Chair for the Study of Special Operations

Charles Faint currently serves as the Chair for the Study of Special Operations and an assistant professor in the Defense and Strategic Studies program. A retired military intelligence officer, he commissioned into the military intelligence branch of the US Army through the ROTC program at Mercer University and claims Alabama as his home state. After completing a branch detail to the infantry in the 101st Airborne Division, he subsequently served as an intelligence officer in a variety of units, including the 2nd Infantry Division, the 5th Special Forces Group, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and the Joint Special Operations Command. His most recent operational assignment was at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, where he served as the Chief of Intelligence – Plans and Exercises and then Chief of Intelligence – Operations on the G2 staff of US Army Pacific.

In addition to his role as MWI Deputy Director, he teaches the Comparative Defense Policy course. During a previous tour at West Point, he was the course director for MX400, the superintendent’s capstone course on officership, for two years. He also instructed international relations, American politics, comparative politics, conflict and negotiation, and intelligence and national policy for three years in West Point’s renowned Department of Social Sciences.

He earned his doctorate in business administration through Temple University. He also holds five undergraduate and graduate degrees, the most recent of which is from Yale University. Educated in fields ranging from engineering to communication to international relations, his research interests include special operations, civil-military relations, and small business entrepreneurship.

Over the course of his career, Lt. Col. Faint earned the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal (4 awards), the Meritorious Service Medal (six awards), the Combat Action Badge, and the pathfinder, airborne, and air assault badges. He has earned seven combat stripes for his service in Iraq and Afghanistan and also served in Egypt, Korea, and the Philippines.

Early in his career, he served a six-month peacekeeping tour with the Multinational Force and Observers in Sinai, Egypt, an experience that began a career-long interest in the region. That interest prompted his involvement in the Peace and Dialogue Leadership Initiative (PDLI), a joint Yale/West Point endeavor that selects high-performing students from both schools for a yearlong fellowship that includes two weeks on the ground in Israel and Palestine. Faint was a cofounder of PDLI and served as its security advisor, accompanying the group to the Levant for each of the first five years of the PDLI’s existence.

Published in a number of blogs and professional journals, his most significant publication is coauthorship of the book Violence of Action: The Untold Stories of the 75th Ranger Regiment in the War on Terror. He was also the editor-in-chief of West Point’s Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, is the owner of the military-themed blog The Havok Journal, and is the executive director of The Second Mission Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.