By Tatyana Hopkins
Distinguished Navy Adm. Michelle Howard will join the George Washington University community as the Elliott School of International Affairs’ new J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of International Affairs. She will teach a course in cybersecurity and policy in the fall.
The course will provide an overview of the cyber domain’s impact on international relationships and policies. Focusing on diplomatic, military, economic and informational technology reactions to modern-day cyber events, the course will explore strategic challenges and potential opportunities in the emerging cyber domain.
Adm. Howard said she is honored to take on the Shapiro visiting professor position and is excited to teach a course based on the experiences of her 35-year Naval career.
“I hope to bring practical, real-world experience to the classroom and share insights on evolving security strategy and policy,” she said. “I look forward to exchanging views and ideas with GW students, for they are our future leaders.”
Adm. Howard comes to the Elliott School following a long career in national defense, with her onboard and onshore posts placing her in directing positions within the areas of engineering, operations and strategic planning and policy. Among her most notable accomplishments in the Navy, she is the first woman to achieve four-star rank and the first African American woman to captain a ship.
In 2013, the Senate confirmed President Barack Obama’s nomination of Adm. Howard as the first female and African American vice chief of naval operations, the second highest ranking uniformed officer in the branch. Responsible for the Navy’s day-to-day operations, she focused on gender integration as well as the areas of cyber culture and information security in the digital age.
Adm. Howard is also well known for leading a counter-piracy taskforce that executed the 2009 rescue of civilian Capt. Richard Phillips from Somali pirates, later depicted in a movie starring Tom Hanks, “Captain Phillips.” In 2016, Mr. Obama chose Adm. Howard to command U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and Africa and the Allied Joint Forces Command in Naples, Italy, making her the first female four-star admiral to command operational forces. She retired in 2017.
Elliott School Dean Reuben E. Brigety II said it is a great pleasure to welcome Adm. Howard as the next Shapiro visiting professor. “Admiral Howard brings unmatched experience and a personal commitment to service that will inspire our students and help us educate the next generation of leaders,” Dr. Brigety said.
The J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro professorship was established in 1992 by the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Foundation to appoint distinguished figures in the fields of international affairs and diplomacy to teaching positions at the Elliott School.
Adm. Howard’s appointment will begin Aug. 1.