Envisioning History is governed by a Board of Directors that makes policy decisions based on the recommendations of various Committees and Subcommittees.

Role of the Board of Directors

Envisioning History (EH) is independently funded and managed, subject to the guidance of the Board of Directors. 

The Board’s role is to ensure the Project seeks a wide range of opinions and ideas and promotes open discussion about those ideas.  Once ideas are well argued, the Board makes decisions on the role various concepts will play in the Project.  The Board will make extensive use of ad hoc committees and subcommittees to develop competing viewpoints, and will articulate and publish the reasons for decisions made from staff, committee or subcommittee positions.  

Our Directors include:

ChairmanVADM Robert B. Murrett, USN (Ret.)

Robert B. Murrett is a professor on the faculty of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, and serves as the Deputy Director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) at the University.  In addition, he is a staff member at the RAND Corporation, and the Institute for Defense Analyses, for work on Defense Department and National Intelligence issues.  He also serves as a Board Member at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, and in an advisory capacity for Boeing and the Parsons Corporation.

Previously, VADM Murrett was a career intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy, serving in assignments throughout the Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East through his thirty-four years of duty, retiring in the grade of Vice Admiral.   His duty stations included service as Operational Intelligence Officer for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Assistant Naval Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Oslo, Norway. As a Flag officer, he served as Vice Director for Intelligence on the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Director of Naval Intelligence, and Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).

Richard B. Frank

Richard B. Frank is a native of Kansas.  After graduation from the University of Missouri, he served four years in the United States Army.  His assignments included a tour in Vietnam as a rifle platoon leader with the 101th Airborne Division (Airmobile).  Following graduation from Georgetown Law School, he worked for twenty-seven years with the Board of Veterans Appeals.  In 1990, his first book, Guadalcanal, was published.  It won the General Wallace M. Greene Award from the U.S. Marine Corps.  In 1999, his second work was published, Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire.  It won the Harry S. Truman Book Award and has been called one of the six best books in English about World War II.  Both Random House books and were main selections of the History Book Club.  In 2006, his work MacArthur appeared as part of the Palgrave Great Generals series.   He has appeared numerous times on or consulted for programs on television and radio, including ABC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC, NHK, NPR and the History Channel.  He was a consultant for the epic HBO miniseries, “The Pacific.”  In 2011 he was appointed as one of the Presidential Counselors at the National World War II Museum.    He is currently working on a narrative history trilogy about the Asian-Pacific War 1937-1945. 

J. Paul Pope

Paul Pope is a CIA Senior Executive in the National Clandestine Service with extensive experience in integrating intelligence capabilities against priority intelligence objectives.  He serves on the NCS’s senior leadership team as Chief of the Tradecraft and Training Division, responsible for implementing and managing service-wide training, as well as for capturing “lessons learned”, fostering tradecraft innovation and improving operational doctrine. He stood up the office of Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Partner Engagement and served as Acting ADNI for almost a year, as well as serving as Deputy Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Strategic Partnerships.  In these and other positions he served in senior coordinating roles with the National Security Council and other interagency groups, with senior foreign allies and with international organizations.

Prior to his service in an intelligence role, he served three years on the U.S. Army General Staff and is a distinguished graduate of the Command and General Staff College.  He is a 1975 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY.

Richard Russell

Rick Russell is director of the Naval Institute Press, the book publishing arm of the United States Naval Institute. Since 1873, USNI has nurtured creative thinkers who responsibly raise their voices on matters relating to national defense.  Responsible for overseeing all facets of the Institute's book publishing, Rick sets the Press' editorial vision and oversees its annual publication of some 80 titles focused on naval and military affairs, intelligence issues and military history.

Prior to assuming his present post in 2007, Rick served as associate publisher at Potomac Books, formerly Brassey's, Inc. From 1989 to 1999, he worked as a historian in the contemporary history branch of the Naval Historical Center, the U. S. Navy's official history program.  In 1997, he published Project HULA: Secret Soviet-American Cooperation in the War against Japan. The book was a product of several years' liaison with Russian naval officers, historians and archivists. Rick's articles and reviews have appeared in a number of U. S. and Russian publications to include Proceedings, Naval History, and Morskoi Sbornik.

A former veteran’s benefits counselor and assistant department head with the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Rick is himself a veteran, having served in both the U. S. Army and Army National Guard.  A native of Pennsylvania, Rick earned two degrees at Penn State University, one a Master of Arts in History and went on to additional studies at Georgetown University.

Dr. Timothy Francis

Dr. Timothy L. Francis is a native of Nyack, NY. He graduated from Hobart College, Geneva, NY and holds a Masters of Arts in Russian History from the Univ. of Connecticut in 1987 and a Doctorate in Military History from the Univ. of Maryland in 2001. He joined the Navy Reserve via the Non-Prior Service program in 2000 and is currently an active Chief Intelligence Specialist, drilling out of ONI in Suitland, Md.

