Robert C. Owen


image preview


I am a professor in the Department of Aeronautical Science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach Campus. I came to Embry-Riddle in 2002 as the AS Department Chair following a 28-year career in the United States Air Force. Shortly after my arrival, I had the opportunity to lead the visualization and creation of the Aerospace Institutes program which formed the foundation of the university’s current high school partnering program, the Gaetz Aerospace Institute. During Gulf War II I also activated ERAU’s first faculty consortium on unmanned aviation. Other activities have included serving as the on-air military commentator for WESH TV in Orlando and as an adjunct researcher for the RAND Corporation, the Air Force Research Institute, and Teledyne Brown Corporation. Currently, I teach courses in manned and unmanned aviation operations, law, and history and conducts research in national defense policy issues. My aviation ratings include Air Force Command Pilot and Commercial Pilot designations, and my log book shows over 4500 flight hours and experience in around 25 different aircraft. My publications have included four books and dozens of articles, most recently one pending publication by the University of Kentucky Press, Restraining Thor: Escalation and Escalation Management Between Peer Air Forces. My sheepskins include an Associates in History (Foothill College, 1973), a Bachelor’s in African History and Master of Arts in African Studies (UCLA, 1973 and 1974) and a Masters and Doctorate in History (Duke, 1990 and 1992).

My military career has included an unusual mix of operational, staff, and advanced education assignments. AFROTC Detachment 055 at UCLA commissioned me 1973. After completing Air Force flight training at Williams AFB, AZ in 1975, I served tours in Texas, Germany, and Little Rock flying C-130s, with an assignment as a professor at the Air Force Academy mixed in. While at the “Zoo” I also was privileged to coach the rifle team to a national championship, command the parachuting squadron, and flight instruct in the mighty T-41. My big accomplishment during that time, however, was convincing my lifetime sweetheart, Adrienne, to give up single life and marry a vagabond pilot. Following those assignments, and now a Major, the AF selected me to undertake doctoral studies in a unique program at Duke University focused on military history and strategy. With new PhD in hand and as a Lieutenant Colonel Owen, I served as the Chief of the of the air force’s Air Mobility and Joint Doctrine branches at the Pentagon and then as the Dean/Commandant of the School of Advanced Air Power Studies at Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, AL. SAAS is a Masters-level program educating strategic planners and future air warfare commanders. My final assignment was as the Chief of the Policy and Doctrine Division, Directorate of Plans, Air Mobility Command (AMC), Scott AFB, Illinois. In that position I supervised the development, articulation, and evaluation of air mobility policies, concepts, and doctrines, including service-wide transformational studies and projects. During the Kosovo conflict, my team of bright staff officers developed command relations for deploying AMC forces and, as the conflict closed, I directed the development and execution of AMC's redeployment and reconstitution plans. Overall, my career was one of quiet but steady diligence and accomplishment, marked by few heroic accomplishments and only a few moments where unfriendly fire was a danger that did not develop. I did have a near miss at the Pentagon on 911, but I also came away from that without a mark. I did my duty, went where I was told, and helped facedown the Russians at the height of the Cold War without a whimper.