Colonel Barbara R. Fick, PhD is an International Affairs Specialist focused on the Western Hemisphere, including US policy for Latin America and the Caribbean, Western Hemisphere defense and security affairs, and multinational and transregional cooperation. She also serves as a Research Fellow with the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI). Prior to serving at the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, she was a Professor in the Department of National Security Strategy the U.S. Army War College. She taught Theories of War and Strategy and National Security Policy and Strategy, as well as directing and teaching in the Americas Regional Studies program. Her previous assignments include Political Military Affairs Chief at US Southern Command; Senior Defense Official/Defense Attaché at the US Embassy in Paraguay; Strategic Advisor to the Commander International Security Assistance Forces Afghanistan (ISAF); Special Assistant to NATO Supreme Allied Commander; Security Cooperation Strategy/Plans Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Colombia; and various regional and country advisor positions at US Southern Command.
COL Fick's experiences have highlighted the important role of both the US interagency and multinational approaches to security and stability. At US Southern Command, she served on an OSD-directed interdisciplinary planning group tasked to develop a strategy for success in Colombia. While in Colombia, she was the primary military planner for the Embassy interagency strategy, responsible for the military planning portion of US Embassy support to the Government of Colombia's "Integrated Action" or whole of government approach to defeating the FARC and consolidating democracy in Colombia. COL Fick also established and implemented the first Defense Institution Reform Initiative (DIRI) program in the Western Hemisphere with the Colombian Ministry of Defense. She worked extensively with the Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies and with the Naval Post Graduate School. As Senior Defense Official at the US Embassy in Paraguay, she re-established the bilateral military relationship after a five year pause and stagnation. She emphasized institutional programs, while rebuilding the partnership. This entailed defining "good partnerships" based on what all parties bring to the relationship and shared ownership of programs and partnering activities, where the US is not necessarily the lead actor.
As Special Assistant to the Commander at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and, subsequently Strategic Advisor to the Commander International Security Assistance Forces Afghanistan (ISAF), COL Fick worked closely with Allied and partner nation militaries, international organizations, interagency entities, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from many nations. Her experiences in multiple regions have reinforced the importance of building partnerships, not only across international borders and among military forces, but with multinational interagencies and international communities.
Prior to September 11, 2001, COL Fick was a Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at American University. There she taught Spanish, Translation and Contemporary Latin American Politics (in Spanish). She also directed the Spanish language curriculum and instructional programs.
Her publications include: "Integrating Partner Nations into Coalition Operations." Joint Forces Quarterly No. 41, April 2006; "The Americas in the 21st Century: The Challenges of Governance and Security." Joint Forces Quarterly No. 42, July 2006. (Co-authored with GEN John B. Craddock); "Security Cooperation with a Democratic and Free Cuba: What would it look like?" Cuban Affairs Quarterly Electronic Journal Vol. 1, Issue 4. (Co-authored with GEN John B. Craddock); "Partnership Building in the 21st Century." per Concordiam, Volume 2, Number 3, January 2012.
COL Fick has a Ph.D. in Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, a Master of Arts in Spanish and Latin American Literature from the University of Tennessee, a Master of Education from the University of Oklahoma, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs - Latin American Studies from Lafayette College. She has also studied in Mexico and Brazil. COL Fick is fluent in English and Spanish and can communicate at the basic level in Portuguese and French.
Her military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal (2), Defense Meritorious Service Medal (3), Joint Service Commendation Medal (2), Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Awards (4), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal, and the Non-Article V NATO Medal for service with NATO International Security Assistance Force - Afghanistan.
COL Fick was born and raised in Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, where she still has family.