Colonel Butler is a career military officer who hails from Rush, New York. Following his commissioning as a Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy in 1995, he held Division Officer and Department Head assignments on USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), USS Nicholson (DD 982), and USS Hopper (DDG 70). During this time, he took part in combat operations in Iraq and Kosovo. He selected early for command and served twice as the Commanding Officer of USS Firebolt (PC 10) during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also commanded USS Shamal (PC 13) and USS Thunderbolt (PC 11).
During a joint assignment with III Corps, U.S. Army, he deployed two more times to Iraq as Lead Planner and Deputy Chief of Plans. During these deployments he developed the planning for the surge and wrote the final drawdown plan for the campaign. In 2010, he received permission to change his commission from the United States Navy to the United States Army, where he performs duties as a Strategist.
As an Army Strategist, Colonel Butler served at U.S. Army, Pacific, performing duties as both the Southeast and Northeast Asia Plans Division Chief. He also deployed to Jerusalem, where he was the Lead Planner at the United States Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority. After attending the Army War College, he returned to U.S. Army, Pacific and assumed duties as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G5 responsible for strategy, campaigns, and operational plans. He then served as the Director of the Commanders Action Group and the Strategy and Policy Chief at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command before moving to South Korea to assume duties as the Alliance Plans Chief.
In his current capacity, he leads the China Landpower Studies Center, responsible for understanding PLA strategies, capabilities, and development to inform Army, joint, and combined strategies and campaigns.
Colonel Butler holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester in history, and master’s degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School in National Security Affairs, and the U.S. Army War College in Strategic Studies. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Naval War College. He is married to the former Jennifer Gould of Savannah, GA. They are the proud parents of a daughter, Bridget.
Colonel Butler’s personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medial (two awards), Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), and Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Joint Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (two awards), Army Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal (two awards), Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal and various campaign, service, and unit awards.