Alex Beckstrand

History Ph.D. Candidate and Graduate Assistant, University of Connecticut

Adjunct Lecturer, Central Connecticut State University

Delivery Assurance Manager, Pratt & Whitney, Raytheon Technologies (RTX)

Infantry Officer (Secondary: Foreign Security Force Advisor and Middle East Regional Affairs Officer), USMCR

Podcast Host, New Books in Military History

Twitter: @AlexBeckstrand
Research Interests

Civil-Military Relations; Institutional and Industrial History; U.S. Military and Diplomatic History; World War I; World War II; National Security Issues; Grand Strategy; US-Middle East Relations


Current Candidate, Ph.D., History, University of Connecticut (Advisor: Frank Costigliola) (est. completion spring 2024)

MA, International Relations, American University (2019)

BA, History, Virginia Military Institute (2010)


Born and raised in southern Wisconsin, I attended undergrad at VMI and majored in history. I spent four years on active duty in the Marine Corps as an infantry officer, deploying to Afghanistan from 2012-2013. I left active duty in 2014 and began working for Amazon in fulfillment operations, first in Pennsylvania and then in Connecticut. In 2018, I left Amazon and began working at Pratt & Whitney, an aircraft engine manufacturer and Raytheon Technologies company, where I work in the Global Supply Chain organization. I graduated in 2019 with an M.A. in International Relations from American University. I continue to serve in the Marine Corps Reserves, activating twice since 2014 to deploy to Jordan in 2016 and as an Exercise Planner with the 25th Marine Regiment in Fort Devens, MA in 2020-2021. I am currently a foreign security forces advisor with Marine Corps Advisor Company A in Washington, D.C., serving in this role in Morocco and Tunisia and working assessments for Romania. I have a wonderful wife and two amazing daughters.

Publications: Articles, Book Chapters, Books

– Forthcoming: “A Very Important Portion of the World’s Supply of Oil”: The United States and Oil Diplomacy with Mexico during World War I,” Georgetown University. School of Foreign Service. Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. (Case study expected fall 2023)

– “History Provides Another Alternative to the All-Volunteer Force,” The National Interest, July 17, 2022.

– “Woodrow Wilson as Commander in Chief and the Struggle for Civil-Military Relations during the Punitive Expedition of 1916-1917,” Journal of Military History 86, no. 2 (April 2022): 372-398.

– “On American Grand Strategy,” The Strategy Bridge, March 10, 2020.

– “How 1940 provides the way forward for the United States in a treacherous world,” Made By History, Washington Post, December 3, 2019.

Publications: Book Reviews, Peer Reviews, Podcast Interviews

Review of John B. Hattendorf and William P. Leeman, eds., Forging the Trident: Theodore Roosevelt and the United States Navy, Summer 2023, Marine Corps History.

Review of Doenecke, Justus D., More Precious Than Peace: A New History of America in World War I. H-War, H-Net Reviews. March, 2023.

– Host, New Books in Military History, interview with Jennifer Mittelstadt and Mark Wilson, The Military and the Market. November 25, 2022. New Books Network.

– Host, New Books in Military History, interview with Meighen McCrae, Coalition Strategy and the End of the First World War: The Supreme War Council and War Planning, 1917-1918. September 1, 2022. New Books Network.

– Review of Heather Venable, How the Few Became the Proud: Crafting the Marine Corps Mystique, 1874-1918, Summer 2022, Marine Corps History.

– Served as a Peer Reviewer for an article under consideration for the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, June 2022.

– Host, New Books in Military History, interview with Dean A. Nowowiejski, The American Army in Germany, 1918-1923: Success Against the Odds. April 27, 2022. New Books Network.

– Host, New Books in Military History, interview with Shannon Bontrager, Death at the Edges of Empire: Fallen Soldiers, Cultural Memory, and the Making of an American Nation, 1863-1921. December 23, 2021, New Books Network.

– Host, New Books in Military History, interview with Heather Venable, How the Few Became the Proud: Crafting the Marine Corps Mystique, 1874-1918. October 18, 2021, New Books Network.

Review of Demm, Eberhard, Censorship and Propaganda in World War I: A Comprehensive History. H-War, H-Net Reviews. September, 2021.


