National Defense University

Educating, Developing and Inspiring National Security Leaders

Michael M. Cannon (Colonel, USA, Ret.)

Chief of Staff

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Michael M. Cannon (COL, USA, Ret.), Chief of Staff and Administration

Michael M. Cannon (COL, USA, Ret.), Chief of Staff and Administration (Photo by Katie Lewis)


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Michael Cannon is Chief of Staff, National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C. As Chief of Staff, he is the principal advisor to the NDU President on internal management, student administration, morale, welfare, and on the formulation of organizational and management policies.

Cannon was commissioned a lieutenant of the Field Artillery from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His initial assignment was with the 3rd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery (8-inch), in Nuremburg, Germany. After attending the Field Artillery Advanced Course, Cannon was assigned to the 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 321st Field Artillery, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was then assigned as the Commandant of the Advanced Airborne School. Cannon's next assignment was as the Battalion Fire Support Officer with the 2nd Ranger Battalion at Fort Lewis, Washington. Following this assignment, he served with the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Airborne) at Fort Bragg as the Fire Support Officer and deployed in support of Operation DESERT STORM.

After attending the U. S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Cannon was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division as the Brigade Fire Support Officer for the 2nd Infantry Brigade and the Battalion Operations Officer and Executive Officer for the 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery. He deployed with the Division to Haiti in support of Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY. Cannon returned to Fort Bragg in 1998 to command the 3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.

Cannon then attended the U. S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Subsequently he was assigned to the Joint Staff in the Pentagon where he worked in J-33, Joint Operations Division, EUCOM Desk. He returned to Fort Bragg in 2003 to command the 1st Battlefield Coordination Detachment (Airborne) where he deployed twice to the Combined Air and Space Operations Center in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. In December 2006, Cannon was assigned to the National Defense University as the Military Assistant to the Vice President of Academic Affairs (Provost). He assumed the duties of Chief of Staff on 28 July 2008.

After retiring from active military service in June 2010, Cannon has remained as the University’s civilian Chief of Staff.

Col. Cannon's awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Military Free Fall Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, and the Ranger Tab.