Small Wars Journal

Michael B. Kelley


Michael B. “Bulldog” Kelley (Lieutenant Colonel Ret. US Army) retired from the U.S. Army in 2020 after serving a total of 32 years as a commission officer, with almost 25 years in Special Operations.  

Prof. Kelley was commissioned as an Infantry Officer in 1987 and served in multiple Infantry Mech and Light Tactical and Training units. In 1995, Prof. Kelley attended the FA 39 PSYOP and Civil Affairs Course at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School. Ft. Bragg, NC. He served in multiple Planning and Operations Officer positions in SOF and Conventional Units. Served with USSOCOM, USASOC, JFK Special Warfare Center and School, 5th Special Forces Group (A), 3rd Special Forces Group (A), 1st Special Forces Group (A), Task Force-N, CJTF-Counter Terrorism Horn of Africa, USSOCCENT and SOJTF-A.

While in Uniform, Prof. Kelley deployed on six Combat Tours, conducted nine Operational Tours, and was stationed in Korea for a 14-month tour.  He spent years as a military advisor for foreign SOF, teaching Special Forces Officers at the Egyptian Training Authority in Cairo Egypt and was primary advisor to several Provencal Police Chiefs, Provencal Governors and National Directorate of Security Chief in RC East, and RC North,  Afghanistan.

Prof. Kelley’s final assignment while serving in uniform was as the Deputy Division Chief of the Civil Affairs Operations Division, Operations Directorate, Interagency Action Group USCENTCOM, His responsibilities included conducting the day-to-day operations of the three branches of the Civil Affairs Division. Conducted planning and support operations for the Counter ISIS campaign in Syria.                                      

Following his retirement Prof. Kelley was hired to serve as an Instructor in the Special Operations Planner’s Course Joint Special Operations University. 


Active Member, American Indian Association

Active Member of the Association on American Indian Affairs

Life Member, Special Forces Association Chapter 28 “The Devil’s Brigade” Memorial


Active Member, Academy of Political Science

American Bar Association Member

Executive Officer for The Phantom Airborne Brigade

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