– Presenter, “U.S.-Mexico Oil Diplomacy during World War I, 1917-1919,” The Days After: Workshop on U.S. Post-Conflict Diplomacy Since 1783, June 14, 2023, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

– Roundtable Participant: Digital Invasion: How Military History Content Reaches a Broader Audience With YouTube and Podcasts, Society for Military History Annual Meeting, March 24, 2023, San Diego, CA.

– “Woodrow Wilson, Civil-Military Relations, and the Navy: Preliminary Findings,” presented at the National Museum at the United States Navy, August 10, 2022, Washington, D.C.

– “Almost Revolutionary: The Debates About Democracy, Citizenship, and Military Policies, 1913-1920,” paper presented at the Society for Military History Conference, May 23, 2021, Norfolk, VA (virtual).

– “Intervention Aims and the Punitive Expedition: A Look at Explicit and Implicit Goals,” paper presented at the James A. Barnes Club Graduate Student History Conference, March 21, 2020, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA (virtual).

– “The Thing to Do Now: FDR and the Four Pillars of American War Preparations, 1940,” paper presented at the New England Historical Association Fall 2019 conference, October 26, 2019, Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI.


– Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, University of Connecticut, Summer 2022/2023. ($2,000 each)

– World Politics and Statecraft Fellowship, Smith Richardson Foundation, March 2022. ($7,500)

– Excellence in Teaching Award Honor Roll, Central Connecticut State University, Spring 2022.

– Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison Supplemental Scholarship, Naval History and Heritage Command, Spring 2022. ($5,000)

– Thomas G. Paterson Graduate Fellowship in the History of U.S. Foreign Relations, University of Connecticut, 2020. ($1,000)

– George C. Marshall Scholar, George C. Marshall Foundation, 2010.

– Arabic Study grant, Arabic Language Institute of Fez, located in Fez, Morocco, Summer 2009.

– History Honors Program, 2009-2010, Virginia Military Institute.


Member, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR)

Member, Society for Military History (SMH)

Member, Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (SHGAPE)

Member, American Historical Association

Member, Organization of American Historians

University Employment History
University of Connecticut

– Graduate Assistant Instructor of Record, HIST-1501W, U.S. History to 1877, Spring 2024

– Graduate Assistant Instructor of Record, HIST-1502W, U.S. History Since 1877, Fall 2023

– Graduate Assistant Instructor of Record, HIST-2240, History of War in the Modern World, Fall 2022-Spring 2023

– Adjunct History Professor, HIST-1502, United States Since 1877, Winter Intersession 2021-2022

Central Connecticut State University

– Adjunct Lecturer, IS-225 The World as a Total System, Fall 2022, Fall 2023

– Adjunct Lecturer, IS-150 Introduction to International Studies, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

Civilian and Military Employment History
Pratt & Whitney

– Delivery Assurance Manager, East Hartford, CT, 2020-Present

– Government Security Compliance, East Hartford, CT, 2019-2020

– Operations Manager, East Hartford, CT, 2018-2019

– Operations Manager, Windsor, CT, 2015-2018

– Operations Manager, Breinigsville, PA, 2014-2015

United States Marine Corps (Active Duty and Reserves)

– Operations Advisor, Marine Corps Advisor Company A, Washington, D.C., 2022-Present

– Student, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, 2020-2022

– Exercise Planner, 25th Marine Regiment, Fort Devens, MA, 2020-2021 (Active Duty)

– Commanding Officer, Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, Milwaukee, WI, 2018-2020

– Second-in-Charge, Security Cooperation Team-Jordan 16.2, Zarqa, Jordan, 2016-2017 (Active Duty)

– Executive Officer, Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 2015-2016

– Executive Officer, H&S Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2013-2014 (Active Duty)

– Infantry Platoon Commander, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2010-2013 (Deployment to Afghanistan 2012-2013) (Active Duty)

Alex Beckstrand, graduate student
Contact Information
Mailing Address241 Glenbrook Road Wood Hall, U-4103, Storrs, CT 06269
Office LocationWood Hall, Rm 002C
CampusCampus: Storrs
Office HoursSpring 2024: by appointment