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Tony Cothron

Associate Professor of Government

Green Hall, Room 1600D

Office hours by appointment only


  • M.S. in National Security and Strategic Studies, U.S. Naval War College
  • B.A. in History, Middle Tennessee State University


Professor Cothron is an Associate Professor of Government and the Director of National Security and Intelligence Programs. Rear Admiral Tony Cothron retired from the U.S. Navy on 1 January 2009 after 31 years of distinguished service as an Intelligence Officer. During his Navy career, he served as Executive Assistant to the Director of National Intelligence, as the 62nd Director of Naval Intelligence, as the Deputy Director for Customer Requirements at the National Security Agency, as the Commander of the Office of Naval Intelligence, and as the Commander of the U.S. European Command’s Joint Analysis Center.  His operational experience included intelligence duty at every level. He served aboard USS America, (CV-66), in Patrol Squadron Special Projects Unit One (VPU-1), in Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8) aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) for combat operations during Operation Desert Storm, as Battle Group Director of Intelligence aboard USS George Washington (CVN-73) and as the Sixth Fleet Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence during combat planning and operations for Operation Allied Force against the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. RDML Cothron served ashore in assignments as a submarine analyst, instructor for Operational Intelligence, a senior watch officer, and Division head leading the collection, analysis, and dissemination of timely, relevant, and predictive intelligence for National, Joint, and Fleet forces.

After retiring from the US Navy in 2009, he began a career in the industry as Vice President for Customer Engagement for General Dynamics Information Technology’s Intelligence and Homeland Security Division.  He provided a deep understanding of mission needs, led the process for early identification of a pipeline of opportunities with a total potential value of over $15B, and assisted in developing solutions for the continuous improvement of the company’s support to National Security organizations.  He retired from General Dynamics in 2021.

A native of Greenbrier, Tennessee.  He is a member of Greenfield Missionary Baptist Church and is married to Navy veteran (LCDR Retired) Elizabeth (Beth) Cothron, from Chicago, Illinois.  Tony and Beth have two sons and one daughter-in-law.

Professional Awards

  • Personal: Defense Superior Service; Legion of Merit (4); Bronze Star; Meritorious Service (2);
    Navy and Marine Corps Commendation (6)
  • Unit: Joint Meritorious Unit Award (4); Navy Unit Commendation (3); Meritorious Unit
    Commendation (3)
  • Campaigns: National Defense Service, Armed Forces Expeditionary, Kosovo Campaign, Global
    War on Terrorism Service, Southwest Asia Service, Armed Forces Service, Sea Service Deployment
    (5), Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service, NATO Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal
  • Other: Naval Intelligence Foundation Naval War College Distinguished Graduate Award

Courses Taught

  • Ethics in Intelligence
  • Intelligence Analysis
  • Intro to Intel & National Security
  • Strategic Intelligence
  • Terrorism
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