A long-serving intelligence and national security professional now researching and teaching at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies.


John D. Woodward, Jr. is a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer. During his twenty-one-year CIA career, John served as an operations officer in the Clandestine Service and as a technical intelligence officer in the Directorate of Science and Technology, with his assignments including operational and leadership roles in Washington D.C., East Asia, Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East.

Shortly after retiring from the CIA in 2015, John came to Boston University to begin his work as a Professor of the Practice of International Relations at the Pardee School of Global Studies.  John teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in intelligence and security studies.  In 2019, John was made a Faculty-in-Residence at BU’s Kilachand Honors College, where he mentors undergraduate students. In November 2023, Dean Scott Taylor of the Pardee School appointed John to be the Director of BU’s International History Institute.

In January 2024, the Provost named John, a former U.S. Army officer, to become the Director of BU’s Division of Military Education.  In this position, John oversees BU’s Air Force, Army, and Navy/Marine Corps ROTC activities. Throughout his U.S. Government career, John worked closely with U.S. military colleagues.

From 2000 to 2006, John worked at the RAND Corporation, a federally funded research and development center, as a senior policy analyst (2000-2003) and the Associate Director of RAND’s Intelligence Policy Center (2005-2006), where he helped oversee, manage, and develop RAND’s work for the national security community.

From 2003 to 2005, John served as the Director of the U.S. Department of Defense Biometrics Management Office, where he received the Army’s third-highest civilian award for his work using biometric technologies to identify national security threats. Prior to that, he practiced law, worked as a law clerk for a federal district court judge, and served as a U.S. Army officer commissioned in the Corps of Engineers.

From 2006 to 2015, John taught graduate courses on national security issues as an adjunct professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. Through his years of government service, public policy work, and university teaching, John has gained extensive experience related to intelligence, counterterrorism, and technology policy issues. He has testified before Congress on four occasions, the Commission on Online Child Protection, and the Virginia State Crime Commission.

His most recent publication is Spying:  From the Fall of Jericho to the Fall of the Wall (Waynesburg Univ. Press, 2023).  His other work includes Biometrics: Identity Assurance in the Information Age, (McGraw-Hill, 2003), Army Biometric Applications: Identifying and Addressing Sociocultural Concerns (RAND, 2001) and his many articles have appeared in various journals and newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Proceedings of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Legal Times, Studies in Intelligence, The Intelligencer, and the University of Pittsburgh Law Review.

Woodward is an active member of the Virginia State Bar and serves as an instructor for the Virginia Mountain Valley Lawyers’ Alliance, which provides free and low-cost legal education. He is a licensed emergency medical technician (EMT).

Professor Woodward‘s primary areas of expertise include intelligence, counterterrorism, national security, homeland security, East Asia, and biometrics.  Appointed by the Massachusetts Speaker of the House, he served as a voting member of the Special Commission on Facial Recognition from 2021 to 2022.