National Guard Major General Taps CHDS Master’s Thesis for National Leadership

When then-Col. Wendy Wenke was completing her studies at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security in 2015, she focused her Master’s thesis heavily on operations research using data to inform her analysis on vulnerabilities involving the Port of Anchorage in her native Alaska.

Maj. Gen. Wendy B. Wenke

While the 35-year Air National Guard veteran’s thesis remains restricted and unavailable to the public due to its sensitive nature, she said she has tapped the concepts and expertise she learned at CHDS to inform key national security policy decisions during a burgeoning military career that has seen her serve in the highest echelons from the Pentagon to commanding the Delaware Air National Guard then serving as the Director for Manpower, Personnel, Recruiting and Services at the ANG Readiness Center, Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

Recently promoted to Major General as the National Guard Bureau J1, Director for Manpower and Personnel, she is responsible for policy and programs affecting over 430,000 service members, Since Wenke’s Master’s Program, cohort 1301/1302, she has contributed to national security policy and strategy on a range of initiatives from ballistic and cruise missiles unmanned aircraft, to force recruitment and retention.

Unfurling of the Maj. Gen. Flag

“Data helped me think about policy for my thesis; now I think about how the data informs policy and what metrics we monitor after the policy is in place,” Wenke said. “Even with fiscal constraints, it’s easier to make decisions when it is supported with data.”

During her three-decade-plus military career, Wenke’s service in the Air National Guard included assignments at the Pentagon; NGB Joint Staff; and the ANG Readiness Center, Joint Force Headquarters, with mobilizations and deployments at the unit level.

At the Pentagon, Wenke served from 2014-18 as a senior policy development analyst for the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Homeland Defense Integration and Defense Support of Civil Authorities during which she was responsible for the development, coordination, and implementation of Department of Defense policy on air domain homeland defense activities and interfaced with the White House, Congress, National Security Council staff, and other Cabinet agencies.

“Data helped me think about policy for my thesis; now I think about how the data informs policy and what metrics we monitor after the policy is in place.”

Maj. Gen. Wendy B. Wenke

The veteran of Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Noble Eagle, and Enduring Freedom has commanded at the flight, squadron, deputy group, vice wing, and state level. Wenke has a senior navigator rating in the KC135 and C130 aircraft and missiles manned is also a private pilot.

She was promoted to Brigadier General in 2018 and to Major General last year.

Maj. Gen. Wendy Wenke (center) and former CHDS Master’s cohort members Martha Ellis (right) and Vince Noce (left) at her promotion ceremony

Wenke also served as the director of mobility forces for Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

As far as her CHDS experience, Wenke said in addition to bolstering her data analytics skills CHDS also made her a much better writer.

Wenke describes her CHDS cohort as a “brotherhood and sisterhood,” and says she still stays in touch with many of them. In fact, a few fellow CHDS alums from her Master’s cohort showed up for her October 2022 promotion ceremony when she was elevated to Major General.

INQUIRIES: Heather Hollingsworth Issvoran, Communications and Recruitment |, 831-402-4672 (PST)

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