COL Brian Mennes, USA
IWP USAWC Fellow, 2013
Fellow, United Kingdom Higher Command and Staff Course
Colonel Brian Mennes graduated from The United States Military Academy and was commissioned as an Infantry Officer in May 1988. During his first organizational assignment as a Lieutenant at Fort Ord, CA, he led a forty-man Infantry Platoon and served as Battalion Logistics Officer in the 7th Infantry Division. During this assignment, he deployed to Panama for Operation Just Cause, and as a peacekeeper to the Sinai Desert with the United Nations Multi-National Force (S) and Observers.
COL Mennes transferred to the Republic of Korea upon his promotion to Captain where he served as a Brigade Operations Planner and a Mechanized Company Commander. Following that he was selected to join the 3rd Ranger Battalion at Fort Benning, GA, where he served as Battalion Adjutant (human resources director), Assistant Operations Officer and Company Commander.
COL Mennes's promotion to Major led him to Fort Bragg, NC, where he served as Battalion and Brigade Operations Officer, 82nd Airborne Division before being assigned to the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), where he served as a primary Operational Planner for the unit's initial operations in Afghanistan, and as the lead planner for JSOC's operations during the Iraq campaign.
Following three combat deployments with JSOC, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and returned to the 82nd Airborne Division to serve as Brigade Executive Officer (XO), Second-in-Command and Chief of Staff, for a 3500-man task force in Baghdad, Iraq. Then in the summer 2004, Brian was appointed Deputy Director, and served as Director, of the Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic at West Point.
In 2006 COL Mennes returned to 82nd Airborne Division, where he commanded a 600-man Airborne Battalion and deployed to Afghanistan for fifteen-months, where they served as the ISAF Commander's Theater Tactical Force (COIN Reserve). He was then selected to return to Command 1st Ranger Battalion, Savannah Georgia and deployed with them to both Afghanistan and Iraq.
During his last duty assignment COL Mennes led the 3600 soldiers of the 4th Brigade, 82d Airborne Division at Fort Bragg and deployed to Zharay (Western Kandahar) Afghanistan where he led a 5,500-member Combined, Joint and Interagency Task Force in support of Regional Command South.
Brian recently completed a Fellowship at the Institute of World Politics and is attending the United Kingdom's Higher Command and Staff Course, holds a BS (Mechanical Engineering) and a Masters in Military Art and Science from Fort Leavenworth Kansas. He graduated from Ranger, Airborne, Pathfinder and Air Assault Schools, and was awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge, three Legions of Merit, five Bronze Star Medals, the NATO Meritorious Service Medal, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
Colonel Mennes and his wife Kellie attended high school together in Buffalo New York, and have been married for over twenty-four years. They have three wonderful children, Ashley (18), Haley (15) and Jake (13).