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History Department

Benjamin “BJ” Armstrong, Captain, USN

Admiral Jay Johnson Professor of Leadership & Ethics (2023-2024)
Associate Professor
(Permanent Military Professor)

War Studies, Naval History


U.S. Naval Academy
History Department (12C)
107 Maryland Ave
Annapolis, MD 21402


Captain Benjamin "BJ" Armstrong is a Permanent Military Professor and former Search & Rescue and Special Warfare helicopter pilot who has deployed to the 4th, 5th, and 6th Fleet in support of multiple Amphibious Ready Groups, Marine Air Ground Task Forces, and global operations. Ashore he flew as an Advanced Flight Instructor and served in the Pentagon as a strategist and a staff officer in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy. He joined the faculty of the Naval Academy History Department during the fall term of 2016. In addition to his teaching and scholarship, CAPT Armstrong serves as the Founder and Principal Associate of the Forum on Integrated Naval History and Seapower Studies, Faculty Representative to the Naval Academy Men's Swimming and Diving Team, and Director of the 2023 McMullen Naval History Symposium.



  • Ph.D. - King’s College, London
  • M.A. - Norwich University
  • B.S. - U.S. Naval Academy

Courses Taught

  • HH104 - American Naval History
  • HH387 - History of Air Power
  • HH386 - 20th Century Naval Strategy & Thought
  • HH462 - Navy and the Nation in the 19th Century (Research Seminar)
  • HH482 - Advanced Concepts in History



Ed., New Interpretations in Naval History (Newport: Naval War College Press, 2023).

Naval Presence and the Interwar U.S. Navy and Marine Corps: Forward Deployment, Crisis Response, and the Tyranny of History (London: Routledge, 2023).

Ed. 21st Century Mahan: Sound Military Conclusions for the Modern Era, Revised and Expanded, 2nd Edition (Annapolis, Naval Institute Press, 2023).

Developing the Naval Mind, co-authored with John Freymann (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2021).

Small Boats and Daring Men: Maritime Raiding, Irregular Warfare, and the Early American Navy (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2019).

Ed., 21st Century Sims: Innovation, Education, and Leadership for the Modern Era (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2015).

Ed., 21st Century Mahan: Sound Military Conclusions for the Modern Era (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2013).

Selected Academic Journal Articles & Chapters

Mahan Versus Corbett in Width, Depth, and ContextMilitary Strategy 7, No. 4 (January, 2022).

“‘Things Done By Halves’: Observations from the United States’ First Great Power Competition,” The Naval War College Review 73, No. 4 (Autumn 2020).  

“Korea 1871: The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps in Great Power Competition” in On Contested Shores: The Evolving Role of Amphibious Operations in the History of Warfare, eds. Timothy Heck and Brett Friedman (Quantico: Marine Corps University Press, 2020).

“William Sims and Sailors as Scholars” in Why We Write: Craft Essays on Writing War, eds., Randy Brown and Steve Leonard (Johnston, IA: Middle West Press, 2019): 34-39.

“The Right Fleet: Starships for Strategic Purpose” in Strategy Strikes Back, eds. Max Brooks, John Amble, M.L. Cavanaugh, and Jaym Gates (Lincoln, NB: Potomac Books, 2018): 80-87.

"'Against the Common Enemies': American Allies and Partners in the First Barbary War," The Trafalgar Chronicle, New Series, No. 2 (December 2017).

“‘Zeal Intelligence and Intrepidity’: Naval Irregular Warfare and the War of 1812 on the Lakes,” Mariner’s Mirror, Vol. 103, No. 1 (February 2017).

The New Young Turks,” Naval War College Review, Vol. 68, No. 4 (Autumn 2015).

D-All of the Above: Connecting 21st Century Naval Doctrine to Strategy,” Military Strategy, Vol. 4, No. 4 (Summer 2015).

"Immediate Redress:  The USS Potomac and the Pirates of Quallah Battoo," Small Wars & Insurgencies, Vol. 24, No. 1, (February 2013).

Living in a Mahanian World,” Military Strategy, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Summer 2012).

The Most Daring Act of the Age: Principles for Naval Irregular Warfare,” Naval War College Review, Vol. 63, No. 4 (Autumn 2010).

China…From the Sea: The Importance of Chinese Naval History,” Strategic Insights, Vol. 6, No. 6, (December 2007).

Selected Professional & Magazine Articles

"Counterinsurgency to the Shores of Tripoli," U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings, Vol. 149, No. 10  (October, 2023).

“American Naval Dominance is Not a Birthright,” U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings, Vol. 147, No. 9 (November, 2021).

"A Hero: Robert Smalls," Naval History Magazine, Vol. 35, No. 1 (February 2021).

"Being That Class: A Letter to the Class of 2020," U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings, Vol. 146, No. 6, Online Edition (June, 2020). 

“Naval Education in 1879: What the Chief Learning Officer Can Learn from the First Naval Institute General Prize Essay Contest,” U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings, Vol. 145, No. 11, Online Edition (November, 2019).

“Hard to Lee: New Naval Priorities in a Multipolar World,” U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings, Vol. 143, No. 4 (April 2017).

“An Act of War on the Eve of Revolution,” Naval History Magazine, Vol. 30, No. 1 (February 2016).

“A Daring Defense in the Azores,” Naval History Magazine, Vol. 28, No. 2 (April 2013).

“Daring Moves on the Niagara,” Naval History Magazine, Vol. 27, No. 5 (October 2013).

“If We Are to Remain a World Power,” U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings, Vol. 139, No. 5 (May 2013).

"America's Daring Frigate Captains," Armchair General Magazine, Vol. 10, No. 1 (January 2013).

"Leadership & Command," U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings, Vol. 138, No. 7 (September 2012).

“Fix Navy PME!” U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings, Vol. 138, No. 7 (July 2012).

“Unleashing the MH-60S Knighthawk,” U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings, Vol. 138, No. 3 (April 2012).

“Nothing Like a Good Maritime Raid,” U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings, Vol. 138, No. 2 (February 2012).


Honors & Awards

Admiral Jay Johnson Professor of Leadership & Ethics (2023-2024) - U.S. Naval Academy

Volgenau Fellow (2018-2023), School of Humanities and Social Sciences - U.S. Naval Academy

Class of 1951 Military Faculty Teaching Excellence Award - U.S. Naval Academy 

Alfred Thayer Mahan Award for Literary Achievement - Navy League of the United States

General Roy S. Geiger Award - Marine Corps Heritage Foundation

General Prize Essay Contest (3rd Prize) - U.S. Naval Institute


Academic & Professional Service/Engagement

Councilor, North American Society for Oceanic History: 2018-2021

H-Maritime Advisory Board: 2014-Present

Series Editor, 21st Century Foundations, Naval Institute Press: 2015-2020

Contributing Editor, War on the Rocks: 2015- Present

Editorial Board, U.S. Naval Institute: 2012-2016

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