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Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership
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Fellowship Program


One of the Center’s cornerstone programs is the Fellows program.  The Fellows program is a unique and multidisciplinary effort that brings together academics and military professionals to study a specific topic in the field of military ethics and leadership.  The Fellows meet together for a weekly seminar, host guest speakers, conduct independent and joint research, travel to meet with other experts in the field, publish their findings in journals and books, produce instructional materials for the Academy curriculum, and make presentations at the Academy and other national and international forums.

Each year, the Center advertises widely for civilian candidates interested in the Fellows Program.  The Distinguished Chair in Ethics and the Center’s Director of Research review all submitted applications.  The Center selects three Resident Fellows each year. The Fellows program is funded by Mrs. Susan Rorer Whitby on behalf of the USNA Class of 1958, the Class of 1962, by Mr. and Mrs. Frank Behm on behalf of the Class of 1978 and also by Donald S. Freeman Jr. This Center program has been in existence since Academic Year 2000-2001. 

Impact on the Naval Academy and Other Institutions

Research accomplished by the Fellows makes a significant impact on education at the Naval Academy and policy making within our national government. 

Fellows interact with midshipmen in the classroom, both as adjunct instructors and seminar leaders, and provide professional development opportunities for instructors and professors in the Department of Leadership, Ethics, and Law (LEL).  As Fellows tackle emerging issues in military ethics and leadership, they are able to develop case studies and other instructional materials to support the core and elective courses offered by LEL and take on a mentoring role for midshipmen interested in the topics pursued by the Fellows cohort.

The Fellows research is also designed to inform the highest levels of naval service leadership about emerging ethics and leadership challenges for the foreseeable future.  At the conclusion of the research effort, the Center hosts the McCain Conference where the Fellows are joined by military and civilian educators from the nation’s service academies and war colleges and other thought leaders to discuss and debate the research conducted at the Naval Academy. Policy issues and recommendations emerging from the McCain conference are shared with the Secretary of the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Additionally, because of the participation of the Fellows in high visibility conferences and meetings and the publications they produce, their work enhances the influence and prestige of the Stockdale Center and the Naval Academy worldwide.

Academic Year 2019-20 Research Effort

This year’s research and McCain Conference will examine a timely topic: "The Foundations and Future of Human Rights."  Subtopics will include philosophical defenses of human rights, the futures of liberal states and the liberal international order, and the future of rights-based "revisionist" warfare ethics.      .

In addition to this year's fellows, the following individuals are participating in this year’s work:

  • Dr. Ed Barrett, Director of Strategy and Research, Stockdale Center, U.S. Naval Academy
  • Dr. David Luban, the Distinguished Chair of Ethics, Stockdale Center, U.S. Naval Academy
  • Dr. Chris Eberle, Faculty, LEAD Department, U.S. Naval Academy
  • Mr. Mitt Regan, Senior Research Fellow, Stockdale Center, U.S. Naval Academy   

If you are interested in applying for this opportunity during the 2020-2021 academic year, please apply here.


McCain Conference

The McCain Conference of federal service academies annually brings key representatives from the nation's federal military academies to Annapolis to discuss emerging issues in ethics and character development. The conference was endowed in 2001 through a gift from Mrs. Cindy McCain in honor of her husband, Senator John McCain (USNA Class of 1958). Since 2007, the conference has been held in the late spring, and has been expanded to include the broader notion of military leadership, and to include participants from Command, Staff, and senior war colleges as well as undergraduate institutions.

Current Fellows

Funded by USNA Classes of 1958, 1962 and 1978.
Also made possible by a generous 10 year gift of support from Donald S. Freeman Jr.

September 2019 - May 2020


Dr. Marcus Hedahl - Class of 1958 Fellow
Marcus Hedahl
After graduating from the University of Notre Dame (Go Irish!) with a degree in Physics, Marcus went to work briefly for the Gas-Service Interaction Division at NASA-Langley as a Langley Aerospace Research Summer Scholar. He rather quickly realized, however, that the computer simulations required for researching the effects of reentry were not as interesting as the events in the actual world of things. So he accepted a commission in the US Air Force, at one point serving as a program manager in charge of the development of a new Mission Management System for U.S. Intelligence Satellites at the National Reconnaissance Office (a jointly run Air Force/CIA organization). He would talk about it, but alas he cannot. 
Although he had been up to this point a very practical young man, he somehow got interested in the Stoics, Aristotle, and the life most worth living. He got his M.A. in Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Panther Pride!) and spent four years teaching philosophy at the Air Force Academy (Give 'er the Gun!). After separating from the service, Marcus earned his Ph.D in Philosophy at Georgetown University (Hoya Saxa!). He has been a Charlotte Newcombe Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, an Environmental Justice Fellow at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, a Dahrendorf Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and has been twice selected as one of the ADM Jay Johnson Professors in Leadership and Ethics at US Naval Academy, where he has taught since 2014 in the department of Leadership, Ethics, and Law (Go Navy! Beat Army!). As a dyed-in-the-wool Stoic, he is extremely excited (or as excited as Stoics are allowed to get) to be serving Academic Year 2019-2020 as a Stockdale Fellow at the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership, U.S. Naval Academy (Did I say Go Navy, Beat Army already? O well, one cannot say that enough Go Navy! Beat Army!)


Dr. Heather Pangle - Class of 1962 Fellow
Dr. Heather PangleHeather Pangle received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Boston College in 2018, with specializations in political theory and American politics. She has taught courses in political theory at Middlebury College and Carleton College. During the 2018-2019 academic year she was a visiting scholar in the government department at Harvard University. She also taught courses at Boston College and ran seminars for the political science department’s John Marshall Fellowship program. Her research interests include 18th and 19th century French and British political philosophy, American political thought, liberalism, and empire. She has written and presented on topics such as voting, popular sovereignty, and liberalism in the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville and J.S. Mill. Her articles have appeared in The Adam Smith Review and National Affairs. Currently she is at work on a book manuscript on the foreign policy of Mill and Tocqueville.



Dr. Pierce Randall - Donald and Beverly Freeman Fellow
Pierce RandallPierce received his doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught courses in ethics, human rights, social contract theory, and environmental ethics. His research focuses on competing conceptions of liberalism and economic justice. He also works on normative political economy, democratic theory, and duties to future persons. He was a fellow at the Mercatus Center from 2017-18.

Pierce has presented work on the rationality of voting, the ethics of gun control, public reason, and the right of exit migration. He is currently working on a project on the relationship between public finance, public justification, and political legitimacy.

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