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CCU faculty member Mark Chandler shares expert commentary on Chinese spy balloon with media outlets

March 1, 2023
Mark Chandler, faculty member in CCU’s Department of Intelligence and Security Studies

Mark Chandler, a faculty member in CCU’s Department of Intelligence and Security Studies and director of government relations, is sharing his expertise regarding the recent Chinese balloons identified floating in American airspace. He has recently been featured on various news outlets including locally on WBTW, WMBF, and WPDE, as well as on LiveNOW from Fox News, Sinclair Broadcasting national desk, and BBC News.

Chandler served more than two decades as an intelligence officer in the Marine Corps and, after retirement, began a second career in the civilian sector. That progressive series of positions included Deputy J2 (senior executive intelligence officer) with the Joint Chiefs of Staff; director of Middle East and African Center for the Defense Intelligence Agency; and director of intelligence, partnerships, and engagements for the U.S. Air Force.

Chandler, who will become a lecturer and director of government relations in the department in August 2023, has been judicious in his acceptance of media requests.

“I treat these interviews like I used to do in my job in intelligence,” said Chandler. “I do the research when I get the request, try to understand the general ideas they may want to talk about, and prepare myself for what they might ask.”

Joseph Fitsanakis, professor in the Department of Intelligence and Security Studies and director of CCU’s Intelligence Operations Command Center, said having a credible voice to make sense of events is essential to both the media and the public.

“When things like this balloon story appear in the news, everybody wants to comment on it,” said Fitsanakis, “but it takes a person who actually understands the complexities of intelligence to provide expert commentary. Because of the age in which we live, it’s very easy to fall victim to misinformation. This is an actual expert talking about a topic he actually has expertise in, which happens to be in the news. That’s why we’re so lucky have him.”

Chandler said the impact of his media presence extends to the classroom: “I’m trying to make this a learning point for the students, to talk about how real-time events and the media operate. I love teaching and paying it forward for our students who want to go into this career or just take the experiences and knowledge with them into life. We teach a lot of textbook material, but there’s a practical application having lived it that I want to try to blend in with the course material.”

Fitsanakis believes the Chinese balloon issue will remain in the news for a while, and said that CCU, as well as the public, can continue to rely on Chandler’s expertise. “We’re hoping that he’s going to get a lot more coverage, not only because it’s good for Coastal, but because it’s good for information.”

See video below for more on Chandler.