Dr. Francis began service with the Ships’ Histories Branch of the Naval Historical Center in September 1992.  He became Branch Head of the Ships’ Histories Branch in 2008 and, following a command reorganization, became Branch Head of the Histories Branch of the Naval History & Heritage Command in 2011. TDY assignments include a six-month tour in the Navy Operations center during OIF I in 2003 and multiple trips to Philadelphia, Norfolk and Brownsville to survey decommissioned ships.   After commencing the PhD program at the Univ. of Maryland in 1990, which he attended part-time after 1992, Dr. Francis began teaching university level courses starting in 1998 as adjunct faculty at Georgetown University, George Washington University and the Univ. of Maryland.  He received his Ph.D. in Military History from the University of Maryland in August 2001 with the completion of his dissertation, Poseidon's Tribute: Maritime vulnerability, industrial mobilization and the Allied defeat of the U-boats, 1939-1945. 

After joining the Navy Reserve in 2000, IS1 Francis has drilled in various units out of the National Maritime Intelligence Center in Suitland, Md.  He has twice mobilized for active duty – the first was a 10-month individual augmentee deployment to Iraq (May 06 – Feb 07) where he served as the U.S. Army J2 liaison officer at British HQ MND-SE, Basra airport, Iraq, and the second, a 7-month deployment as N2 for an NSW Group One unit at Ala-Asad, Iraq.

Robert W. Burkhardt

Robert Burkhardt founded the Geospatial Associates Inc., after retiring in January 2011 from government service as the Army Geospatial Information Officer (GIO) and Director of the U.S. Army’s Geospatial Center in Alexandria, Virginia. Geospatial Associates Inc., provides strategic consulting to companies serving Defense and Intelligence agencies.  As the GIO, Robert reported to the Army’s Three Star Geospatial Governance Board and led the HQDA Geospatial Enterprise Office staff. He was responsible to the Army to create the Geospatial Enterprise in conjunction with the USMC, SOCOM, and NGA. The U.S. Army Geospatial Center coordinates, integrates, and synchronizes geospatial information requirements and standards across the Army, develops and fields geospatial enterprise-enabled systems and capabilities to the Army and the Department of Defense, and provides direct geospatial support and products to Warfighters. The Center’s research program conducts research into Geospatial data management, information constructs, data generation, enterprise technology, applications and sensors.

Robert holds the following degrees: BS, Geology, Ohio State University; MS, Geodetic Science, Ohio State University; Master of Military Arts and Science, Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS and the Army War College.

Dr. Nicholas Reynolds

Dr. Reynolds is a former Senior Executive Service officer with extensive cross-disciplinary experience, including 30 years of active and reserve USMC duty and strong academic qualifications.   He received a B.A. (High Honors) from Swarthmore College and D. Phil. (History), University of Oxford, Oxford, U.K.

Dr. Reynolds is currently contract Museum Historian for the Central Intelligence Agency, responsible for historical content and strategic planning of the museum with emphasis on prepared treatments for major exhibits on World War II and spy science.  Prior to that he served as the Chair of National Intelligence at the Naval War College in Newport, RI, where he designed and taught innovative graduate-level courses on intelligence and national security.  He also served as Chief of the USMC Field History while on active and reserve duty, directing training, mobilization, and deployment of field historians to war zones overseas for the Marine Corps.  In that capacity he directed post-deployment programs to capture and retain information.

Dr. Reynolds has numerous publications, including Treason Was No Crime (London: William Kimber, 1976 and Munich: Limes Verlag, 1977), a biography of General Ludwig Beck, Chief of the German General Staff from 1933 to 1938 and titular head of the German Resistance to Hitler; and, “Turn On Your Lights!” Naval Institute Proceedings, November, 1991, an article about decision-making that won the annual Marine Corps Essay Contest.

Dr. Reynolds has also served as Editor of the, Journal of America’s Military Past, a scholarly journal published by the Council on America’s Military Past, a non-profit association for military history and historic preservation.

Dr. Greg Wilsbacher

Greg Wilsbacher curates the Fox Movietone News Collection at the University of South Carolina.  He holds a PhD in British Literature from Indiana University and has published on a broad range of topics. His research focuses on newsreel history and the location of cameramen within historical events. He has published on the newsreel coverage of Pearl Harbor and lectures on the movements of signal corps and news photographers in the European Theater of Operations.  He is also a recognized specialist in film digitization who advocates for the use of film as primary historical document.

Richard H. Ector

Richard H. Ector is the founder of Envisioning History and its Executive Director.  He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion training program, served as Chief Engineer on the USS Shark (SSN-591). He worked for ten years in the civilian nuclear power industry with the Tennessee Valley Authority, where he rose to the position of Assistant Manager of a large nuclear power plant.

In 1986 he returned to the national security area, serving for years as a clandestine operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency with postings in Germany, Austria and Australia.  After retiring from government service in 1998, he founded Tennessee Valley Infrastructure Group, which he built into one of the top ten constructors of wind energy farms in the United States.  He lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he retains an interest in the wind energy business, coaches lacrosse and manages Envisioning History.  

Role of Ad Hoc Committees and Subcommittees

Ad Hoc committees and subcommittees will be formed by the staff or the Board as necessary to address issues where multiple competing viewpoints are possible or likely.  A committee’s role is to seek out competing viewpoints, have them articulated, review the concepts and make recommendations to the staff or Board, as appropriate.  Many decisions will need to be made in the course of the project.  Some are conventions and standards, while others are policy issues.  The project staff will direct the work of the committees to the appropriate decision making body.