Colonel Preston McLaughlin was appointed an Associate Professor of National Security to the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security in August 2017. He also currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Aquilae Consulting Services, LLC. He previously served as the Deputy Program Manager for Operations and Support in the System High Corporation Support Team at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)’s Security & Intelligence Directorate from 2012-2016.
Col. McLaughlin retired from active duty service following over 27 and a half years as a Marine Officer from 1983-2010. After retirement from the Marine Corps, Col. McLaughlin served on the Staff and as Adjunct Faculty of The Citadel, The Military College of SC as a Program Manager for the Krause Center for Leadership & Ethics and as Director of Cadet and Teach, Advise and Coach (TAC) Officer Professional Development from 2010-2012.
In 2012 he joined System High Corporation of Chantilly, VA. and served as a Plans, Policies and Procedures Specialist, and as Deputy Program Manager for Operations in the Security & Intelligence Directorate at DARPA. From January 2016-until July 2017 he has been an Adjunct Professor of Military Strategy and National Security Affairs for the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security in Washington, D.C. He has also been a guest lecturer for the Naval History Conference, National Defense University’s Capstone Course, the USMC General Officer Symposium, the Institute of World Politics, and the Citadel’s Southeast Region Security and Intelligence Conference.
Col. McLaughlin’s Marine Corps assignments in the operating forces include: Platoon Commander, Assistant Operations Officer, Company Commander(Companies D and H&S), Second Assault Amphibian Battalion and Marine Detachment United American States (UNITAS) XXVII; Inspector-Instructor, Gulfport Ms.; Amphibious Section Head, G-3 Operations, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa Japan; Commanding Officer, Combat Assault Battalion, Third Marine Division, Okinawa, Japan; Command Operations (Current Operations) Officer, G-3 Marine Forces Pacific, Camp Smith, Hawaii; and Commanding Officer, Marine Corps Security Force Regiment, II Marine Expeditionary Force, providing expeditionary security forces for the Department of State, Combatant Commanders and Naval and Marine Component Commanders. His last assignment on active duty was as the Chief of Staff, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan (2d MEB) in 2009-2010. In 2012, 2d MEB received the Presidential Unit Citation for its meritorious service in Afghanistan. He is a combat veteran of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Other Marine Corps assignments include Guard Officer, Marine Barracks Norfolk, VA.; Platoon Commander and Executive Officer, Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team (FAST) Company; Operations & Training Officer Marine Corps Security Force Battalion School; United Nations Military Observer in the UN Mission for the Referendum in the Western Sahara; as well as Course Director and Faculty Adviser at the Amphibious Warfare School, Marine Corps University. Col. McLaughlin is a Joint Qualified Officer, with service as the Division Head, Requirements & Assessments, Capabilities Group, in the Joint Warfighting Center, Suffolk, VA.
Col. McLaughlin is a graduate of the US Army Armor Officer Advanced Course, a Distinguished Graduate of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a graduate of the Joint Forces Staff College and US Army War College. He has a B.A. in Political Science from The Citadel, a Master’s in Military Studies from Command and Staff College, an M.A. in American History from George Mason University and a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College. He is an Honor Graduate of both the Marine Corps Instructional Management School and the Basic Airborne Course, in Ft. Benning, GA. He has also been inducted into Phi Alpha Theta, the Honor Society for History while at George Mason University.
His personal decorations include the Legion of Merit (with two gold stars), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (with Gold Star in lieu of second award), the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with the Combat Distinguishing Device (V) with two gold stars, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon, as well as the United Nations Medal and the NATO International Security Assistance Force Medal. He is a Dr. Elihu Rose Award recipient for professional military education teaching excellence at the Amphibious Warfare School, Marine Corps University.
Colonel McLaughlin is married to Colonel Michelle C. McLaughlin, Medical Service Corps, US Army Reserve since 1986. They are blessed with two sons; Master at Arms Petty Officer 2d Class, Patrick C. McLaughlin USNR, and Mr. Brendan J. McLaughlin.