Lieutenant Colonel Michael E. Skarda

Lt Col Skarda

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Skarda is the commander of Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC), Detachment 535 and Professor of Aerospace Studies at Syracuse University, New York. He is responsible for recruiting, educating, and overseeing the preparation of officer candidates through a comprehensive commissioning program.

Lieutenant Colonel Skarda entered the Air Force in 2006 through the AFROTC program at the University of Maryland. Following intelligence officer training, he served as intelligence adviser to the 52d Fighter Wing’s Force Protection office, and as Chief of Intelligence in the 81st Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. In 2011, Lieutenant Colonel Skarda was assigned as an instructor at the Air Force’s Squadron Officer School in Maxwell Air Force Base, AL where he earned distinction as Instructor of the Year. Following instructor duty, Lieutenant Colonel Skarda garnered 339 combat hours aboard the RC-135 V/W as an Information Integration Officer at Offutt AFB, NE where he also functioned as an Assistant Director of Operations for over 500 Airmen within the 97thIntelligence Squadron. Most recently, he served at headquarters U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany as Branch Chief within the J53 Sahel Regional Engagements Division. Lieutenant Colonel Skarda is proficient in French and holds a MA in Intelligence Studies from the American Military University and an MA in African Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School. He has extensive overseas experience, to include combat deployments in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and FREEDOM’S SENTINEL and multiple temporary duty assignments in Africa to include Rwanda, Botswana, Senegal, and Cameroon.


  • 2006 Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, cum laude, Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, WV
  • 2006 Language and Studies Immersion (LASI), Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 2006 Air and Space Basic Course, Maxwell AFB, AL
  • 2011 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, AL
  • 2013 Master of Arts in Intelligence Studies, American Military University, Charles Town, WV
  • 2018 Defense Language Institute, French Basic course, Monterey, CA
  • 2018 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
  • 2019 IDE FAO Fellowship, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA (Distinguished Graduate)


  1. July 2006 – July 2007, Student, 315th Training Squadron, Goodfellow AFB, TX
  2. July 2007- June 2009, OIC, Intelligence Anti-Terrorism/Force-Protection, 52d OSS, Spangdahlem AB, GE
  3. June 2009 – October 2010, Chief of Intelligence, 81st Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem AB, GE, (May 2010 – Oct 2010, Chief of Intelligence, 81st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Kandahar AB, Afghanistan)
  4. October 2010 – Jan 2011, Executive Officer, 52d Operations Group, Spangdahlem AB, GE
  5. Jan 2011 – Jan 2014, Flight Commander, 29th Student Squadron, Maxwell AFB, AL
  6. Jan 2014 – July 2017, Assistant Director of Operations, 97th Intelligence Squadron, Offutt AFB, NE
  7. July 2017 – December 2018, French Language Student, 311th Training Squadron, Presidio of Monterey, CA, (June 2018 – December 2018, FAO In-region Trainee, Rwanda, Botswana, Senegal)
  8. December 2018 – July 2020, Student, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA
  9. July 2020 – July 2023, Branch Chief, Sahel Regional Engagement Division, HQ AFRICOM, Stuttgart, GE
  10. July 2023 – Present, Commander, AFROTC Detachment 535, Syracuse University, NY


Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Air Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters


USAF Distinguished Graduate, Naval Postgraduate School, 2019
55th Operations Group Flight Commander of the Year, 2014
USAF Squadron Officer School Instructor of the Year, 2012
52d Fighter Wing Intelligence Company Grade Officer of the Year, 2010
52d Fighter Wing Force Protection Office “Best in DoD”, 2009

Rating: Non-rated
Flight hours: 503
Aircraft flown: RC-135 V/W


Second Lieutenant, May 31, 2006
First Lieutenant, May 31, 2008
Captain, May 31, 2010
Major, July 31, 2016
Lieutenant Colonel, March 31, 2021

(Current as of June 2023)