WASHINGTON – The Heritage Foundation today announced Brent D. Sadler as the Center for National Defense’s new senior fellow for naval warfare and advanced technology.
Sadler joins Heritage following a 26-year career in the U.S. Navy, where he served as a nuclear power-trained submarine officer and foreign area officer, and retiring in 2020 with the rank of captain.
As the fellow for naval affairs, Sadler will be tasked with leading research efforts on the backbone of America’s global power, the U.S. Navy, and producing policy recommendations that will strengthen the service and prepare the Department of Defense for the era of great power competition.
“We are excited to bring Brent aboard. He brings with him outstanding experience from more than two decades in the U.S. Navy, a passion for improving the service in support of America’s interests, and a sense of pride and professionalism that will benefit not only Heritage’s work on naval issues, but the entire Heritage defense team, as well,” said Lt. Gen. Tom Spoehr, director of the Center for National Defense.
After service in the fleet on several nuclear-powered submarines, Sadler’s later assignments included Senior Defense Official, Defense and Naval Attaché Malaysia; Director Maritime Strategy and Policy U.S. Pacific Command; Special Advisor to Commander U.S. Pacific Command in Tokyo and Senior Advisor to Chief of Naval Operations. In the course of these assignments, he developed considerable expertise in the Asia-Pacific region, diplomacy, and maritime strategy.
As a member of Deputy Secretary of Defense’s third offset strategy team on artificial intelligence and man-machine teaming, Sadler helped shape the department’s embrace of autonomous platforms. Prior to this, he shaped department policies, joint planning and budgets realizing over $12 billion in additional resources to execute the 2012 President’s Defense Strategic Guidance (DSG) to rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. During this time, his regional expertise earned him a leading role as author/negotiator in revising the U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines of 2015. He would later be instrumental in establishing the $500-million 2015 Maritime Strategic Initiative. In 2011, he was brought onto the Chief of Naval Operations’ personal staff to stand-up the Navy Asia Pacific Advisory Group, which set the foundations in the Department of Defense for addressing great power competition.
Sadler has written widely on naval power and the Asia-Pacific region for multiple publications. He holds master’s degrees from the National War College, Sophia University, and Jochi University in Tokyo. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering (robotics) from the U.S. Naval Academy.
Sadler is proficient in Japanese, conversational in Russian and Malay, and has limited fluency in Mandarin. Brent and his wife Yulia have two children, Sophia and Vivienne, and live in Virginia.