Lt Col Kurt Helphinstine


Lieutenant Colonel Kurt Helphinstine was a National Security Affairs Fellow for the academic year 2016–2017 at the Hoover Institution. Helphinstine was commissioned in 1999, from ROTC at the University of Portland, in Oregon, where he earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Civil Engineering.  Post commissioning, he attended Pilot Training in Texas and the F-15E Initial Training Course in North Carolina.  Kurt has had three operational F-15E assignments; two in England and one in Idaho.

During these assignments, he flew over 900 combat hours during six deployments to the Middle East.  Lieutenant Colonel Helphinstine is also a graduate of the USAF Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada where he later taught advanced F-15E tactics for three years and led the USAF Weapons School integration of aviation operations with cyber, information, and space operations.  Additionally, he deployed to Saudi Arabia as initial cadre for the Royal Saudi Air Force Weapons School.  In 2011, Lieutenant Colonel Helphinstine attended USMC Command and Staff College in Quantico, Virginia.  Post Quantico, he served on The Joint Staff, J-35, in the Joint Operations Division.  Lientenant Colonel Helphinstine’s last assignment was commanding the 494th Fighter Squadron in the United Kingdom.  During command he deployed with 18 F-15Es in support of combat operations in the Middle East.  

Research Interests:

  • Air Superiority Drones
  • Human-Drone Teaming
  • Drone Autonomy

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

The West Must Embrace Its Anatolian Ally Or Russia Will

by Lt Col Kurt Helphinstinevia Forbes
Tuesday, November 1, 2016

If the West does not embrace Turkey, Russia will. Turkish-Russian relations entered a deep freeze when the Turks shot down a Russian fighter jet in November 2015. Russia subsequently initiated an embargo on Turkish imports and discouraged travel to Turkey; fast-forward nine months and things have changed.