Commander of Alpha Company. After completing the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth and obtaining a Masters in Military Art and Science, COL Mennes served as the Operations Officer for 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, and the Brigade Operations Officer for 325th AIR, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC. Remaining on Fort Bragg he transitioned to serve with the Joint Special Operations Command deploying as one of the primary Operational Planners in the J3 Plans Section for the initial invasions of both OEF (Afghanistan) and OIF (Iraq). Following three combat deployments with JSOC he returned to the 82nd Airborne Division as the 325th AIR Regimental Executive Officer during their deployment to OIF I (Iraq).
After his fourth deployment he was selected to become the Deputy Director, and later the Director, of the Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethics at West Point. In 2006, he returned to 82nd Airborne Division where he commanded the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, and deployed with them for 15 months to Afghanistan where they served as the ISAF Commander's Theater Tactical Force (Theater COIN Reserve). COL Mennes then commanded the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, after deploying with them to both Iraq and Afghanistan he assumed command of the 4th BCT, 82d Airborne Division and deployed with them to Kandahar in support of RC SOUTH during OEF X.
COL Mennes has been awarded the Legion of Merit (3), the NATO Meritorious Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal (5), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and has earned the Ranger Tab and the Master Parachutist Badge.
He and his wife Kellie attended High School together in Buffalo New York, have been married for 24 years and have three wonderful children, Ashley, 16, Haley, 14, and Jake, 11.
Directly Above: COL Mennes with members of the Unified Command Team Zharay Maiwand and BG Schweitzer.
Top Left: COL Mennes with some of the Troopers forward in Afghanistan.