Kurt Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations from the University of Wisconsin, a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from the University of Wisconsin, and a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in international law from the University of Virginia. He retired from the U.S. Navy in late 2008 with the rank of Captain (O-6). During his twenty-three year career, he served worldwide primarily as an advisor to U.S. military commanders. His final assignment was as the senior legal advisor to the Commander of NORAD and USNORTHCOM from 2005 to 2008, where he grappled with some of the most challenging legal and policy issues in the Department of Defense, particularly in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
From 2001 to 2003, he served as the senior U.S. Navy/U.S. Marine Corps Legal Advisor to the top naval commander in the Middle East during Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. Other assignments included two command tours and Deputy Staff Judge Advocate for U.S. Pacific Command. Following retirement, Kurt was employed as an independent consultant to the Center for Homeland Security.
His projects included work as: facilitator and lecturer in the Seminar on Transatlantic Civil Security (STACS), College of International and Security Studies, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, Germany; program evaluator and developer for future STACS; researcher and writer for the State of Colorado Governor’s Office of Homeland Security; and program developer of a partnership between UCCS and the University of Zagreb, Croatia through which the Center for Homeland Security will develop and deliver several courses in homeland security and assist the University of Zagreb in establishing a regional (Eastern Europe) Center of Excellence in Homeland Security. UCCS selected Kurt as the Director in July 2009 to spearhead the Center for Homeland Security’s growing domestic and international homeland defense and homeland security programs at all levels of government and in the private sector.