Thomas Alexander

Pentagon Leader: Faithful Catholic Education Provided ‘Fundamentals to Succeed’

When Catholic education is done well, it benefits not only its graduates, but also society at large.

Thomas Alexander is a top leader in the Pentagon who is the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense on special operations, counterterrorism, and more around the world. He credits his education at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., which is recommended in The Newman Guide, with preparing him with the “fundamentals” he needed to “succeed” in his work.

“You can study all of the things that you want foreign policy-wise to try to prepare for these types of positions,” explains Alexander. “But I don’t think you can do any of those things well if you don’t have the fundamentals.”

“Thomas Aquinas College gives you the ability to quickly analyze, break down a particular issue into its parts, put it all back together in a way that makes sense, reach a conclusion, and then go forward,” he explains.

Students develop this “analytical training” through the College’s great books curriculum. “By putting the original works in front of you, you’ve got sit down with Aristotle, with St. Thomas Aquinas, with other great thinkers, and figure out what they were saying, and then apply it across the board.”

The College also provided Alexander with excellent ethical training. “In policy jobs, we are answering the question, ‘Should we be doing a particular activity?’ What are the ramifications one, two, three steps down the road for doing things?”

“The good teaching at Thomas Aquinas College really prepares you for this so that you do have that good moral sounding board inside of you,” he explains. “It allows you to perform that gut-check. Yes, we can do something, but is it a good thing to do?”

As the senior-most civilian overseeing special operations, Alexander also provides advice on the manning, training and equipping for special operations, and he oversees a budget of $14 billion. Recent high-profile special operations include the Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi operation and the Osama bin Laden operation.

Helping keep our nation safe is no small task, but Alexander is up for the challenge. He has successfully climbed the ladder in his career, thanks to his strong Catholic education, both at Thomas Aquinas College and Ave Maria School of Law, hard work and the relationships he has built.

“There hasn’t been a day that I ever regretted attended Thomas Aquinas College, and receiving the education that I did.”

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